SAN ANTONIO – The Thanksgiving holiday season started with two fatal crashes in which two drivers are suspected of drinking and driving.
The first fatal crash was Saturday at 4:30 a.m., when Leslie Celeste Leicht stopped her truck on Interstate 10 East near Boerne Stage Road for an unknown reason. John Zillman Stafford III, 47, was killed when his truck slammed into her pickup. Leicht is now charged with intoxication manslaughter.
The second fatal wreck happened Monday at 1 a.m. on Highway 181 South near W. Laguna Road in South Bexar County, when 29-year-old Melanie Saucedo slammed her Mitsubishi into the back of another car, causing it to roll over.
Peter Castillo,58, of Floresville died at the scene and a 7-year-old boy was severely injured. Saucedo was given a field sobriety test, but blood alcohol tests are still pending in this case.
Gloria Vasquez, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said it's a scary and rough start to the holiday season.
"This is 100 percent preventable. That is what is the impactful part. If people would just not drink and drive," said Vasquez.
Once again, MADD has kicked off its "Tie One on for Safety" campaign to eliminate drunk driving, encouraging everyone to tie a red ribbon in a convenient and noticeable spot to remind drivers to make an alternate plan if they plan on drinking.
"Get a ride home, call someone, make other arrangements that night. Take a cab. Take a bus. Wake somebody up to have them pick you up and take you home safely, because it not only impacts you, it impacts all the other drivers on the road," said Vasquez.
Texas leads the nation in drunken driving deaths with 1,213 fatalities in 2011. MADD is working on legislation for next year to advocate for ignition interlocks for all convicted drunken drivers and legalizing the option of sobriety checkpoints.
Economically, DWIs in Texas equate to $11 billion in expenses passed on to Texas drivers, or $800 per driver, according to MADD.