Last year, 955 Texans were killed by drunk drivers. But the statistics alone don’t tell the whole story.
For the Stidman family of Richmond, it’s not about numbers.
When you talk about the Stidmans, you’re talking about a father and a son. And the only reason Dwayne Stidman is walking today is because of his son David, a corporal in the Marine Corps.
On his motorcycle, three months ago, Dwayne Stidman was blindsided by an allegedly drunk driver.
“After he hit me,” remember Dwayne, “he pulled on into his house and walked inside and left me on the side of the road.”
He suffered couple of broken legs and spent weeks in a wheelchair.
But Dwayne was nursed back to his feet by his 23-year old son, back from three tours in two war zones.
From Dwayne, after all, David had gotten his love of fishing and motorcycling.
From David, now, Dwayne got the motivation to stand once again.
“You just want to be able to walk with your son,” says Dwayne Stidman. “So I promised him I'd be walking by the week that he was killed.”
David Stidman was killed on his own motorcycle, last week. The bike was pushed hundreds of feet into a guard rail.
At fault? Another drunk driver, say police; a fellow with two prior DWIs.
“Those are the things that anger you as much if not more than his death,” says Dwayne, “because his death was avoidable.”
On Tuesday, Dwayne Stidman bought his son the Harley he’d always wanted.
Another Marine will ride it in Thursday’s funeral procession.
The urn containing David Stidman’s ashes is going a different way: inside the velvet-lined trunk of Dwayne’s Honda Gold Wing.
“We have a place of honor for him to ride, so we'll go for one last motorcycle ride together.”
After the eulogies, Dwayne and David are bound for the water’s edge.
And Dwayne will return, alone.
“I will take him for his last fishing trip and say my goodbyes to him.”
And then, Dwayne – a former marine himself – has a new mission: working to change state law to provide mandatory stiffer DWI penalties for repeat offenders.