SAN ANTONIO — For Azeza Salama, the pain of losing her fiance to a drunk driver is as real as it was nearly five years ago.
Salama, who is also a survivor, said it has become her mission to serve our community by advocating for victims. She said the death of the man she planned to marry, Johnny Hernandez, still feels like it happened yesterday.
Her story is all too familiar to the many families who gather each year to honor and remember their loved ones as part of the "Walk like MADD" event held by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The South Texas MADD group, like many other organizations, changed their annual walk to a virtual format due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The goal of the 5K is to "raise both awareness and funds to end drunk driving and fight drugged driving."
According to MADD, in 2018 there were 940 people killed in motor vehicle crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol. This is 26% of the total number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes. During 2018, more DUI-alcohol crashes were reported in the time between 2 and 3 a.m. than any other hour of the day. Also, more of these crashes occurred on Saturday than any other day of the week.
Aside from providing free advocating for victims, MADD has a 24-hour victim service hotline (877) MADD-HELP and online resources to help families who are worried about a relative who might be at risk of drunk driving.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg and San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus will also be participating - along with KENS 5 Eyewitness News reporter Henry Ramos, who will serve as one of the emcees.
For more information about how to sign up and donate, visit the organization's event page on Facebook for the latest updates.