In January 2018 at the corner of Whitten and Macon the life of a man who was in town for a funeral was claimed. A head-on collision killed 25-year-old Michael Richards, as seven others were thrown from an SUV.
“I talked to one deputy who said when they got here, people were scattered all over the street, people were thrown from their car, there were people everywhere,” said Earle Farrell, a former Shelby County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.
Deputies arrested and charged Donald Giamonco with the deadly collision. They said the 26-year-old was driving erratic, and as his passenger described it — drunk.
Nearly two years later, Giamonco learned his fate after pleading guilty to nine of the 36 charges he faced.
For the death of Richards, who was reportedly in town for a funeral, Giamonco will serve 10 years behind bars.
Phaedra Creed, the state program director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said it takes everyone working together to prevent more tragedies.
“Do whatever it takes to be able to protect yourself, to be able to protect them,” Creed said. “Hide their keys, take their keys. It’s much better to have a mad friend than a dead friend.”
According to MADD, every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving accident. And much too often, the consequences are deadly.
This weekend there is a big push to combat drunk driving. The ‘Walk like MADD’ 5k will kick off at the Memphis Zoo. Lunch and registration begins at 11 a.m. with the opening ceremony taking place at noon.
Registration is $25 for adults and $20 for youth. Organizers said the event is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness and money in the fight against driving drunk.