Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Mr. Speaker, William Murphy had everything going for him. He had a beautiful bride, three young children, and he was about to embark on a new chapter in his life. On June 16, 2005, all his dreams came to a crashing halt on a hot, humid, summer night in Dayton, Texas.

Mr. Murphy had spent the evening celebrating with his family. He was scheduled to graduate as a medical assistant from the Texas School of Business the next day. On his way home from his mother's house in Baytown, Texas 10 miles away, his car stalled on a darkened stretch of rural State highway 146. He and his sister pushed the car to the shoulder and turned on the flashers. His 9-month-old twin daughters, Mariah and Miranda, remained strapped in the car seats and his wife Amanda cared for the 19-month-old William, Jr. They then waited for assistance.

Soon after, Murphy saw a set of bright headlights heading toward the family. He was relieved because he assumed his mother, whom he had just called when the car stalled, was on her way. But this pickup truck barreling toward his family was not his mother and it was not stopping. Seconds before the impact he attempted to warn his family, but it was too late. He witnessed the destruction of his family that night. The truck never stopped, never slowed down, and crashed into the back of Murphy's vehicle.

Murphy's vehicle was pushed a quarter of a mile down the road. When he got to his vehicle, the trunk was smashed into the back seat. He struggled to get his twin daughters from the wreckage. He found his wife laying in the grass unconscious and his son's barely breathing body 5 feet away.

The driver of the truck stumbled out of the vehicle and it was clear he had been drinking. He failed a sobriety test and he was charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter. Murphy's twin daughters were killed that night. So was his son. His wife and sister were badly injured. Mr. Murphy is still struggling with the assault on his family and the death of all of his children.

Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar to the many families that have been affected by drunk drivers. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD as we know them, is working to prevent this sort of senseless crime. MADD's mission is to find effective solutions to drunk driving and underage drinking problems, while supporting and helping those who have been affected by the pain of these senseless crimes. Founded by a small group of California women in 1980 after a 13-year-old girl was killed by a hit-and-run repeat offender, MADD has saved more than 300,000 lives through their outreach and education programs.

Mr. Speaker, as founder of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus, I have worked closely with many members of MADD this year in the effort to protect the rights of crime victims and protect money in the Victims of Crime Act.

The National Conference of MADD is here in D.C. this week celebrating their silver anniversary and continuing their fight against drunk driving and their mission to hold drunk drivers accountable for their crimes. There are hundreds of MADD staff, volunteers, board members, and past presidents coming from all across the Nation and as far away as Guam to take part in this conference. These people coming to town are kids, mothers, daughters, fathers, victims, and survivors who have been affected by drunk driving.

I would like to commend them for their work on behalf of victims and their cause-driven efforts to stop drunk driving and the drunk driving epidemic. Thanks to the support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, our roads and highways and children, friends, and family are safer today. Due to their efforts, alcohol-related traffic deaths have declined.

Mr. Speaker, in the 1950s, when I was a little kid, my grandfather worked for the Texas Highway Department. In the middle of the day while laying asphalt on what is now interstate 35 between Dallas and Aust