When it comes to sharing stories of people whose lives have been affected by drunk driving, nothing can convey the heartbreak more than the words of a mother who has lost a child. This is how Sheila Lockwood describes the loss of her son Austin.
“Our lives tragically changed when two police officers came to our home around 5 AM on June 10, 2018. We were told that our Austin was gone.
Our lives destroyed in three words. Our hearts forever broken.
We are struggling to go to work, we do not sleep, and eating is not a priority. The loss is overwhelming. All because a selfish killer took Austin from us. A drunk and drug-impaired driver was speeding. Unacceptable. No remorse, no accountability for his horrific actions.
This killer took two lives. He took my precious son, and he took my life. He took my future with my son, my future grandchildren, future holidays, future wedding celebrations, future birthdays, and every future day to come. I suffer every minute. Austin’s brother and sister suffer every minute.”
Sadly, Austin’s story doesn’t end there. The driver who killed him was well over the legal limit and was charged with a drunken driving-related homicide. However, several months after Sheila had buried Austin, she made a shocking discovery. Her son’s killer was still driving. The man surrendered his Illinois license after the crash and then moved to Wisconsin. Because his case was pending, he was able to get a license. While most states share information about incidents like this through a database, five states, including Wisconsin, do not. All Sheila could think to say was, “You’re giving the criminal back the weapon that he used to kill my son.”
In memory of Austin, whose initials were A.L.L., she’s made it her mission to see laws changed so that ALL 50 states begin sharing information. For Austin and so many others, we must keep fighting to recognize impaired driving as a violent crime and hold drunk and drugged drivers accountable.