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Local family shares story of son's death as a reminder to not drink and drive

Grave of Tyler Scott Cranfill, 12-year-old killed by a drunk driver in 2003
Posted at 6:59 PM, Sep 04, 2023

COPPERAS COVE, Texas — As folks gathered to celebrate Labor Day, law enforcement was reminding them of the dangers that come with drinking and driving.

The cost of intoxicated driving can be much worse than a night in jail and some fines, and the risk of that goes way up on a holiday weekend.

According to TxDOT, over 960 people died due to alcohol related crashes in 2021 alone, and over 2,000 were seriously injured.

The Killeen Police Department says the rate of those accidents increases on holidays.

”Drinking and driving is always extremely hazardous,” said Lt. Frank Plowick with the Killeen Police Department's Traffic Unit.

“Impaired drivers typically don’t even realize the amount of their impairment until it’s way too late and they’ve already been involved in some form of accident.”

Sometimes those avoidable accidents claim a life like that of 12-year-old Tyler Scott Cranfill, who died when his family's car was hit by a drunk driver in 2003.

”From the police reports, it was said that he hit us head-on at 93 miles per hour, and the speed limit was 70-mph,” said Tyler’s mother, Laura Scott, who survived the crash.

“They say I was going 72 miles per hour and nobody braked. I don’t remember seeing him coming or anything about it.”

They were driving through Tennessee after visiting family in Indiana when one person’s decision to drink and drive cost the life of her son, and left her and her daughter seriously injured.

These are injuries that Scott is still suffering from today.

”I almost died — my legs were almost amputated,” Scott said.

“They sent me to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville for orthopedic surgeons to first, save my life, and second, save my legs.”

Scott has had regular surgeries over the years, and both her and her daughter still suffer from the trauma 20 years later.

”When she went to the ER, she had PTSD from going to the ER — flashbacks from when she was 10,” Scott said.

In an instant, their family lost a son and brother, and gained lifelong trauma.

That’s why Scott has a message for anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel after drinking.

”It’s just not worth the risk,” Scott said.

“You need to have a designated driver, and that’s not the one who has the least amount to drink, that’s the one that has nothing to drink.”

Scott was able to convince MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to add two more crosses next to her son’s memorial — one for the drunk driver, and one for the passenger of that vehicle who also lost their life in that accident.