PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Four years ago Linda Beni experienced an unimaginable loss, after her daughter Brittany - Lynn was killed in a drunk driving hit and run accident, but after finding support through family and friends Beni also found support through Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a group focused on helping families of victims deal with their loss.
Sticking by their tradition despite the pandemic, Linda and 21 loved ones walked the Punta Gorda bridge in honor of her daughter.
“ I have so much love and support and when Brittany passed away, when I got the phone call that she was killed in a car accident it just, a piece of me just died with her like why that should’ve haven’t happened. I’ve lost my parents, I’ve lost my husband but to lose a child is not normal. Do not drink and drive because you don't realize the numbers out there of people that are killed because of it so not only are we helping victims but we’re trying to get the awareness out not to drink and drive anymore,” said Linda Beni, mother of Brittany Lynn.
Raising money for not only the walk but the organization, Benni had sponsors at today's event who said they love and care for this family, including the owner of Carmelo's Italian Ristorante in Punta Gorda.
“So Britney and her mom Linda both worked for me, and Brittany was just a bright soul with a good future ahead, but people need to drink responsibly and there are plenty of means to get home whether it’s Uber, Lyft there’s so many different ways there's no reason you should be driving drunk,” said Carmelo Mangiafico.
Those of us at today’s walk witnessed the importance of this mission of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. You can see in this video, a man taking a field sobriety because deputies suspected him of driving under the influence.
“It just infuriated me for the reason we are here today and why my daughter isn’t here anymore. You wanna just go there and shake the person and say what is wrong with you? Do you understand what you could do?, Do you understand what has happened to my life, but people don't think you know,” said Beni.
Beni tells me, it has been a tough 4 years without her daughter, but raising awareness in honor of her daughter has made each day better.
“My end goal for this whole thing is to become an advocate to help other victims and their families if I can, I feel like I’ve become stronger through all of this. It’s given me the strength to go on and speak to people and help people when even though I’m hurting inside but there are so many other people that are hurting I can help them,” said Beni.
For more information on how you can help support this cause head to their website.