‘Please don’t be the cause of another’s family’s tragedy’ – Mum of woman killed by drunk driver speaks out
- Credit: Cambridgeshire Police
The mum of a 22-year-old woman who was killed by a drunk driver four years ago has urged people not to be the “cause of another family’s tragedy”.
Claire Danks’ daughter, Lauren Danks, a senior beauty therapist, was travelling home from her first evening shift at Center Parcs, Elveden, on November 10, 2016, when drink-driver Nelson Curtis crashed into her car on the A11 at Barton Mills.
Curtis, from Lakenheath, was nearly twice the drink-drive limit and travelling at 124mph seconds before his Jaguar crashed into Miss Danks’ car as he tried to overtake. He was jailed for seven years in June 2017.
Mrs Danks, 47, from Soham, is now an ambassador for the Road Victims Trust – a charity which supports victims of fatal and life-changing road collisions.
Speaking at the start of a month-long drink and drug driving campaign in Cambridgeshire and neighbouring counties on Tuesday, she said: “Being told our daughter was dead was like dropping a bomb and blowing our lives into pieces.
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“The pain is unimaginable and there is nothing that will fix it.
“We think about Lauren every day and have many wonderful memories. But there are so many more we won’t get to have.
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“We won’t see her get married, she will never have children. We don’t even know what she would look like now.
“What happened that night haunts us every day. Please don’t be the cause of another family’s tragedy. Please don’t drink and drive.”
Mrs Danks praised the “amazing” Road Victims Trust for its support after she was introduced to the charity through a police family liaison officer.
“They were there at the most horrific time but I was able to be honest about my feelings,” she said.
“There were five of us in the house and everyone deals with their grief differently, and it was handled so delicately.”
The mother’s message to anyone considering getting behind the wheel under the influence is that “everyone has a choice”.
She added: “There is no reason to drink and drive. There are taxis and you have a choice, everyone has a choice.
“You are getting behind the wheel of a car that could potentially kill someone.”
MORE: Drunk driver jailed for seven years for causing death of Lauren Danks in A11 crashThe anti-drink and drug driving crackdown in Suffolk also kicked off this week, and officers will be carrying out roadside checks and enforcement throughout December.
During last year’s campaign, 562 breath tests were carried out, with 67 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 82 drug tests conducted, 76 drivers failed.
Meanwhile, 10 people failed to provide a sample and 17 were arrested for being unfit through drink or drugs.
Anyone charged and bailed for drink-driving will appear at the next remand court – meaning they could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed.
Temporary Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, head of the joint roads and armed policing team, said: “This has been a very difficult and challenging year for everyone, with little opportunity to get together with loved ones or celebrate special occasions.
“With that in mind, we are more than aware that many people will be desperate for some respite over the Christmas period and the chance to share a drink with friends and family – wherever the Covid-19 regulations allow.
“We want people to be able to enjoy themselves, but to do so sensibly and without risking the lives of others.
“There is no room for people to think that just because it’s Christmas, or that 2020 has been a year to forget, that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs is any more acceptable than it would usually be.”