Victims’ mother gets ready to walk like MADD
It’s time once again for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving walk to make money for their numerous programs, but for the mother of two girls who were killed by a driver under the influence, this is an effort to raise awareness while helping a cause close to her heart.
Cristin, 12, and 11-year-old Katie Grubbs were killed in November 2010 by a driver influenced by drugs in a head on collision. They were heading back to their Dad’s house after Katie cheered at a little league football game when they were in a wreck on Highway 105 in Vidor. Cristin and Katie were killed instantly in the crash. The girls attended the same school at the time of their deaths. Their classmates have moved forward since then with their lives. Cristen’s class is now sophomores in high school while Katie’s friends are in the eighth grade.
Cristin was involved in athletics, such as softball, was also NYFA cheerleader and took tumbling classes. She had plans in her future of trying out to be an eighth grade cheerleader. Katie was busy as well and she was very involved in student council and was vice president. She was also a 2nd year NYFA cheerleader and took tumbling classes in hopes of trying out for cheerleader at school one day. Like most young girls, Cristin and Katie loved spending time with their family and friends too.
Sandy Grubbs’ life is not the same and will never be again because of the things she will never get to share with her growing daughters, such as proms, homecoming dances or birthdays.
“So many lives have been affected because of this one person’s choice to drive intoxicated,” said Sandy Grubbs, Cristen and Katie’s mother. “ I am learning to live my life without my only daughters.”
Sandy Grubbs has created Team Cristen and Katie and encourages others to support them as they walk for MADD and in raising awareness.
MADD will host the annual Walk Like MADD 5K, a non-competitive fundraising walk in Beaumont on Sept. 7. The Walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Beaumont Public Library located at 801 Main St. in Beaumont. This event is the third Walk Like MADD held in Southeast Texas. Last year’s event attracted almost 500 registrants and raised $47,000 to support MADD’s mission to stop drunk driving, support victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.
“Unlike most others fundraisers, our cause does not need a cure, it already exists,” Sandy Grubbs said. “It’s you, me, our friends, our family, our neighbors making the simple choice of driving sober or designating a driver. It’s a simple choice and 100 percent preventable.”
Trooper Bryan Cooper, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was at the scene of the wreck involving the Grubbs sisters. It has forever affected his life and what inspired him to make the decision to become a part of the MADD walk.
Cooper has been a trooper for eight years and has seen his share of people driving while intoxicated.
“The worst part is it affects such as wide range of people,” Cooper said of how drunk driving affects lives. “It takes years for people to cope with such a preventable thing.”
Last year, 10,839 people died in drunk-driving crashes which is one every 50 minutes. One in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. MADD serves a victim or survivor of drunk driving every 9 minutes.
Unfortunately, teen alcohol use kills about 6,000 people each year which is more than all illegal drugs combined. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol related.
MADD does so much for the community. They work with the victims and their families of drunk drivers with support programs to help victims cope with their tragedy and loss of a loved one at no charge. MADD also provides legal support to victims as they go through the judicial process.
Prevention is very important. MADD provides equipment to local police to better detect and arrest drunk drivers by helping to acquire preliminary breath testers, passive alcohol sensors, in-vehicle video cameras, signs, lights and cones for setting up sobriety checkpoints.
MADD actively works with state and local legislators to adopt tougher laws against drunk driving and closing the loopholes in many existing laws such as mandatory interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders, .08 BAC limits, administrative license revocation, vehicle immobilization for repeat offenders and graduated driver licensing for youth.
In addition, they work through education of preventing drunk driving in local schools. Plus, those who have actually been charged with intoxicated driving, take classes to learn more and hopefully not get into a vehicle intoxicated again.
MADD works in more than 600 communities across the country, and has more than 1,400 trained victim advocates on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support victims with comfort or reliable legal assistance.
One in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. Our children share the road with an estimated 2 million drivers who have had three or more prior drunk driving offenses.
Anyone who can’t attend the walk can join a team as a virtual walker or make a donation to an existing team.
“We aim to eliminate drunk driving and we need support from the community on walk day,” said Leslie Watson, MADD East Texas’ Executive Director. “Drunk driving impacts every community and, unfortunately, it can touch our lives without any warning.”
Anyone wanting to walk like MADD or create a team can go to www.walklikemadd.org and select Beaumont, Texas as the location.
“Join our team as we walk to support MADD in helping to prevent this from happening to other families. Please support MADD by making a donation in memory of my daughters, Cristin and Katie Grubbs, “ said Sandy Grubbs.
Sandy Grubbs is pictured with her daughters, Cristin, 12, and 11-year-old Katie who were killed November 2010 in Vidor by a driver influenced by drugs in a head on collision. Sandy has organized a team for the Walk Like MADD fundraiser.