From heartbreak to action: A grieving mom’s mission to save lives on Hawaii’s roadways
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu mother who lost her daughter to an alleged drunk driver is on a mission to prevent similar fatalities from happening.
Chanda Park is offering another ride sharing service to help drinkers get home safely.
In December 2020, Park’s 21-year-old daughter Azalia Park was on her way to see the holiday light show at Aloha Stadium when she was struck by alleged drunk driver Jayson Abad, who was also 21 at the time.
Azalia died of her injuries three days later.
“She was pronounced brain dead after the series of tests,” said Park. “So, in that moment, it was no longer in my hands.”
Abad is awaiting trial on charges of DUI and causing an accident involving death.
Meanwhile, Azalia’s mother is turning her grief into action.
“I honestly feel that what happened to my daughter and what happened to many other loved ones, families that are suffering, is 100% preventable,” said Park.
Park launched Safe Ride Hawaii, which provides two drivers — one to bring the intoxicated person home and the other to drive that individual’s car home.
Park said she learned of the services from the mainland non-profit, Safe Ride America. The butterfly on the Safe Ride Hawaii logo represents Azalia.
Non-profit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving said they support Park’s effort to bring awareness and prevent the “senseless tragedies.”
According to Responsibility.org, about a third of all Hawaii’s traffic fatalities involve alcohol. In 2019, there were 36 DUI deaths which is 19% below the amount from 2010.
But, it’s still no consolation to Azalia’s family. Her mother said no one should die from someone else’s bad judgement.
“The pain that I went through and the pain that I’m still going through, I don’t want other people to experience that,” said Park. “And whenever I can do to step up, make a difference that’s what I want to do.”
Park said a ride costs $2 per minute.
Due to limited drivers, Park encourages people to reserve a ride 24 hours in advance using the app Safe Ride Now or by calling 808-900-4610.
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