Family who lost little girl reminds people not to drink and driv - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Family who lost little girl reminds people not to drink and drive

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Crash that killed 6-year-old Emma Longstreet on New Year's Day, 2012 Crash that killed 6-year-old Emma Longstreet on New Year's Day, 2012
LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

This is the first holiday season for the Longstreet family without their youngest child. 6-year-old Emma was killed in a crash on New Year's Day 2012.

Investigators say the driver who hit her was drunk.

"To lose my only daughter was way beyond what I could imagine," said David Longstreet. "No more dreams of walking her down the aisle, teaching her to drive."

Emma's father said a drunk driver ended those plans, leaving a deep emptiness and unanswered questions.

He received counseling for the pain of losing his daughter. During difficult moments, he prays.

"Some days I say, 'You know what I'm going through. Just sustain me enough for today Lord, so I can survive and move on tomorrow'" he said.

"I'm trying to combat anger, fear, sadness and depression and love," said Longstreet. "Love three little boys."

A family torn apart by an alleged drunk driver: it's an issue the Highways Patrol said they see way too often in the Midlands.

"It hits us pretty hard because we know somebody's life is fixing to change dramatically," said Trooper Brent Kelly, who would rather see the number of DUI accidents change.

Kelly said this year, 62% of the accidents in Lexington County were alcohol related.  In Richland County, it was 55%.

"Those are high numbers," said Kelly. "Those are double the national average."

In an effort to lower those numbers, officers have DUI checkpoints around the Midlands this holiday weekend.  They urge people who plan to go out drinking to have a designated driver or catch a cab home.

It's a message Longstreet hopes to drive home every time he shares Emma's story.

"If you're willing to take that risk just be aware you will have to pay the consequences," he said. "I don't want anyone to have to go to jail, serve time or to die."

The man accused of causing the crash that killed Longstreet, Billy Hutto, has not gone to trial yet.  He is charged with felony driving under the influence causing death and felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury.

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