When 25-year-old Amy Nichole Walker was killed by a drunken driver four years ago, her family struggled to find ways to cope.
Jimmy Walker, Amy's father, said losing his daughter – who had two children of her own – was devastating. Amy had been riding in a car that was driven by a man who was later charged with a DUI. Walker said the driver lost control of the car and crashed. His daughter was the only person in the car who didn't make it out alive.
"When she was first got killed, it was just unbelievable, it was like a dream and it still hurts today," Walker said.
One of the things that helped his family cope was a sign, put in place by the Georgia Department of Transportation and funded by the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's DUI Memorial Fund.
"It symbolized that every time I went by that, I knew she was still there," Walker said.
Amy's youngest sister, Jennifer Johnston, said the sign also turned her death into a lesson for others.
"I drove by that sign every day on my way to work," Johnston said. "It not only stood for her, it was just a reminder every day to not drink and drive."
But last week, Johnston noticed the sign wasn't where it normally was. She pulled over on the side of Highway 140 and found it laying on the ground and badly damaged.
"The sign had just been ran over," Johnston said. "It was a metal sign that was completely crushed. It was demolished. My heart dropped to my stomach when I saw it."
Jill Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the Georgia DOT said an order has been put in to make a replacement sign right away. Goldberg didn't immediately know when the sign would go up, but the Walker family hopes it is in time for May 18, the anniversary of Amy's death, when the family comes together at the sign to have a memorial for her.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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