Charlotte Darville: A mother's mission

If you ask Charlotte Darville where her inspiration comes from, you will likely hear a pause and them a sigh. She's a local mother who carries on the memory of her daughter in hopes of saving lives. No matter where she goes, the pain follows.

"In the beginning I came all the time, I'd bring a blanket and sit on the ground but I had to stop doing that," says Darville.

She speaks over a cemetery plot where the heartbreak is as real now as the day it began over 14 years ago on November 23, 1999. Her daughter Kim, a stay-at-home mother and wife, was on the way to church with her 6 month old baby. 

"She had a big big heart and would do anything for anybody," Darville recounts.

Kim was a quarter mile from home when the accident happened. "She had broken bones from one end of her body to another. The steering column went through one of her lungs," says Darville.

The baby survived but Kim was buried a few days later. When the magnitude of this tragedy couldn't get any worse, the truth came out about the man behind the wheel in that other vehicle.

Police Richard Boyle had been drinking excessively before getting on Northlake Boulevard. He never made it far. His van crossed the centerline plowing head on into Kimberly's vehicle. Authorities said at the point of impact his blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit.

"Witnesses said she never had a prayer cause when he crossed over the line she was right there."

For years Darville has recounted Kim's story every month to hundreds of men and woman of all ages. They are all DUI offenders required by the courts to hear her speak at this Victim Impact Panel for MADD.

She tells of the horror that ripped through her life. The tears, therapy, panic attacks and anxiety all of which left her 60 pounds thinner. When the night is over if she can reach at least one person she knows that is one family spared from grief.

"Just hearing stories, people crying I couldn't imagine if that would happen to me," says Miguel Gonzalez. He was pulled over a year ago for driving under the influence.

It is a story that will haunt Darville as long as she lives. While it takes everything in her to be a victim advocate for MADD, it's also preserving the memory of a life cut way to short.

"There were two times I felt her calling out to me. Sometimes I feel like she's right here with me, says Darville. 

A mother-daughter team separated in reality but together in spirit teaching all of us a lesson in life: don't drink and drive.

The Victim Impact Panel meetings are free and open to the public. They take place on the first Monday of every month at the National Guard Armory in West Palm Beach on Gun Club Road.

 

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