Dylan's Drivers putting a stop to drunk driving

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- A Lamar County family has created a non profit aimed at putting a stop to drunk driving.

Morgan Downing spoke with the mothers of two young men who died in an alcohol related accident. They hope Dylan's Drivers prevents others from having to go through what they did.

20-year-old Dylan Ballard and 20-year-old Wade Witmer were passengers in a car with a drunk driver. The driver lost control of the vehicle and both boys were killed.

"No one wants to be where we are. No, you don't want to have to bury your child. That's not the natural order of things. My child is supposed to be in college right now. My child is not supposed to be gone," Vicki Ballard said.

Dylan's mother, Vicki Ballard set out to turn tragedy into prevention.

"We knew we had to do something," Ballard said.

That's why Dylan's Drivers was born. It's a non profit organization that gives safe rides to Lamar County residents Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"We don't say you have to be a certain age. You don't have to tell us your last name. You just have to tell us where we're picking you up from, where we're taking you to and that's it. It's a safe ride home," Ballard said.

"You don't think your children will drink, but they do. So, this is something that provides them that opportunity to get home safe. And that's all I would want for any child because no parent should have to deal with this," Wade's mother, Chrissy Witmer said.

Saturday, the first Dylan's Drivers' Rides for a Reason fundraiser was held. Hundreds turned out for a 5K, memorial motorcycle ride and kids took a golf cart through an obstacle course while wearing beer goggles.

Dylan's Drivers is an expensive program to run. So, all money raised goes directly to help keep the rides coming. Lamar County residents are taking full advantage of the program.

"I knew it'd be better to call and get a free ride and be safe than drive and possibly have an accident and harm myself or somebody else," rider Andy Trapp

Since January 2012, more than 800 rides have been given.

"We feel very strongly that we are making a difference and keeping our streets and roads safe," Ballard said.

And they are. According to Ballard, the number of DUI cases has gone down in Lamar County since Dylan's Drivers began. She plans to make the Rides for a Reason an annual event and she encourages anyone who has been drinking, to call Dylan's Drivers before getting behind the wheel.


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