PHOENIX, AZ — A Valley mom, who's made it her mission to educate people about the dangers of drinking and driving, has now lost a loved one of her own.
In 2001, Cari Fonseca says her son Brandon was the drunk driver in a crash that killed his best friend.
Brandon suffered a traumatic brain injury, and Fonseca has since spent every day caring for him.
"I had to shower him. I had to transfer him from his bed to his wheel chair. I had to do everything for him," Fonseca said. "He's been my partner in life basically."
The two would travel to schools across the Valley, teaching others about the life altering effects of drinking and driving.
But last week, 17 years after the crash, Fonseca says Brandon died after suffering from a respiratory virus
Through the heartbreak, Fonseca says she'll continue her mission to prevent more lives from being lost.
"It affects people you don't even know," Fonseca said. "Our story has touched thousands of lives just by us going out and sharing it. I know for a fact that he's looking down from heaven right now saying, 'Good job, mom.'"
For information on Brandon's memorial and The Next Step Foundation, an organization created to educate others about the dangers of drunk driving, visit The Next Step Foundation website.
The family has also set up a
to help pay for medical and funeral expenses.