TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - One Terre Haute family is using Wednesday as an opportunity to bring awareness to drunk driving.
This after a drunk driver hit and killed Leylahnd Owens. It happened one year ago Wednesday.
And the man's family has a strong message for anyone who drinks and drives.
Jacob Quinn organized this event.
He rode alongside Owens - both men on motorcycles - the night they were hit.
The crash sent both men to an Indianapolis hospital.
Jacob survived, but Leyhland did not.
"This can't be happening to my family. That's my baby…Leylahnd never woke up, so we didn't really get to say goodbye…I think the worst moment in my life was having to tell my son his brother didn't make it," said Malissa Owens, Leylahnd's mother.
Those are the tearful words of Leylahnd Owens' devastated mother, still mourning the loss of her son, and his sister Erica who can't believe the senseless act.
"You never expect your siblings to die first. And it's hard to comprehend that my brother is not with me because somebody else made a mistake, somebody else thought they were ok to drink and drive," said Erica, Leylahnd's sister.
Her brother Leylahnd's life taken from him at a mere 22 years of age.
A drunk driver smashed into two motorcycles at 17th and Hulman.
His blood alcohol level registered twice the legal limit.
Leylahnd's friend Jacob rode on the motorcycle next to him.
"It happened really fast. We didn't even have a chance to hit our brakes," said Jacob Quinn.
"It wasn't just an accident, it was a drunk driving accident, make sure people remember that…be aware that drinking and driving takes lives every day," said Malissa.
For this one-year anniversary, Leylahnd's family and friends are making sure his legacy stays alive.
"He was one of a kind. He was loud, and fun," said Erica.
"There's a ton you can say about him. He was a blast to be around, he was always smiling," said Jacob. "It's a day where everybody can come celebrate his life."
It's about making sure people remember.
"Every parent that's lost their child, doesn't want them forgotten. And people are afraid to speak their name, the thing is we still love to talk about our kids, its' just that he doesn't make any new memories," said Malissa.
Malissa remembers her last conversation with Leylanhd vividly, and takes comfort knowing her son always thought of others first.
"He was telling me how important that was and he said, it's family first mom. It's family first. If you need something, if my family needs something, I'm going to be there," said Malissa. "It's every parent's worst nightmare…you can apologize for it, but my son is gone."
Travis Ley is scheduled to appear in court again in June.
He faces two counts of operating while intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury.
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