Victim's Dad Advocates Against Drunk Driving

POSTED: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 6:11pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:25pm

After losing his teenage daughter two years ago, El Pasoan Robert Talamantes is advocating against drunk driving.

"It's two years and I still can't believe it. It seems like yesterday," said grieving father Robert Talamantes. He carries the memory of his daughter with him every where he goes. 19 year old Valerie had just began her first year of community college. Two years ago it all ended as she was sitting at a stop light. "And Sergeant Bayas came and hit her from behind going, they said, at least about 60," remembers Talamantes. "Never applied his brakes."

The dramatic crash was caught on camera and used as evidence in the trial of Sergeant Bayas. Prosecutors said he was legally drunk. He had been repremanded before and even had a previous DUI.

Aside from telling Valerie's story, Talamantes wants tougher laws for people convicted of driving drunk. He says there's something you can can do to help him out.

You might of heard about ignition interlock systems. It requires you to blow into it before starting your car. If you're drunk the car won't start. They added a camera to make sure a driver who is required to use it is actually the one who blows in to it. Judges sometimes order people to use them but they can use discretion on a case by case basis. Talamantes is working with MADD to try and change the law so that anyone who gets a DUI, even if it's the first one, will be required to have an ignition interlock system installed in their car. He wants you to write to lawmakers, and encourage them to change this law. He doesn't want anyone else to suffer like he and his family have.

Although Talamantes will continue to carry this pain with him, his message to others is clear: "Be careful, be responsible. Don't put another family through this." Talamantes advised.

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