Bridge dedicated to Bradley County man killed by drunk driver
A Bradley County bridge has a new name and a bigger message. It will forever remind people of 24-year-old Dustin Ledford. A drunk driver killed him six years ago on APD-40.
A Bradley County bridge has a new name and a bigger message.
It will forever remind people of 24-year-old Dustin Ledford. A drunk driver killed him six years ago on APD-40.
"The one thing that I want more than anything else is for people to understand that choices have consequences," Kim Ledford, Dustin's mother said.
Ledford described the bridge dedication as a bitter sweet moment.
"Sometimes God gives us a mountain to climb before we get to the peace of the valley. I think that's what's happening today. The love of the community has been shown," Mayor Tom Rowland of the City of Cleveland.
The Ledford's said that night in July of 2010 still haunts them.
"I've always said Dustin will never get to choose what to name his children. We'll never get to choose what to buy our grandchildren for Christmas. All because of a bad choice that somebody else made that night," Ledford said.
The 24-year-old was on his way home from the grocery store. Ledford was on APD-40 in Bradley County when a woman drunk and high on meth hit him head on.
"I want people to have to pay for that crime. I don't care whether it's in a vehicle or with a gun. Murder is murder." Ledford said.
Tiffany Isaza is in prison serving a 10 year sentence.
Ledford hasn't backed down from trying to get Dustin's Law passed for more than 4 years.
"If you have a blood alcohol of .20 or higher or if it's .08 and you have methamphetamine in your system, it becomes aggravated vehicular homicide," Ledford said.
That would increase prison time from 8 to 12 years to 16 to 20 years. The proposed law would also allow for the stronger convictions on a first offense.
"It's an honor to have that sign hanging there that says the Dustin Ledford Memorial Bridge, but it would even be a more honor to be able to say Bradley County never has another victim to a drunk driver," Ledford said.
The Ledford family is working with state lawmakers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to pass Dustin's Law for this upcoming legislative session. They'll be presenting some changes in hopes of lawmakers giving the bill the green light.