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A mom and organization's mission to help stop drunk driving in Olmsted County

A mother whose son died due to an impaired driver speaks out: "And this is all I can do for him, and this is what I have to do for him.”

Posted: Apr 30, 2019 8:50 PM
Updated: May 1, 2019 8:20 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Every day in the United States, nearly 30 people die in drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.

Olmsted County ranks in the top 13 most dangerous drunk driving counties in Minnesota.

In 2010, Austin Melville was killed by an impaired driver in downtown Rochester.

He was 23 years old, a recent college graduate, and engaged.

“Austin had his whole life and his whole future ahead of him,” Sandy Melville, Austin’s mom, said. “He was engaged. He graduated with dual honors. He had a promising life and a promising career and it was all taken away from him in an instant by someone's choice to drive impaired. And this is all I can do for him, and this is what I have to do for him.”

Sandy is using his death to caution others about drinking and driving because she says it’s a deadly choice.

“Plan ahead before they go out, before they're incapable of thinking straight, and before they're impaired,” Melville said. “Plan ahead for that sober ride home ahead of time and plan ahead like you do before everything else in your life.”

Melville uses her voice to speak at victim impact panels, driver’s education classes, and even at the state legislature.

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge is an organization that hope they can play a part in helping decrease drunk driving in Olmsted County.

Director Tom Truszinski wants people who are struggling with alcoholism to know there’s help available.

“It starts with one person at a time,” Truszinski said. “Each person stepping up and saying 'what can I do to act more responsibly, to act in all that I can be for my fellow citizens?' But also to be that one person that's gonna stand up and say 'I'm gonna take control of my life and live better.’”

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, click here.

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