Brave son urges drivers not to drink and drive after losing dad in Christmas Eve crash
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On Christmas Day last year, Mike Fealey was preparing to spend the day with his father Ron and the rest of their family, as was tradition every year.
Mike had opened presents with his grandson and Ron was due to come over later in the day to continue the celebrations.
By mid-morning the family was told that Ron had been in an accident the previous evening on his way back from church. He was in a critical condition, and they needed to attend University Hospital Wales as soon as possible.
By Boxing Day, Mike and his family said goodbye as they made the difficult decision to turn off Ron’s life support.
Ron, who was 82 and a retired nurse, enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as going to the gym twice a week. He was an active committee member of Dowlais RFC and was church treasurer at St Illtyd’s Church in Dowlais.
On Christmas Eve last year, he was hit by a drunk driver in Merthyr Tydfil, as he was walking back from mass.
“The fact that the accident happened the way that it did felt like such a waste.
“He was just walking home from church, and then this person for no reason at all just hit him on the zebra crossing, and so it seemed like a series of terrible decisions that led to my father dying.
“It’s just that whereas Christmas normally would be something really good to look forward to, now there’s that sense of dread because you know what’s coming and who’s not going to be there.”
South Wales Police is urging people not to drive if they’ve consumed drugs or alcohol this Christmas.
There is no way to know how much you can drink and stay under the limit, since it can depend on your weight, age, metabolism, the amount of food you've eaten and other factors.
If you're found to be over the drink-drive limit, and/or driving while impaired by drugs, you can receive a maximum penalty of six months in prison, an unlimited fine and an automatic driving ban of at least one year.
If a driver kills someone while under the influence of alcohol, they can be charged with causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs (Section 3A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended by the Road Traffic Act 1991, section 3)).
“I think if anyone’s making the decision to drink and drive, or take drugs and drive, it’s just a no-win situation” added Mike.
“For the simple sake of a decision that’ll take seconds, you are possible going to ruin your own life as well as somebody else’s.”
The designated driver scheme, which is running for a second year, is promoting responsible drinking with road safety in mind.