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100% preventable: Thanksgiving eve (aka ‘Blackout Wednesday’) notorious for DWI crashes

HOUSTON – Advocates against drunk driving urge people to plan a safe ride home for Thanksgiving Eve, or what some call “Blackout Wednesday.”

Todd Levin and his fiance were killed in September 2006 when a drunk driver ran a red light and drove through the couple’s vehicle, according to Carol Levin, Todd Levin’s mother

“I couldn’t protect Todd, there’s nothing I can do. I wish it could’ve been me, rather than Todd,” said mother Carol Levin. “The speed limit was 35 and Todd was going 33 and the person who killed him was going 85 miles an hour. He drove through the car. They had no chance.”

Since the crash, Carol Levin has been on a mission. She quickly became a leader with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“We have to save lives," Carol Levin said. “We have to get the drunk drivers off the road.”

Kendall Collette with MADD said that a DWI crash is “when somebody knows that they’re impaired, knows that they’re been drinking and still makes the decision to get behind the wheel.”

Nationally, from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve to 6 a.m. Thanksgiving day, 41 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2018, which was almost one victim every 15 minutes, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“We’re not telling people not to drink if they’re 21 and older, we just want people to drink responsibly and make sure they can get home safely,” said Collette.

It is something Carol Levin hopes for every day.

“I didn’t want other families to have to suffer and go through what we have to go through," Carol Levin said. “It’s 100% preventative.”

The driver who killed Todd Levin was convicted, sentenced to ten years in prison and walked free two years ago.

For people hosting Thanksgiving or holiday parties, MADD encourages them to offer their guests plenty of food, so they aren’t drinking on empty stomachs, serve mocktails or non-alcoholic beverages, don’t give alcohol to minors, confirm a safe ride when guests leave and avoid over-serving.

To donate or volunteer with MADD, visit Madd.org.