Darcie Hutchinson was on her way to Walgreens to get some medicine for a headache. On her way she came to a four way intersection. There, she stopped, looked both ways then pulled out. As she made her way across the intersection a Ford F-250 with a snow plow on the front smashed into the side of Darcie’s car, sending her and the car into a light pole. That is as far as Darcie would get.
It was that night, September 13, 1996 about 7:13 p.m. in Uncasville, Connecticut where Darcie spent her last moments alive. Darcie was 21 years old and engaged to be married. Nicole Hutchinson, who is a resident of Holly Springs, and is also Darcie’s sister, still remembers the fun, loving person that Darcie was. “She was the kindest kid,” Nicole said. “She never met a stranger. She would drop everything to help someone at all costs.”
With a life full of possibilities ahead of her, Darcie’s life was taken away from her because one person made a bad choice. Robert A. Milefski, the operator of the Ford pick-up truck was a repeat drunk driver. His blood alcohol content that night was .207, twice the legal limit in Connecticut.
“Angry,” Nicole said. “I was livid when I found out that he was a repeat offender and he still had his license.”
Not only did Milefski still have his license but he also worked for the State of Connecticut plowing their streets in the winter. “How could a court system let this continue to happen,” Nicole said. “Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy to wake people up.”
With the Hutchinson family weighed down with the loss of a loved one, the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) organization, a non-profit organization designed to fight against drunk driving, was there to help. “They helped us to maneuver through the court system and keep us in the loop as to what was going on,” Nicole said.
With MADD’s help more than 100 letters were written on Darcie’s behalf and more than 25 people came to support the Hutchinson family in court. A senator from Connecticut also spoke about the drunken driving laws and how to tighten them up.
When the trial ended Milefski was sentenced to only five years in prison for manslaughter with a motor vehicle and intoxicated while driving.
Nicole realized how important MADD was in supporting her family in the courtroom. Ever since then Nicole has been raising awareness and donations for MADD in honor of her sister.
On April 14, Nicole will continue that awareness once again, along with her youth soccer team, the Walking Wildcats, when she will participate in the Walk Like MADD in Raleigh. “I walk in memory. I walk for awareness. I walk for people I have not met yet and those who I have met along this journey,” Nicole said. The walk is to help raise money for the organization and raise awareness about drunk driving.
When asked what she hopes people will learn from the walk, Nicole stated, “Life is about choices. Every choice, every decision we make has a consequence. A man sitting at happy hour one Friday night made the choice to drink too much. He then chose to get into his truck and attempt to drive himself home. A bartender made a choice to let him stumble out of his bar and not call him a cab. People sat around the bar and knowing he was drunk let him walk away. The man’s choice then led him to kill an innocent victim. The choices and actions of a man that I had never met changed my world and that of my family forever. He could have made a better choice. This is why I walk, it is my choice.”
As for the impact that Darcie has made on Nicole’s life, it is quite obvious. “She helps me give back,” Nicole said. “She has made me a better person, a more patient person.”
Nicole is also a victim assistant for MADD where she helps support families that have lost a loved one in a drunken driving crash.
The walk will be held on North Carolina State University’s Centennial campus.
To learn more about the walk you can visit: http://support.madd.org/site/TR/WalkLikeMADD/WalkLikeMADDwlm_?px=1305783&pg=personal&fr_id=2970.