The families of two local drunk driving victims have dedicated their lives to stopping drunk driving. As YNN's Candace Hopkins reports, they use kickball to get their message across.
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- "I wish Bill was still here, while this event is great, it shouldn't have to be done, people should know better than to get behind the wheel when they've had something to drink," said Maria Leaf, sister of drunk driving victim.
"My daughter was ejected and killed. I've lost everything, grandchildren, high school graduation, college graduation," said Tracy Reynolds, mother of drunk driving victim.
Two local families have been hit by similar tragedy after losing loved ones to a drunk driver. Bill Leaf, a Syracuse television reporter, was killed in 2006 when a drunk driver hit him head on while he was driving on I-81.
Samantha Reynolds was killed at age 14 in 2008 while her family was driving to vacation in Disney World. n her family was driving to vacation in South Carolina.
Now, both families have made it their mission to end drunk driving. Every year the Bill Leaf Kickball Tournament raises money for scholarships in honor of the victims.
"As ironic as it is, both of our accidents did happen in the same nature, so we really relate to what each other go through, and I'm really deeply honored to be apart of that," said Reynolds.
On Saturday morning, hundreds of people gathered to remember Bill and Samantha while playing kickball. There were 24 teams made up of friends, family, and local media outlets, including YNN.
This year marked the eighth year for the tournament. However, this year was slightly different. One month ago, Matthew Benedict was released from prison. He was convicted for Leaf's death, and served eight years.
The Leaf family said his sentence was not long enough.
"You take out innocent lives, in essence, the person who drives drunk should be the one who loses their life, not an innocent person, and that's how I've always felt, why did it have to be Bill, why didn't the other person lose their life," questioned Leaf.
The tournament almost got rescheduled, after Benedict was initially set to be released on the day of the event.
"I had thought about maybe we should move this tournament, maybe it's not the right day, but then everybody was like 'no, we're gonna leave it as it is', we're not going to let this influence that."
Now, both families said the path to healing is an endless road, but hope to spare others from the same pain.