7 years after OUI tragedies, NH mom on a mission

Drunk driving hits home for one family

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER) --

Seven years ago, Beth Melanson, of Dover, New Hampshire, experienced two tragedies, just months apart.

Melanson lost both her niece and her son in two separate drunk driving crashes.
Since then she's tried to encourage people to not drink and drive.
Emily Madden and Jason Melanson were both 21 years-old when they died.
Emily got behind the wheel of a car after a family part in Rochester.

Her car went flying into a tree before her father could stop her from driving.
Weeks later, Jason was a passenger in a roommate's car.

Both were drinking before they got in that car, started driving and also hit a tree early Thanksgiving morning.

Police arrived at Beth Melanson’s apartment at 6:30AM, just as she was putting a turkey in her oven with her daughter.

“Honestly I was just numb,” said Melanson. “I was in shock and numb because I kept saying to the police officer, you just don't understand this happened to us a few weeks ago. It did not seem real.”
Seven years later Beth is giving presentations to seniors at Portsmouth High School and drivers-ed classes.
She says if just one child listens, it might save a life and she's done her job -- trying to keep alcohol from taking more kids from their parents and friends.
That moment when police told Beth Jason had been killed, hurts just as much now as it did more than half a decade ago.
“When his birthday comes,  Christmas comes, especially, it's just as raw as if they had just walked in,” said Melanson. “I don’t think any parent should have to go through this.”

Melanson says she is not the only one from her family going out, trying to spread her message about drinking and driving.
She told NEWS CENTER Jason's twin brother Justin may start sharing his story with students too.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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