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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- Everyone is vulnerable when they get behind the wheel and travel, and no one knows that better than a woman who lost her child to a drunk driver.

On the 16th anniversary of losing her son, a mother spoke with News 19 about the alcohol-related accident that took her son’s life.

“I lost my only child, my son Matthew, to a drunk driver when he was a senior in college, he was a student at Florida State University. He had come home on Christmas break and in fact, today is the anniversary of the crash” said Connie Russell.

Connie Russell’s son Matthew was in the back seat of someone’s car on his way scuba diving. She says he was getting ready to be a Marine Biologist in his last semester of college when his life was cut short.

“He was in a coma on life support for eight days, so Christmas week is just not Christmas week for me anymore, it never will be. And he, Matthew, lived on life support for a week until he died because of the selfish and criminal act of a drunk driver,” said Russell.

Matthew was just 21 years old, and the drunk driver who hit the car he was in was also just 21.

Now, Russell wants to spread the message that drunk driving is preventable so others can avoid the loss she’s felt.

“If they could just think before they have that first drink ‘how am I going to get home or am I going to get in that car’, then they would make that choice not to drink, or have a designated driver, have a uber, have a taxi,” Russell said.

Project roadblock is an initiative meant to inspire a dialogue about drinking and driving and provide resources to get people home safely during the holidays. News 19 is proud to support this project.

You can find a list of ways to get home safely, whether it be uber, lyft, taxi services, etc. so you don’t drink and drive here.