MADD volunteer: DUI driving not a one-time thing

(WMC-TV) - Across the United States in 2010, nearly 12,000 people died as a result of drunk driving.

Tuesday night on the Hernando-DeSoto Bridge, an woman accused of driving under the influence crashed into and a Mid-South woman.

Now a MADD volunteer, Dell Russell is also a victim. Nearly two decades ago, an accused drunk driver hit and killed her husband.

"It's not something that happens and you don't have to live with it anymore. It happened and you live with it everyday," she said.

She's never met him, but Russell shares something in common with Ricky Ellard.

"A whole lot of pain," Ellard said Wednesday. "A whole lot."

Ellard's wife Sheila died in a wreck Tuesday night when her truck was hit on the Hernando-DeSoto bridge by an accused drunk driver going the wrong way.

Though not connected to this case, Russell says, in general, research shows DUI is not a one-time thing.

"About 80 times is the most recent statistic that I've been given," she said. "By the time somebody is stopped for being impaired, they've driven at least 80 times."

Russell dedicates her free time to educating others, hoping to make what she considers an easily preventable but violent crime go away entirely.

"That's part of MADD's hope and part of our work and education, is that MADD would no longer exist as organization, but I don't see that," she said.

MADD counsels victims of DUI cases, of which Russell says there is never a shortage of supply.

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