HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) Police say they are stepping up their efforts to make sure everyone stays safe on the road, focusing their officers to watch for drivers who are swerving particularly on New Years' Eve from midnight until 4 a.m.
Suzanne Noonan said she will never forget the terrifying feeling of being in the car with a drunk driver. And she said if she had made a simple phone call to a cab or a friend, her life would be different today.
Noonan said, "I have to live through that memory and I wish no one would have to go through what I did."
Noonan said she is still haunted by the memories of a car accident that took the life of her boyfriend who was driving drunk almost 15 years ago. "He was going too fast on the parkway in Jersey and he was speeding, lost control of the car. He hit a tree and the only thing that saved my life being in that car was my seat belt," Noonan said.
Noonan added that she did what she could to stop her boyfriend from driving recklessly but once he was behind the wheel, she said there was no stopping him. "When people drink, they can turn extremely happy or mad or sad depending on what they feel at that moment so alcohol does affect how you think and react to life."
The crash caused Noonan a lacerated liver, collapsed lung and a concussion. She still wears the physical and emotional scars from that night.
Noonan is not the only one affected by the tragedy of drunk driving.
J.W. Nave, a wedding photographer, said, "On the Monday before her wedding a bride was on her way home from being with her fiance and a drunk driver hit her head-on and killed her instantly."
Nave said attending the funeral of a bride who was buried in her wedding dress is a horrific memory. Nave added, "It is devastating for the whole family. I think they are probably still reeling from it. You don't get over things like that."
That is why those who have been touched by tragedies due to drunk driving say there are ways to avoid them. Noonan said, "It all can be prevented if you just turn to a cab or designated driver."
The Diamond Cab is offering free rides for those in Horry County who are not safe to drive home over the New Years' holiday.