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'My son no longer had a father': Local woman reflects on dangers of holiday drinking & driving

Myra Constable & husband wedding photo
Posted at 6:28 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 08:29:27-05

BRYAN, Texas — They say a picture lasts a lifetime.

“I don't feel the same initial pain that I felt in the very beginning, but it really never gets easier,” said Myra Constable, as she thought back to Dec. 4, 1999. The day her husband died.

For Myra Constable, pictures of her late husband are all she has to remember him.

Myra Constable & husband wedding photo

“At every event, at every holiday, at every birthday, at every… graduation,” she said, “the major things that he should be a part of, it always brings it back to someone is missing.”

Her husband was 31 years old and sold health insurance.

One weekend, after selling a big policy to someone at the state, he joined his colleagues to celebrate by grabbing a bite to eat and drinking champagne at a different Austin night club until the early hours of the morning.

“The person that was with my husband was concerned about him driving home,” she said.

Myra said the person concerned questioned her husband who eventually said he was OK to drive.

That’s when he put the keys in his car's ignition and took to the road.

He never made it home that Saturday night.

“I found out through his autopsy that he was twice the legal limit,” she said. “He lost control of his car on the way home at a sharp turn and his car became airborne and it flew over a chain link fence and it came to a rest in this woman's backyard.”

Constable's car

A short journey that changed Myra’s life forever.

“I lost my husband and I lost our family of three,” she said, with tears filling her eyes. “All of the sudden, on that day I became a widow, a single parent and my son no longer had a father.”

Myra’s husband’s story is a tragedy experts say happens all too often here in Texas.

“If you're going to drink, ensure that you have a plan to ensure that you can get where you need to go in a safe manner,” said Jake Smith, a public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation.

According to Smith, last year there were more than 23,000 alcohol-related crashes, including 2,462 of those happening during the holiday season, from Dec. 1, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2021.

Within those 23,000 crashes, nearly a thousand were fatal.

All of which, Smith said, are preventable.

“These plans are incredibly important because they ensure that you get home safely and they ensure that you're not endangering others if you decide to drive while impaired,” Smith said.

It’s advice that could have saved Myra’s husband’s life on that December night and allowed him to still be here today, celebrating Christmas with his wife and now 23, almost 24-year-old son.

“We're lucky he didn't hurt anyone else, he did just hurt himself, but he hurt a number of people when he died that night,” Myra said.

Myra now works as a program specialist at Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and serves under the Take the Wheel Grant provided by the Texas Department of Transportation.

She spends her days sharing her story and spreads awareness of the severity of driving while under the influence.

Law enforcement says it’s best to remain where you are or call for help if you need a ride home if you’re intoxicated.