May 7, 2012 4:11 PM by Lacey Steele

Mother speaks against drunk driving nine years after losing her son

No parent wants to imagine losing a child, but for three Alamosa families that's now a reality.

A Pueblo woman knows what's it's like.

Dawn Cortez turned losing her son in a drunk driving accident into a chance to educate others.

"We get together just to remember him, but I think I will grieve the rest of my life," said Dawn Cortez, who lost her son in a drunk driving accident.

It will be nine years in June.

"I was awoken at six in the morning with three police officers at my door informing me my son had been involved in a crash," said Cortez.

Dawn Cortez's son, Donnie, had been drinking with two friends.

He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

They were all three drunk, including his friend who had been driving.

"I did help him get a lesser sentence because I felt that he was my son's friend, but I also felt that you're still accountable," said Cortez.

Now Dawn speaks to students, inmates, and those ticketed with DUI's.

"Hopefully I'll spare a parent out there, not getting that knock on the door like I did," said Cortez. "Mother's Day is a hard day for me. I don't get those roses. I don't get those cards anymore, so all the cards he gave me I kind of put them out on the table. I'll read each one."

After a recent deadly crash in Pueblo, three Alamosa families are now grieving the loss of children.

"It does bring back memories," said Cortez. "definitely."

The driver who hit them is charged with DUI.

Dawn found out a parent saw the crash happen.

"I can't even imagine that," said Cortez. "Mine was hard enough getting the three police officers that morning."

She says she's praying for the families in Alamosa, and she knows the grieving process will be hard.

"Even after nine years, I look back and I think, 'Wow, I made it through another year,'" said Cortez.

She says speaking to others helps her heal.

Dawn speaks on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving based out of other cities, but hopes to someday have a chapter of the group located in Pueblo.



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