‘He’s missed by everybody’: Dad pleads with people to not drink and drive over holidays

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JOHNSON COUNTY — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says every year hundreds of people are killed by drunk drivers in the time around Christmas and New Years.

Families who’ve lost loved ones to drunk driving crashes are asking people to think twice before getting behind the wheel this holiday season.

Robert Shirley

“He’s here with us but just not here here,” Larry Shirley said of his son Robert.

January 11 will mark two years since Larry lost his son Robert. Earlier that day, Robert called him to share the good news that he was three years cancer free.

“I basically told him OK bud I’ll talk to you later and be careful coming home and that was the last time that I spoke to him,” Shirley said.

That night, police say Tina Isley was driving down Division Road in Bargersville when she crossed the center line and hit Robert head on. He was killed instantly.

Tina Isley

According to court documents, Isley’s blood alcohol was nearly twice the legal limit. 

“If I needed something all I had to do was call him he was there to help me out with whatever I needed to do so he’s missed by everybody,” Shirley said.

Marie Gregersmith knows the pain all to well. 

Courtesy: Marie Gregersmith

Her mother was killed by a drunk driver when she was just 11 years old. She now runs the group, Advocates Against Impaired Driving.

“It’s a part of your heart that no matter how old you become it’s always going to be a part of your heart that’s torn out,” Gregersmith said. “If you’re going to celebrate give your keys to a designated driver call Lyft, taxi or Uber. The life they save may be their own.”

Police across Central Indiana will have officers out patrolling for impaired driving as part of the Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is offering $15 Uber and Lyft credits between now and January 1 to encourage not to get behind the wheel after drinking. 

The credits can be redeemed between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m.

You can find the codes at www.soberrideindiana.com.

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