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CT woman honors late mother with years of work in drunk driving prevention

Michelle Lettieri says she still remembers Oct. 20, 1993 like it was yesterday. The crash happened in New Haven just blocks away from her home.

News 12 Staff

Dec 30, 2022, 5:00 PM

Updated 534 days ago

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A local woman who lost her mom to a drunk driver is sharing her story in hopes it’ll save others this holiday weekend.
Michelle Lettieri says she still remembers Oct. 20, 1993 like it was yesterday. The crash happened in New Haven just blocks away from her sister's home.
"We were hit head-on at 6:30. I was critically injured, they didn't think I was going to survive,” said Lettieri. “My mom was my front seat passenger, she was killed instantly. And my sister was my backseat passenger, and she broke her jaw and her nose."
Lettieri said in the wake of the crash, she had to choose between grief or doing something positive. That’s when she called up the New Haven chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
"I started speaking in area schools wherever they needed a speaker, I would go,” said Lettieri. “Volunteering in this organization after something like this happens is so very important, because you're with people going through similar things that you have gone through. So it's a good way of healing."
After volunteering for a short while, she was hired full-time, and has been with MADD ever since. Ahead of New Year’s Eve, she asks partygoers to designate a sober driver.
Over 29 years since the crash, Lettieri says it’s still “ongoing healing.” But as MADD Connecticut’s director of victim services, she honors her mother every day.
"I do the work I do to keep my mom's memory alive,” she says. "If my story could get out to just one person to prevent this tragedy, then I've done what I needed to do."


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