COACHELLA, Calif. - Just four days before her 26th birthday, Celena Nava and her friend Julie Dominguez were hit by a truck in a suspected drunk driving crash. Nava died at the scene and Dominguez is recovering in the hospital. The driver, Jose Jimenez, pleaded not guilty last week and remains in jail.
"I only knew her a year. I felt sick to my stomach the day I got the news. I still feel sick, but I'm going to make sure she's not just another a statistic," said Nava's co-worker, Dr. Fargo Khoury at Eisenhower Medical Center.
Loved ones laid Nava to rest Monday. They teamed up on social media to honor her by creating a "Shutdown Drunk Driving" Facebook page.
"I've seen posts about first-time DUI offenders get five years with no outs. I've seen posts that it should be a crime to text a friend to avoid a checkpoint when you know they're driving drunk," said Khoury.
Khoury plans to take those ideas and put them on picket signs at the inaugural "Line Across Hwy 111" in December. The event will be held during National Impaired Driving Prevention month. It will pay respects to all DUI victims.
"There are so many people that need to be honored. Shutdown Drunk Driving reflects the impact she had," said Khoury.
Each year, nearly 800 people die and 23,621 are injured in alcohol-related crashes in California alone, according to MADD. Khoury said it's time to put the brakes on those statistics.
"We need to put our ideas together and see what sticks. Enough is enough. We've lost too many Celenas," said Khoury.
For more information on how you can get involved, "Like" Shutdown Drunk Driving on Facebook.
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