LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — For Julie Cascarini, the pain of losing her daughter four years ago is still raw.
A drunk driver killed the 26-year-old Jena, who had a big smile and a brighter future.
The sorrow of losing a loved one to a preventable crime was shared by dozens of people in Long Beach on Saturday evening.
The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving organized a vigil to help victims’ families support each other.
MADD says about 1,000 people lost their lives in California last year just to DUI crashes.
Police officers aren’t immune to drunk drivers either, as the LAPD said goodbye to officer Chris Cortijo after a woman accused of being high on drugs crashed her car into his motorcycle in April 2014.
“It left a big void in our team, our division, and it takes a long long time to get over it. I don’t think we’ll ever get over the process of filling his position,” close friend and co-worker Bill Bustos said.
The tragic irony is that officer Cortijo often worked on sobriety checkpoints and arrested 3,000 DUI suspects in his career.
In the city of Los Angeles alone, 12,000 people were booked for DUI’s just last year.
Cascarini says the man convicted of crashing into her daughter was sentenced to 17 years, but says she’s the one who must suffer for a lifetime.