The mother of a twice-convicted drunk driver made an emotional pitch at a meeting in Labrador City Thursday night, asking people to help prevent others from driving drunk.
"My 25 year old son William has been convicted of impaired driving not once, but twice. The most recent time being this past July," said Debbie Samson.
"I'll never forget the shock that I was in the first time he was charged with impaired driving. I think this was the beginning of my realization that our son had a problem with alcohol, and he was just 17 years old," Samson said. "I lived in constant fear that he would drink and drive again because, you see, even though William would say that he would never drink and drive.... when William drinks, he crosses a line where he is unable to think rationally and he is no longer in control. The alcohol controls him."
In the last three months more than a dozen people have been charged with drunk driving in Labrador West, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
That's why MADD organized the meeting so people like Samson could tell their stories.
Son gave permission to share the story
Samson said she has her son's permission to share the story, and that she hopes their story will help keep other people from suffering the way they have.
Samson stressed that at no time did she give up on her son, even at one point going to get beer for him, just to prevent him from driving. "Each of us has to take responsibility for the person who is unable to take responsibility for themselves."
Samson said that doesn't excuse drunk drivers, but others can act. "If it means that we call 911, if it means taking keys, or if it means supplying beer as I did — going against everything that I've learned and teach — then we must do it. We must do everything in our power to stop impaired driving," Samson said.
Man whose sister was killed also spoke
A man whose sister was run down and killed by a drunk driver also spoke at the meeting, as did a young woman whose sister was killed while riding on the back of snowmobile driven by her impaired boyfriend.
Thursday night's event was organized by Josephine Gaulton-Rowe, the local president of Mother's Against Drunk Drivers.
"It's very important because it seems that impaired driving is on the increase here," she said. The people at the meeting had a simple message — they want anyone who witnesses impaired driving to report it to the police.