Grieving mother says drink driving is like 'Russian roulette' after daughter killed

  • WATCH: ITV Meridian's Christine Alsford talks to Rebecca's mother Karen about her campaign to stop people drink driving

A mother from Surrey has spoken about the devastation caused by drink driving.

Karen's daughter, Rebecca, was killed in a crash in the New Forest in February 2016 when the driver of the car she was travelling in hit a tree.

The journey they were making was just four minutes long.

Karen Marchant said: "My daughter was only 15 when she was killed by a drink driver. She had her whole life ahead of her. Then she was gone in the blink of an eye."

Rebecca was a passenger in a car that hit a tree when the driver was over the limit Credit: Family handout

Karen is now supporting Hampshire Police's Christmas drink drive campaign to stop motorists getting behind the wheel if they're over the limit or have taken drugs.

Rebecca was staying with a friend when the then 34-year-old driver, who was meant to be looking after her, crashed his black E350 Mercedes Sport into a tree, killing the teenager instantly.

Karen said: "If you know somebody that's going to drink and drive, please have the strength to speak up and stop them.

"Take their keys off them, call a taxi. And if they still insist on driving, then have the courage to phone the police.

"(Rebecca) was a light in our family and that light went out. She's still a part of me. She always will be."

The E350 Mercedes Sport driven by a family friend crashed into a tree, killing the teenager instantly. Credit: Hampshire Police

Rebecca was the front seat passenger but he also had his own daughter and eight-year-old niece in the back.

He ran away from the scene and when he arrested a few hours later, he was found to be twice over the drink drive limit and had traces of cannabis in his system.

The driver was sentenced to four years and four months in prison and banned from driving for five years and two months at Bournemouth Crown Court in March 2016.

Police are urging people to not get behind the wheel if they've had a drink. Credit: PA

Operation Holly, run by police, aims to clamp down on those who drive while impaired through drink or drugs, in a bid to stop accidents which can be fatal or life changing.

Supporting the campaign this year, Karen said: "I've always said drink driving is like playing Russian roulette. People get away with it a few times but then the fifth of sixth time they do it something terrible can happen.

"It is us that have been left with a life sentence really because we think about her every day. She's with me every single day, even though she's not. It's nearly seven years since she passed, it feels like so much less than that, but there is this big hole in our lives."

Karen continued: "I made that same journey Rebecca had made that night with police afterwards and it only took four minutes if you drove at a normal speed. That's where people think it won't happen to them, when they are close to home and know the roads and are comfortable so they think they can get away with having a drink. People tend to take more care and plan when they are going on a long trip, but this just shows that you can't risk it, even on shorter journeys."

"She was 15. She was just starting to blossom into a beautiful young lady and in the blink of an eye her life was gone."

Would you report a friend or family member who was drink driving? Sussex Police say you should

Safety marshals deployed in Brighton to help vulnerable people at night as 'more drink to excess'

Warning issued to parents after Hedge End schoolboys seen walking on frozen pond