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Local mothers turning grief into change

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TUCSON - It has been 10 months since two local mothers lost their children in a car accident, now they're using their grief to inspire change.

Deborah Garcia and Julie Festerling lost their children, Paul and Caitlin when a driver rear-ended them, pushing them into oncoming traffic.

The families believe the driver was distracted, something the two mothers are fighting to bring awareness for.

Despite investigators looking at the possibility of distracted driving, the people who hit Paul and Caitlin never faced distracted driving charges. The mothers want to advocate against distracted driving.

"We decided to join up with Look! Save a Life because if we can help other families not have to face what our family has gone through then that is what we want to do," said Festerling.

Raising awareness, whether it's through community engagement or even advocating for raising the penalties for distracted driving are some of the things they would like to do.

"We just want to make sure people know, it's not a little thing, it kills people, it kills innocent people and it destroys families," said Garcia.

Having both of them on board boosts the local efforts of Look! Save a Life.

"It adds a level of credibility that everyone who is affiliated or has ever donated or has ever been involved to any capacity with Look! Save a life there's a reason," said Brendan Lyons, Executive Director of Look! Save a life.

It has been 10 months since they lost their children and they say it hasn't gotten any easier.

"I keep thinking she's on vacation and she's gonna walk through that front door any second but then she never does. So, it's really hard," said Festerling.

"It doesn't feel like 10 months, it feels like 10 minutes, and the thought of having to live the rest of my life without him hurts too much to even think about," said Garcia.

While both mother's continue to seek justice for their children they want to prevent other families from having to do the same.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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