DOUGLAS (CBS) – The knock on his door came early in the morning of October 2, 2011.
Massachusetts State Trooper Mark Robbins never dreamed it could happen to him.
Two of his supervisors, his best friend and his wife, were all waiting on his front step.
They told him his daughter Renee had been in a crash.
“It was literally like a ton of bricks hit you,” Trooper Robbins explains.
Renee was just five weeks into her first year at Norwich University in Vermont, when she was killed by a drunk driver. She and friends had been at a party, and another student gave them a ride home. He claimed he hadn’t been drinking, but once behind the wheel he began driving recklessly and the car slammed into a tree.
Renee was sitting in the front seat. She had no alcohol in her system. The driver fled the scene but was later caught. He also tried to run from the hospital twice. Police say he had nearly three times the legal blood alcohol level in his system.
Trooper Robbins says he thinks about his daughter Renee every day. He grows emotional when he talks about how his life has changed. “I have two daughters but I’ll only have one wedding. I have three children but only two will have children.”
Now a year and a half after the crash, he is speaking publicly, using his pain and the devastating lessons to create a legacy for Renee. He created The Renee Fund and he shared his story with students at Douglas High School as part of their Mock Drunk Driving Crash.
“You get to make choices,” Robbins told the students. “Use your heads, be smart, think about what you do and what the consequences are to that.”
The students also heard from their principal, Kevin Maines, about losing his brother in a drunk driving crash. “He was more than a brother,” he says, “He was a best friend. I carry him with me.”
Richard Forget, a junior, hopes other students will see how widespread the problem is, and learn from their loss. “Your time on this earth is really limited and you shouldn’t go around making stupid decisions.”
Taryn Cordani, another junior, says it was a powerful message. “Everything you do has consequences and you can’t life your life thinking it can’t happen to you.”
Trooper Robbins believes, “If we can save one person, if one family doesn’t get the knock at 6 o’clock in the morning, that is my ultimate goal.”