IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) -While holidays are mostly about celebrating, they are also one of the most dangerous days on roadways and Labor Day is no exception.
In 2020, there were over 440 vehicle crashes that resulted in injuries or fatalities during Labor Day in Louisiana.
More than 1 in 10 of the crashes involved a driver who had been drinking, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
A Jeanerette family was devastated by heartbreak after three of their youngest family members were killed by a drunk driver in December.
Their older brother is now sending a powerful warning to others on this holiday.
“This is a real statistic that says every 45 minutes, someone dies from an alcohol-related accident and my three baby siblings were added to that statistic this past December when a drunk driver hit them. Don’t add to that statistic,” Shea Simmons said.
Simmons lost his three younger siblings, 15-year-old Kamryn, 17-year-old Christopher, and 20-year-old Lindy when their vehicle was hit head-on by a pick-up truck.
State police say the driver of the truck was intoxicated three times over the legal limit and was driving on the wrong side of the interstate.
“Everyone constantly thinks, ‘I might drive drunk a little bit here and there, but I’m not going to kill someone.’ You don’t know that. You really don’t. You can’t say that you’re not going to do that when you’re under the influence,” Simmons said.
He says this is something no one expects will happen to them, but it’s a very real possibility for anyone.
“I see the younger generation. A lot of people will brag about driving drunk or think it’s a joke, and it’s like it’s all fun and games until you lose your family member or you take someone else’s family member. Just be aware of that. Don’t throw your life away just by trying to drive drunk. It’s just not worth it.”
He says the drunk driver that killed his siblings made one bad decision that was so easily preventable.
“I think my three baby siblings that passed, they left us with one thing, and that’s to share the message of what happened to them and to help avoid it for other people,” Simmons added.
The drunk driver died in the crash as well. Two people survived the crash: the siblings’ mother and Christopher’s girlfriend, who were also in the vehicle.
Louisiana is participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to eliminate drunk driving. This campaign will be in effect on Labor Day.