Mother of drunk driving crash victim raises awareness

(ABC 6 News) – According to the US Department of Transportation, 37 people are killed in drunk driving-related accidents every day.

One Osage mother has a personal mission, she is trying to battle those statistics and bring more awareness to drunk driving.

Eight years ago, Dawn Kruse and her family’s lives were changed forever when she lost her daughter Maddie to a drunk driving accident. Now, she is working to make sure that doesn’t happen to another mother again.

“Maddie was so selfless. She was the type of person who always thought of others before herself,” said Dawn.

Maddie and her friends were on their way to Florida when a drunk driver going over 100 miles an hour slammed into their car, killing Maddie and one of her friends.

“We found out where Maddie was, we went to the hospital, and we went into a room with the other family, who we had never met. We were at the Methodist hospital, and the doctor came in and he looked right at us and said ‘your daughter didn’t make it’. I had no idea. I thought maybe a broken leg or a broken arm, I thought we were going to take Maddie home,” said Dawn.

Eight years later, Dawn and her family are still grieving. But they’re turning their pain into action.

Dawn has been asked to get involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

“We are just trying to stop people from driving impaired. We say it’s a 100% preventable crime because it’s a choice to get behind the wheel not sober,” said Regional Executive Director of MADD Erin Payton.

Dawn has been tasked to help organize a walk, in honor of her daughter and others who have lost their life to drunk driving.

“I said absolutely, but I want to do it in Osage, Iowa,” said Dawn.

Dawn and her husband’s hometown of Osage has helped raise over $13,000 for MADD.

“The Kruse’s are just amazing. Dawn is super creative, and she probably has more energy than probably anyone I’ve ever met,” said Payton.

Dawn says, doing this walk isn’t something she necessarily wants to do, but she feels like it’s something she has to do.

” I’m very nervous because this is the very first walk in Iowa, so I’m excited about that. But it’s hard because it brings up a lot about her accident,” said Dawn.

If you’d like to take part in the Inaugural Iowa MADD walk on Saturday, the cost is $15 and all that money will go back into spread more awareness of the dangers of drunk driving.

It starts at 10:30 a.m. at Osage City Park.