Friday, January 1, 2010

Memorial Marks Spot Where Mother, Daughter Killed


Jan. 1, 2010 -- PORT NECHES -- A cold December wind made ripples in Larry Dupuis' jacket as he stood at the spot where his wife and daughter were killed three years ago.

Two white crosses, each adorned with a wreath, bear the names Rowena Dupuis and Karmen Dupuis and the words 'was killed at this location by a drunk driver.'

Dupuis, who is blind, was accompanied by his mother-in-law Ruby Myers, and members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the placement of the two markers on Thursday at the intersection of Magnolia and Merriman in Port Neches.

The markers are a way to bring awareness to the public of the dangers of driving under the influence, Kathy Bell-Schexnaider, a senior victim advocate with the Beaumont chapter of MADD.

Large commercial vehicles roared past, their noise intermingled with the revving of a motorcycle and the occasional honk of a car horn during the solemn New Years Eve ceremony.

The widower's message was simple.

"I wish for people to have a good time tonight but if they drink, get a designated driver, get someone to take them home, call a cab," Dupuis said.

Rowena, 52, and Karmen, 17, Dupuis were on their way to see "The Nutcracker Suite" in Orange on Dec. 1, 2006 when their car was struck by a drunk driver.

Colin Romero ran a red light at the intersection of FM 366 and Merriman Street striking the Dupuis' vehicle and causing it to spin into traffic and hit a third vehicle. A fourth vehicle that was stopped at the light was also struck during the accident, according to police.

The mother died instantly while the daughter died a short time later.

Romero pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter and on Oct. 6, 2008, Judge Lane sentenced Romero to two 18 year sentences to run concurrently. As of Dec. 1, 2009, Romero was placed in parole review. He has been in prison for 14 months, Schexnaider said.

Schexnaider hopes the memorials will be a visual reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving.


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