AUSTIN - The daughter of one of the 13 people who died in a church bus crash in Uvalde County shared her story for the first time this week.
Jessica Melott said family was everything to her mother, 61-year-old Rhonda Allen.
“Besides her relationship with Jesus, her kids and my five daughters, her only grandchildren, were what brought her the most joy,” Melott said. “I loved reading any news stories that would put something about her, and they pulled stuff from Facebook because she put ‘I love my life’. And that's really how my mom lived."
But her mother’s life ended when 13 members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels died when troopers said Jack Dillon Young collided with them.
He has been handed down 13 two-count indictments for intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter.
"It's real people who are affected when those who get behind the wheel and they're impaired,” Melott said.
She brought an emotional message at AAA Texas' "Impaired Driving Policy Summit" in Austin and listed off the drugs officials said were in Young's system.
“Ambien, Lexapro and Clonazepam,” Melott said. "As well as a THC level greater than 5.”
AAA Texas reports there were 280 drug-involved deadly crashes in Texas last year.
"Drugged driving is becoming the number-one serious impaired driving problem,” said Daniel Armbruster. “We’ve seen such a fast increase in drugged-driving instances and cases and crashes in the state of Texas just in the past five to six years."
Melott has two daughters who will start driving soon. She wants them and everybody to just think twice before getting behind the wheel.
"I don't want my mother's death and those others who died with her to be in vain,” Melott said.
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