Mother and Inmate Warn Teens About Driving Under the Influence

By: A-mila West Email
By: A-mila West Email
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PORT ST. JOE -- Some Port St. Joe High School students received an important message today from a mother who lost her child to a drunk driver. Renee Napier has been sharing her daughter's story since 2004, promoting sober driving.

You might be shocked by who's helping Napier spread her message.

Eric Smallridge, 24, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for DUI manslaughter. Smallridge was drunk when he hit another car in Pensacola Beach on May 11, 2002.

The two people in the other car were Lisa Dickson and Meagan Napier. They were both killed.

"Life is just fine and then all of a sudden it's not. And so it all happened, the accident happened in four seconds and so my life was changed dramatically. But two lives were lost in a matter of seconds,” said Smallridge.

More than a decade later, Smallridge and Meagan Napier's mother, Renee Napier, are collaborating to warn teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving.

"They need to understand that just because they're going to this school and they may come from a good family or whatever, they need to know that it could happened to them if they make that same choice," Renee Napier said.

Together they're hoping to make a lasting impression in students’ minds. Smallridge is living proof of that there are consequences of drunk driving.

And although Napier’s daughter is no longer here, she says she's forgiven Smallridge.

"Being around him and seeing his heart and realizing that he truly is a good person. And he truly will never repeat this offense again you know he has a good heart he wants to help me in any way that he can,” Napier said.

Smallridge and Napier travel the country together to schools, churches and military bases, educating young people on the consequences of drunk driving.

They'll be at a men's prayer breakfast in South Dakota on Good Friday.

Smallridge is still serving his sentence.


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