(WMC-TV) - Police blame alcohol for a wrong-way, head-on collision that destroyed two Mid-South families. Learning the driver was drunk has given one of those families a new mission.
First cousins Demetria Allen and Chastity Wilson were more like sisters. Meechie and Chatty, as they were known, once lived together. They also died together in June when police say another woman, Alma Chavez, made a deadly decision to drive the wrong way on I-240 between South Parkway and Norris Road.
"In the back of my mind I wanted it to be just an accident ... Just maybe she was lost and went the wrong way," said the victim's mother, Lisa Wilson.
This police illustration showed Chavez in "Vehicle One" slammed head on into the cousins in "Vehicle 2." All three women died in the crash.
Two months after the accident, this grieving family learned Chavez was drunk.
"I'm not here to bash the lady who was driving. It's just sad to make a poor decision and jump in your car and drive, knowing you're over the legal limit, just knowing you've been drinking period," said Wilson.
The Action News Five Investigators interviewed Alma Chavez's husband in the days after the crash.
"I'm sorry for the other family and hopefully we'll get through this little by little, but I know it's going to take time," said Steven Algarin.
He said his wife died while on her way home from work, which was at a restaurant in Southaven. He said she was unaware, at the time, that she may have been drinking.
But according to a toxicology report certified by the Shelby County Medical Examiner's Office, Chavez's blood alcohol concentration, was .211. That is nearly three times the legal limit for DUI, which is .08.
In addition to her husband, Chavez left behind a 5-year-old son. Attempts to reach Chavez' family for a response to her toxicology report were unsuccessful.
"My baby would be here now if someone would have stopped her," said Wilson.
Darleesia Williams spent the evening on Beale Street with her sister and cousin the night they died. She normally would have been in the car with them.
"This night I knew they wanted to stay out a little longer, so I decided to drive," said Williams. "If you're going to drink and have fun, be responsible enough not to drive or at least have a designated driver."
She is now among members of this close family who wear T-shirts in remembrance of Meechie and Chatty.
Meechie, 23, was a pediatric clinic employee. Chatty, 21, was a culinary student who was awarded a diploma exactly one month after her death. The mother accepted the degree.
She believes the cousins are still laughing together and hopes their deaths make others think twice before driving drunk.
Some 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. every year. Learn more about awareness by clicking here.
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