Lubbock mom urging drivers to make smart decisions on New Years Eve after son hit by drunk driver

Updated: Dec. 31, 2019 at 9:55 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - According to TXDot, there were 940 DUI fatalities in 2018. Now, a Lubbock resident, Tonya Hayworth, is hoping to prevent tragic losses on New Years Eve, spreading the story of how her son, Ty Coker, nearly died in a drunk driving accident.

Hayworth says in July of 2018, Coker, who was in his early twenties at the time, was leaving a gas station in Georgia after dropping off his wife and daughter at a baseball tournament. When he left, a drunk driver hit him head-on.

“He was leaving the gas station and a woman came over a couple of lanes and hit him head on and he wasn’t able to stop or veer. It caught the complete and total impact of the vehicle,” said Hayworth. “He was trapped. It took an hour and a half to get him out. It took the jaws of life to get him out.”

Hayworth says it’s a phone call no one wants to hear, saying she wasn’t sure if he was going to make it at first.

“You’re numb at first. You don’t really know how to react to that. Of course, with him being out of town, your mind is racing of how fast can I get there?” What she’s (the daughter-in-law) seeing as she pulls up, you know, how she’s hearing him scream. And you cannot be there, so it’s petrifying."

She says today Ty is considered disabled because he had a severe concussion, which affected his short-term memory and he can no longer professionally power-lift.

“God doesn’t waste our pain. So, while this was terrifying, we have no idea what purpose it’s served, we’ve also been able to see how God’s been able to use Ty’s story to reach other people who are going through this or may go through this," said Hayworth.

Hayworth says even though Ty can still do some of the things he loved to do, his life has been altered.

“It’s just one of those things where God’s spirit is life. Ty has a great singing voice and is a fantastic musician. This woman and her actions, cost him physically, but it didn’t take away his voice,” said Hayworth. “There’s no such thing as a little drunk or a little high. No, you’re drunk.. You’re distracted. Just don’t. There’s not ‘a little’ because no one is just a little dead.”

Now she’s asking you to consider your options on New Years Eve including using ride-share services and putting down your cell phone while driving. Her biggest tip, she says, is to be aware of your surroundings even when you’re off the road too and pay attention to your friends who could need some help.

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