Mother on a mission to stop drunk driver - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mother on a mission to stop drunk driver

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October 14, 2005

A man convicted in a deadly drunken driving wreck was released from prison in June.  He's back in jail charged with DUI again. Thomas Bass pleaded guilty in 1999 to nine charges in a crash that killed a Lee County teenager. The victim's mother won't stop until Bass stays behind bars.

On a wall at the Victim Witness Assistance office, dozens of pictures serve as reminders of the many victims of violent deaths. Many of the deaths are due to drunk drivers. "I think it's the most preventable crime there is. All people have to do is don't drink and drive," says Victim Witness Assistance Director Sybil Collins.

Although one picture is missing from the wall, Director Sybil Collins remembers one victim very clearly. "I remember it very well and it was really a big tragedy," says Collins. In 1999, 15-year-old Christopher Brown was riding his bike with his best friend in Lee County when he was struck by a drunk driver. "He left him and drove home and his bicycle was found underneath his car when the police got there," says Collins.

Thomas Bass was sentenced to 20 years and served six. Christopher's mother Tammy Brown visited Bass about a month before his release in June. "He was extremely sorry for what he had done and you know what? I believed him," says Brown. She also forgave him but can't believe that Bass is under arrest again for driving under the influence.

"Unbelievable was absolutely my first reaction and my second thought was to my son Christopher, that was a slap in the face," says Brown. Brown says she will now do what she can to make sure no other children are harmed. "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this boy goes underneath the jail this time," says Brown. She wants to ensure that justice is served for Christopher who she thinks of everyday. "Absolutely, will always from now until never," says Brown.

Now she's on a mission to make sure no new pictures are placed on the wall of victims. As of Friday, Bass was still in the Lee County Jail. He faces charges of posession of cocaine and marijuana, failure to maintain lane and driving under the influence of alcohol which is a felony.

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