Like with any crash, the unexpectedness of the event adds to the tragedy.
That’s what Lourdes Salgado sadly discovered with the death of her father.
In Houston in 2012, Arnold, a hard-working family man, was returning home from work, a journey he had taken countless time. He took his job as provider seriously. As a husband, father and grandfather, he wanted to provide a good life to those he loved.
“He would always do anything to see us happy and to take care of us,” said his daughter Lourdes.
That’s what he was doing the day his life and the decisions made by a driver intersected. The driver was drunk, and he hit Arnold, who died on impact. At the trial, the offender pled guilty and received a nine-year sentence for killing the 57-year-old man.
“My kids are too little, and they don’t understand what happened to their “abuelo.” They still ask for him,” said Lourdes. “We miss him every day of our lives. Since he passed, I can’t leave my mom alone for long periods of time. She gets worried something could happen to me.”
A Mothers Against Drunk Driving® victim advocate attended the court hearings with the family. The advocate also helped the family apply for assistance with the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund and get a cross put up at the crash site.
“To be honest, I would feel sad to drive by where the crash occurred if there was nothing there to where we could stop and place a flower,” his daughter said. “But now I feel some comfort that his cross is there for us to see and pay our respects. It serves a purpose to give awareness of what happens when someone makes that irresponsible choice to drink and drive. ”
Since the crash, Lourdes has been volunteering with MADD, working to ensure that other families aren’t hit with a similar, unexpected tragedy. She speaks to offenders at Victim Impact Panels, sharing how the offender’s decision impacted her and her family.”
“People need to understand that their decisions can have horrible, horrible consequences,” she said. “Just don’t drink and drive. Don’t forever change a family like my family has been changed.”