Alex Otte Survived Severe Injuries Caused by Drunk Boat Operator
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is proud to announce our new National President, Alex Otte, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Otte’s family came to MADD in 2010, when she was 13 years old, after she was severely injured by an intoxicated boat operator.
Otte was on a jet ski on a Kentucky lake near her home when a drunk boat operator slammed into her at nearly 70 mph, causing a severe brain injury, a broken neck and collarbone, a shattered jaw, a lacerated liver, two shattered femurs, and the loss of her right leg below the knee.
“MADD showed my family and me that we were not alone,” Otte said. “And now I have dedicated my life to ensuring that there will come a day when no other child is forced to face such a tragedy.”
As president, Otte will serve as national spokesperson and chief advocate for MADD, which grew from a grassroots movement begun by a grieving mother in 1980 to one of the most influential and effective organizations in history.
“I look forward to continuing MADD’s 40-year legacy of putting a name and a face to the thousands of victims of drunk and drugged driving,” Otte said. “The stories we share have the power to save lives.”
Otte became involved with MADD as a volunteer, attending annual Walk Like MADD events and connecting with students in high schools in her home state of Kentucky. She worked with MADD Kentucky staff and other dedicated volunteers to pass state legislation requiring the use of ignition interlocks for drunk driving offenders — first in 2015 and again in 2019, making the Kentucky the 34th state with an all-offender ignition interlock law. Alex spoke out again on behalf of Marsy’s Law, a crime victims’ rights bill, in Kentucky in 2018 and 2020, when it was ultimately added as an amendment to the state constitution.
Otte served as a National Teen Influencer for MADD in 2014 and was awarded MADD’s National Youth Activist of the Year award in 2015 for her tireless efforts to pass ignition interlock legislation in her state.
“Alex has taken a tragedy that should never happen to anyone, let alone a 13-year-old, and turned her experience into a life’s mission of making sure another child will not have to suffer at the hands of drunk or drugged driver,” said MADD National CEO Adam Vanek. “As a high school student, she championed MADD’s mission to end drunk driving and helped lead efforts to pass stronger laws. Alex’s dedication to the mission, compassion for victims and skillful advocacy will help MADD achieve its ultimate goal of eliminating drunk driving forever.”
Otte follows Helen Witty, who served as MADD National President in 2019 and 2020. Witty came to MADD after her daughter, Helen Marie, was killed by a drunk and drugged driver while rollerblading on a bike path on a sunny afternoon on June 1, 2000. Before becoming National President in 2019, Helen spent 11 years as a MADD volunteer victim advocate and seven years as a staff member facilitating MADD’s prevention programs in South Florida.
“We are grateful for Helen’s 20-year dedication to MADD and its lifesaving mission of eliminating drunk driving, fighting drugged driving and educating parents and teens about the dangers of underage drinking,” Vanek said. “Helen is a compassionate listener and a powerful advocate who has spent 20 years sharing the loss of her daughter, Helen Marie, in order to create a nation of No More Victims. Helen’s work has and will continue to make a difference in the thousands of lives she has touched.”
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 390,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
CONTACT: Becky Iannotta, [email protected], 202.600.2032