With New Year’s celebrations just days away, one El Paso family wants to remind everyone how a night filled with too many drinks can change lives if you get behind the wheel.
Wednesday, a vigil was held for Valerie Talamantes, the 19-year-old Burges High School graduate killed by a drunk driver on December 29, 2007.
Friends and loved ones gathered with candles at Hawkins and Montana, the scene of the crash.
The Talamantes family and Mothers Against Drunk Driving – or M.A.D.D. – organized the vigil to remind everyone to think twice before picking up those keys after a few too many.
Robert Talamantes, Valerie’s father, told ABC-7 someone’s mistake ruined his family.
“Christmas, holidays…there’s nothing left in them,” he said. “It’s just destroyed everything.”
The driver who slammed into the back of Valerie Talamantes’s car, Edison Bayas, 36, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The former Fort Bliss soldier’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit the night of the crash.