Navajo man speaks out about the dangers of drunk driving

Created: 03/13/2014 6:34 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Drunk driving deaths in New Mexico have dropped by almost 40 percent the past decade. That’s according to numbers from the New Mexico Department of Transportation and announced by Governor Susana Martinez.

But the numbers aren’t good enough for one man.

“He was struck by a drunk driver and killed on the Navajo Reservation on December 30, 2011,” said Franklin Morris.

Since that day, Morris said, his life has never been the same. It was the day he lost his brother, Deacon Marcellino Morris, Jr. “The pain, the pain is still, is still pretty much a part of our lives,” said Morris.

Drunk driving, Morris said, took more than just his brother. In 2010, 35-year-old James Ruiz plowed into a car in Santa Fe, killing Deshauna and Del Lynn Peshlakai. “We were still recovering from those losses, the loss of my clan mothers when my brother’s life was taken,” said Morris.

That’s why he’s active in getting the word out about the dangers of drinking and driving. A problem that, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation and Governor Susana Martinez, is seeing a drop – a 38 percent drop over the past 10 years.

An improvement? Yes. “That’s a good sign, and it may be related to the type of education that is, is out there,” added Morris.

But Morris said it’s still not good enough. “It leaves us with this gaping hole that still, there is, there is still that void that hasn’t been filed yet,” said Morris.

Morris isn’t sure what, if there’s anything, that will stop people from drinking and driving.

Harsher punishments?

More police?

But he’s hoping people will this, see his pain and remember. “We always think to ourselves that nothing like this will ever happen to me until it does happen to you,” said Morris. 

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