The mother of a 15-year-old girl who died while driving under the influence of alcohol tells of the devastation it caused to her family.
Karen Merchant said the loss of her daughter Rebecca to a DUI in February 2016 left her family “scarred for life.”
Now the mother is supporting police campaigns to stop people under the influence from getting behind the wheel.
Karen told the Daily Echo:
“If people stop and listen, I think we can stop the same situation from happening to another family.”
Rebecca crashed into a tree along Lymington’s Hodle Lane while riding in the passenger seat of a Mercedes E350.
The driver fled the scene, but was found to have doubled the drunk driving limit at the time of his arrest, and had traces of cannabis in his body.
In March 2016, 34-year-old Alex McBride was sentenced by the Bournemouth Criminal Court to four years and four months in prison and five years and two months from driving.
Karen describes her daughter as “a typical 15-year-old girl” who loves dancing and makeup, has lots of friends and dreams of the future.
she said: She used to talk a lot about what she wanted to do, but apparently it didn’t happen and everything was taken from her.
“She had two older brothers who were 21 and nearly 18 at the time. They were completely devastated by the loss of their baby sister. It affected them.
“No one in my family ever got over it. No one expects to outlive their child.
“It scarred us for life.”
Karen supports the Op Holly campaign for Hampshire and Isle of Wight police departments. In this campaign, police officers step up enforcement of drink and drug driving every December.
She hopes her experience, along with the campaign, will make people reconsider driving under the influence.
she said: Yes, it’ll probably work a few times, but there’s always a chance it won’t work and the consequences will be devastating.
“If you know someone who has been drinking or using drugs, don’t let them get behind the wheel. Stop them.”