When a young mother lost her three children to a drunk driver, her world was turned upside down. While most mothers from Bampton, Ontario were helping their little ones get ready for school, Jennifer Neville-Lake was mourning the senseless death of her children. That’s why she decided to share a photo of her family’s “first day of school” as a way to raise awareness around the effects of drunk driving and how it can tear families apart.
Because a drunk driver ran a stop sign, Jennifer’s three children, Daniel, nine; Harry, five; and Milly, two, lost their lives. If the drunk driver had not been careless enough to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, the children would have been entering school just like everyone other kid in their town.
That’s why Jennifer decided to share an image that simultaneously breaks your heart and sparks rage toward people who carelessly put others’ lives in danger by driving while intoxicated.
The image that Jennifer shared showed three lunch bags put on the graves of her dead children. These little ones were stolen from her at such a young age because of the senselessness of a drunk driver who did not think about the consequences of driving while under the influence.
“These were their lunch bags for their 2015 school year. The boys took their lunch bags to school, and Milly took hers to her music class and when she would spend Fridays with my dad,” Jennifer wrote to caption the heartbreaking photo. “Our family’s first day of school because of a drunk driver.”
Jennifer only shared the photo because she hopes it will stop another person from driving while drunk. If it makes just one person think about what they’re doing when they get behind the wheel of a car after pounding back too many drinks, she knows she has done her job. She has saved someone – another mother – from this fate worse than death.
She knows her story has already made an impact on those close to her, but she hopes it will make more people realize that they have to be responsible when they drink.
“When I read it to a friend, she mentioned how it made her never want to complain about too much homework or silly things again and appreciate the moment,” Jennifer said. “Your choices become actions that have consequences… I will never, ever et to watch, participate in and with, enjoy, celebrate, cry with, learn with, grow with, be with any of my children again because of another adult’s decision to drive drunk.”
Jennifer’s three children were stolen from her in 2015 after she sent them to stay with their grandparents for a visit. The grandparents lived about 45 minutes from Jennifer’s home.
On September 27, the grandparents were going to drive all three children back. When she received the call, she learned that the car had been struck by a drunk driver and all three children were hurt.
“(My parents) were running late and I was getting annoyed,” Jennifer told ABC News in 2015 after the accident. “But when 5 o’clock hit I was like, ‘This is really late for them.’ I tried calling their phones, and they didn’t answer me. I flipped on the news, and I saw the crash, and I said, ‘that’s my van.'”
Jennifer and her husband Ed rushed to the hospital. But only Jennifer’s mother, Neriza Neville, survived.
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.