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A Look at a Family Coping with the Devastation of an OWI Death

There is perhaps no greater heartbreak in this world than that of parents who lose a child. That's the burden a Walworth County family -- parents and siblings of the child killed by an alleged OWI driver -- has been grappling with since September of last year.

The parents had their six-year-old son taken from them in a horrific crash caused, according to police, by a drunk driver.

There is no way to right a wrongful death case of this sort. No matter how long the prison sentence for the man accused of drinking and driving might be, it won't bring back that little boy. No matter how large the award might be in a civil suit against the man, it won't restore that family.

Yet the family must take the steps it deems necessary to do all it can to heal as much as it can. The parents attended a recent court hearing for the accused OWI driver and cried at the mere sight of him. Though it's painful, they feel they must be a witness to the man's punishment.

The newspaper article didn't note whether or not they have decided to file a lawsuit to exact another measure of justice.

Part of the family's healing process involves working hard to create a baseball field in their community that will bear their son's name. The little boy had a boundless love for the sport; a love his family intends to remember and help to instill in other kids.

They're also intent on helping people understand that their loved one's death wasn't an "accident." It was caused by a decision to drink and a decision to drive. They hope to help others make better decisions in the future.

The family has its work cut out for it: Wisconsin's drunk-driving rate is the worst in the nation per resident, with more than 6,400 alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2009. More than half of those "accidents" caused injuries.

Those are numbers everyone in Wisconsin should be working hard to reduce.

Resource: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Walworth County crash takes a son, gives family a cause": December 31, 2010

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