MADD rep working with family involved in wrong-way accident to speak in ToledoWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
A MADD Ohio representative who has spoken with the surviving family from the wrong-way drunken driving accident on I-280 is scheduled to be in Toledo.
Julie Leggett, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio affiliate that includes Greater Toledo, will be on WRWK 106.5 The Zone with Kevin Murphy from 8 to 8:30 a.m. April 28.
The next day, she will be at Whitmer High School.
“I have spoke with the Griffin family. I am monitoring the case on behalf of MADD,” Leggett said.
The family is not ready to speak to the media, she said.
“Families survive this type of situation however they have to,” Leggett said. “No one grieves in the same way, and from my experience they all find the strength to go on somewhere deep inside them.”
On Dec. 30, Michael Gagnon of Adrian, Mich., was allegedly heading the wrong way on I-280 when the accident occurred. The family was returning to the Baltimore area after visiting relatives.
Bethany Griffin, 36; Jordan Griffin, 10; Lacie Burkman, 7; Haley Burkman, 10, and Vadie Griffin, 8 weeks, were killed. The driver of the van, Danny Griffin, Jr., 36, and his daughter, Sydney Griffin, 8, were seriously hurt. Another passenger, Beau Burkman, 8, had minor injuries.
The trial has been set for June 23. Gagnon appeared April 21 before Judge Linda Jennings. She set a May 9 hearing for arguments on motions filed by Gagnon’s lawyer. Police say Gagnon’s blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.
Leggett said prom and graduation time is a busy time for MADD.
“We just want to talk about the fact that there are choices — there are consequences and choices,” Leggett said. “Prom and graduation are supposed to be a good time, but we still have to make good choices.”
Drinking under age 21 is illegal, she said, and students who make the right choices can still be affected by those who make the wrong ones.
“Being sober is the best way to guarantee you aren’t going to get in an accident,” Leggett said. “If you are going to drive, don’t drink. The level of impairment is .08. In Ohio, if you blow under .08, if they think you are impaired, you can still be arrested.”
Whitmer High School principal Brad Faust said bringing MADD to the school is a preventive measure. Whitmer hasn’t had a tragedy, and “we want to keep it that way,” he said.
After Leggett, Murphy will host attorney Beau Harvey on his show at 8 a.m. April 29.
“I wanted to cover both sides of it. I know that people hear it all the time — all the stats from MADD, but I don’t think a lot of people hear about what it will cost you,” Murphy said.
Harvey said it all depends if this is the first, second, third or fourth DUI and if you are just over the legal limit or if you are under 21.
He charges $500 in attorney fees for a first-time DUI, and after that $1,000 to 2,000. In the felony range, it could be as much as $5,000.
And those are just attorney fees. There’s also reinstatement fees for licenses, remedial classes and a three-day incarceration period, which by most local DUI offenders is served at Nazareth Hall, he said.
“We will concentrate on the realities,” Murphy said. “What this is going to cost if you decide to do this … court costs, losing your license, DUI plates. We will get into the stuff people don’t really think about.”
Leggett, Harvey to appear on ‘Murphy in the Morning’
WRWK 106.5 FM The Zone
• 8 a.m. April 28: Julie Leggett, executive director of MADD in Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio affiliate, which includes Greater Toledo, will talk about not drinking and driving. She has spoken with the survivors of the I-280 wrong-way accident.
• 8 a.m. April 29: Beau Harvey, Toledo attorney, will discuss the financial repercussions of drinking and driving.