Mother of DUI victim gives warning

JB Clark | Daily Journal Casey Wood talks to Verona Police Chief Anthony Anderson after she spoke to a group of law enforcement officers at the kickoff for the Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

JB Clark | Daily Journal
Casey Wood talks to Verona Police Chief Anthony Anderson after she spoke to a group of law enforcement officers at the kickoff for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

SHERMAN – Casey Wood never encouraged her son Brendon to go out and drink, but she knew it was a reality of being a teenager. She told him and his friends she would always pick them up if they needed a ride, no matter the time.

That’s why she was surprised on May 22 when a friend of her son called to tell her they had been in a wreck. She knew the friend had been drinking. A month later her son died from injuries sustained in the wreck.

Brendon graduated from North Pontotoc High School two days earlier and Wood said he was excited because he was a musician, and after graduation he was going to pursue his dreams and go on tour to play music. Brendon went out graduation night to celebrate with friends. He returned home that night safely, thanks to a designated driver.

“My house was always packed with kids, and that day (May 22) some friends of his who hadn’t been around for a while had shown up,” Wood told a room full of law enforcement officers Thursday. “I could smell alcohol on one boy’s breath and I asked if he had been drinking. He said he had. I told him not to drive, and he told me his friend drove him there.”

She spoke to police officers, sheriff’s deputies and Highway Patrol troopers from the region during their Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign kickoff, because she she wanted them to remember Brendon’s face and story when they were enforcing DUI laws.

The group of friends went to Kyoto to eat lunch where Wood said the boy who had been drinking left. Brendon followed the friend to make sure he was safe but ended up as a passenger in the car when it crashed on Endville Road in Belden, three miles from Wood’s home.

“My child was in the hospital from May 22 until June 22,” Wood said. “I watched my child in a coma with tears coming out of the sides of his eyes. I watched my son have things happen to his body that no mother ever wants to see, and those things never go away. They’re stuck in my head.”

The driver of the crashed vehicle was charged with DUI-death. Brendon died on June 22.

“You guys are the ones who can stop this from happening,” she said to the officers. “I’m serving a life sentence because somebody else had a buzz. You guys are the ones who can stop someone else from having to live this life.”

jb.clark@journalinc.com