Mother of drunk driver hopes to spread message on the importance of driving sober

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- It's a message many have heard of before: Don't Drink and Drive. Many people have also heard from the victims of drunk driving.

Now, the mother of an offender, the mother of the one who made that decision to get behind the wheel drunk, is speaking out.

Cari Fonseca's son, Brandon, is still living with the consequences of his decision today. Cari said she's received backlash for sharing her son's story, but she's not going to stop, as she believes it can prevent others from making the same mistake.

On top of that, she's even organizing an event to raise awareness on this issue.

Back in 2001, Brandon got behind the wheel while intoxicated with his friends, and got into this major crash. Brandon's best friend, Adam, was killed in the crash.

"I felt terrible that Brandon's choice took Adam's life," said Cari. "I felt terrible that Brandon made that choice. We had talked about drinking and driving."

The accident also left Brandon in a debilitating condition. After agonizing over her son's actions, Cari decided to run with her son in the wheel chair in a marathon, and then another one, and another. Now, Cari has started her own non-profit, called "The Next Step Foundation, Team Brandon". She hopes to raise awareness not just about the victims, but also the offenders, in hopes that hearing this other side of the story may stick with some people, and really make them think twice.

Not all responses, however, have been positive.

"One gal on Facebook said tragedy to triumph my bleep, he should be in jail," Cari recalled. "He is in jail. Serving a life sentence. Trapped in his body and mind."

Cari said there are others who have supported her journey of healing and trying to help others, but to this day, the family of Brandon's best friend refuses to talk to her. She hopes to one day receive forgiveness.

"Jill, if you're watching, I'm so sorry," said Cari, as she got emotional. "I can't say I'm sorry enough, because I know you don't have him to hug and I do. I have Brandon to hug. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry."

The Vow To Drive Sober Run will be held on Saturday, December 8, across from the Chase Field in Downtown Phoenix. Cari also said that students can run for free. People can take part in either the 5K or the one-mile course to support this cause.

Vow To Drive Sober Run