Mom Makes Impassioned Plea To Stop Drunk Driving

One year after the horrific car crash that took away her husband and 15-month-old son, a Missouri mom has taken to Facebook with an important message: Don't drink and drive — and consider the lives you're putting at risk when you even think about doing it. Destiny Mantia hopes to prevent future drunk driving deaths from taking away any more loved ones, she says, and she's doing so by sharing her own painful story for all to see. So far, it seems to be working: Mantia's Sept. 20 Facebook post, which includes heartbreaking photos of the happy family before the crash, the tragic accident scene right after, and the graves she now visits, has now gone viral, gaining almost 50,000 shares in just five days.

As for the day it all happened, it started off like any other, Mantia recalls in her post. Her husband, Corey, went to work, while she stayed at home with 15-month-old Parker. Later in the day, the family headed out together for an appointment. "Little did we know in a few short minutes everything would change," she writes. "We would no longer get to live our future together. Any dreams we had would no longer happen together. We wouldn't get to purchase our first house together, we wouldn't get to take Parker for his first hair cut, his first day at school, and our family would never grow. This would be it."

According to Mantia, the family collided nearly head-on with a speeding drunk driver. Parker was killed immediately, while Mantia and her husband had to be air-lifted from the scene. Twenty-four hours later, Corey died, too. As Mantia writes in her Facebook post, the person she once was also died that day. But she points out that this tragedy could have been easily prevented if someone had simply stopped the driver before he got behind the wheel.

"You can save someone's life too!" she writes. "Don't allow your friends and family drink and drive. Don't share DUI checkpoints. Be an advocate! Stand up with me! Let's stop this. One is too many. DONT DRINK AND DRIVE!"

Mantia has received an outpouring of support for her post, which has gained 4,600 comments (and counting) so far. Many share condolences for the loss of her family, while others mention that they, too have lost loved ones to drunk driving. Still more lament fact that America can't seem to solve its drunk driving problem. And when you consider the alarming drunk driving stats, it's pretty clear we need to act fast. Here are some of the most sobering statistics, according to MADD:

A drunk driving accident injures someone every two minutes.

Fifty to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.

The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before they're ever arrested.

The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21- to 25-year-olds (23.4 percent).

Drunk driving costs the U.S. a whopping $199 billion each year. (Just think about that for a second.)

About two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving-related accident in their lifetime.

In 2012, 29.1 million people admitted they had driven under the influence of alcohol at least once. (That's more people than there are living in Texas.)

Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.

Image: Destiny Mantia/Facebook; Pictures of Money, Matt Lemon, Kaysha, Carmen Shields, DeusXFlorida, Julianne, Jen Son/Flickr