By Lynn R. Mitchell
Sandra L. Martin, 44, and her 12-year-old daughter Haylee, of Waynesboro, were killed Monday evening in Augusta County when their car was smashed into by an SUV driven by a drunk driver. The horrendous wreck took place at 6:30 p.m. on Rt. 250 (Richmond Road) at the intersection in front of Rowe’s Restaurant.
The Martin vehicle, headed west on Rt. 250, was turning left onto Brand Station Road that connects to Rowe Road when the SUV, driven by Kenneth L. Barber, 60, of Crozet, reportedly ran a red light and slammed into the Martin vehicle. Barber, who received only minor injuries, has been charged with two counts of driving under the influence manslaughter.
Haylee was a sixth grade honor roll student at Kate Collins Middle School.
How long will we continue to lose family members because of those who drink and drive? A comment at the News Leader’s article about the wreck implored, “This is so sad and another reason NOT to drink and drive! My heart hurts for this family and their friends.” Another commenter said, “Another death that could have been avoided.”
This one noted, “Score another one for excessive drinking; and as is usually the case the perpetrator survives (possibly to drive drunk another day), and the innocents die. Doesn’t seem right does it?”
And, yet, there are those who continue — even protected by those in power — playing a kind of Russian Roulette with the lives of every driver on the roads of Augusta County.
It happens everywhere. In January I wrote, “I lost my friend to a drunk driver:”
Her name was Kim and she was a pretty blond-haired girl with a bubbly smile and a warm personality. She was my friend. We were so young back in the 1970s, and I have fond memories of hanging out with our other girlfriends as we camped in Shenandoah National Park, pitching our tent, laughing as we sat around a bonfire roasting marshmallows, talking about life, and hiking the Blue Ridge.
Kim was hit head-on by a drunk driver and killed. She was 19 years old.
We attended her funeral, young people who were not familiar with death and struggled to understand how someone so full of life could have it snuffed out by a stranger. Driving drunk. In Chesterfield County, Virginia.
Pray that your family and friends don’t become innocent victims right here in Augusta County.
How do we remove drunk drivers from the roads?