RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The mother of Melissa Haislip, a 23-year-old Henrico woman killed in 2014 after a drunk driver slammed into her car in Rocketts Landing, spoke with 8News on Wednesday about how her loss has sparked her push to stop people from drinking and driving.
“When someone is killed by a drunk driver or an impaired driver, it affects hundreds,” Melissa’s mother, Vanessa Haislip, said Wednesday.
The driver who crashed into M. Haislip’s car was traveling 85 mph in a 35 mph speed zone and his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Authorities said there were also drugs in his system.
“Losing a child, it leaves this void, this ache, this feeling that you cannot explain,” V. Haislip explained. “There’s like a chill that’s in your soul every day.”
The holidays can be tough for some people missing their loved ones. After her daughter’s sudden death, V. Haislip said she can’t wait for them to be over.
“I wish for the holidays to be gone,” she told 8News.
With many people expected out on the roads this holiday season, Haislip shared a message to those who are thinking about driving after drinking.
“I tell people, go out, have a good time. But don’t get behind that wheel because you could affect your life, someone else’s life,” V. Haislip said. “We don’t ask people not to drink, we just ask them to make better choices, call for help. Stay where they’re at.”
Haislip and other members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known as MADD, are begging drivers to just be smart. Haislip even suggested calling her for a ride if you need a safe ride home.
“Call a Uber, call a friend, call me if you need a ride! I’ll be glad to come get ya,” she said. “I’ll throw my sweats on top of my pajamas.”
According to Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles, nearly 20,000 people were caught and convicted after driving over the limit in Virginia last year. They say there’s a one in six chance you will be in an alcohol-related crash at some point in your life.
Haislip and other advocates are urging people to order a Lyft, an Uber, anything to not get behind the wheel after drinking.