Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

January 25, 2013

On a personal mission

MADD mom says group’s focus hits home

ATHENS — When Tammi Branch hears a siren, it takes her back to a night that changed her life.

Branch told the Athens Kiwanis Club Tuesday that emotions still well up when she thinks of the death of her 18-year-old son in 2009, when the car he was riding in left the roadway and struck a tree.

“Eric got in a car  with a friend,” Branch said. “They both had been drinking.”

Gun Barrel City police reports at the time stated the car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it left the roadway on Legendary Lane, hit a telephone post then reportedly traveled 142 feet in the air. The car then continued south before going through a chain-link fence. It came to rest only after striking a tree.

The 19-year-old driver survived the crash and was ultimately sentenced to seven years in prison for intoxicated manslaughter.

These days, Branch spends much of her time trying to prevent more accidents like the one that claimed her son. As a MADD volunteer, she talks with many of the youth drunken driving offenders spread out over 40 East Texas counties.

“I’ve just had 15 kids sent to me in the last month alone from the judicial district,” Branch said.

According to law enforcement statistics, by the time a person is convicted of driving while intoxicated he or she has driven under the influence about 80 times.

“Last year, I sat in on the sentencing of a man who had been arrested for his 10th DWI,” Branch said.

Because the offender was 74 years old, he was given a 20-year probated sentence.

Branch said the Henderson County District Attorney’s Office contacts MADD if there is a new DWI victim or a trial the organization might be interested in.

“If you’ve got three or more DWIs and you’re going to court, you’re going to look up and see one of us sitting in that courtroom,” Branch said.

The mission statement for MADD lists the three major goals of the organization:

• Stop drunk driving;

• Support the victims;

• Prevent underage dri-nking.

Branch said MADD recently added driving while impaired by drugs as a focus of the organization.

MADD was founded by Candy Lightner about 30 years ago following the death of her 13-year-old daughter. MADD today stands for more than just mothers, but also includes fathers, brothers and sisters as well as volunteers.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 2726192_300x300.jpg Darin Karl found Thursday on Cedar Creek Lake

    The body of a 42-year-old man who had been missing in Cedar Creek Lake was recovered on Thursday.
    The drowning victim was identified as Darin Lynn Karl of Kemp. According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Karl and his nephew were fishing near Cedar Creek Country Club when the boat overturned, ejecting the men. 

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD approves moving monthly meeting, additional drug testing

    Discussion on meal prices for the 2014-15 school year was pulled from Thursday's Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees agenda but other items were approved that will bring about change in the district.
    By unanimous decision, the school board approved changes to the scheduled date for its monthly meetings; additional drug testing on the high school campus and modification to the graduation policy.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 drugs.tif Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26

    On Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Athens Police Department and Keep Athens Beautiful will host the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, giving the public its seventh opportunity in four years to prevent pill abuse and theft.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif Feud between Tool VFDs extends to city council

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Would Lake Athens residents suffer if city controls water?

    Members of Lake Athens Property Owners Association have been watching the dispute between the City of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority uncertain of how this will affect their future.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Hot issue

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Surplus property to be moved or demolished

    Athens Independent School District purchased property at 404 Royall Street during its March school board meeting with the intent to square off property previously purchased by the district.
    During Thursday's school board meeting, a unanimous decision was made to designate the property as surplus and advertise the home to be moved or demolished.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0077.JPG Taste of Home Cooking School

    The Taste of Home Cooking School was held Thursday at the Cain Center. Hundreds attended the events that was sponsored by Cole A/C and the Athens Daily Review.
     

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif City, AMWA differ on future management of water supply

    The 57-year relationship between the Athens Municipal Water Authority and the City of Athens grew stormy in 2013 because of a disagreement over who should pay certain bills.
    The difference-of-opinion led to the Authority filing suit against the city last December, and the city responding by setting the wheels in motion that slated a May 10 election to decide whether to abolish AMWA.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 Easter.jpg Excited and ready

    Lexie and Isabella Hawkins are excited and ready for the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Kiwanis Park.  Bicycles, rabbits and lots of Easter Eggs will be waiting for you. Everyone is welcome, and of course the Easter Bunny will be there.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo