MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – On August 18th, 1984, a trooper visited the home of Faye Hodges and her husband to tell them that their son Joseph had been killed on Highway 191 after being hit by a drunk driver.
“A drunk driver impacted him driving in the wrong lane, too fast, 100 mph, and hit Joe head on,” said Charles Hodges.
Thirty-eight years later, Faye is still thinking about the son she lost as well as how she responded to the tragedy.
“Faye, and with the help of others in Midland that have suffered like she did, began the chapter of MADD in Midland County and was very successful at it,” said Charles.
The Midland MADD chapter went on to become Stop DWI, Inc. and while Faye and her husband Charles have since retired after volunteering there for many years, they still run into West Texans who tell them that their organization changed their lives.
“(A past attendee) said, ‘I was in your victim impact class several years ago, and I just want you to know that how you shared the story of Joseph and what you shared about driving impaired or under the influence of drugs, affected me. I want you to know that it was very helpful to me and I’ve made some good decisions about how to handle alcohol,'” said Charles.
Phyllis Peek is the current CEO of Stop DWI, Inc. as well as close friends with Faye and Charles. She says Faye’s story of taking a tragedy and turning it into a force for good inspires her to this day. But she also says, there’s a ton of work to be done, especially in West Texas.
“Believe it or not, Odessa’s number 1 and Midland’s number 2 in drunk driving crashes with loss of life out of the state of Texas. That’s over Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, all of those larger cities,” said Phyllis.
Phyllis also says law enforcement tells her that anytime after 9 PM on Highway 191, 7 out of 11 drivers are suffering from one of the four “Ds.” That driving drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted.
Phyllis, Charles, and Faye all say that needs to change immediately.