The parents of a young mother killed in a violent road rage tragedy were recognized last week for their efforts to bring awareness to aggressive driving.
Rep. Kevin Tanner presented an official state resolution to Donna and Tony Gerrish during Thursday's meeting of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.
Their daughter, 20-year-old Chelsea Gerrish, died from injuries sustained in a 2013 road rage car crash in Hall County. The man responsible also died in the crash, so no one was prosecuted in the case.
"This really lit a fire under Donna and Tony and their entire family, and they've campaigned not only in Georgia, but all across the country to get more awareness about the dangers of aggressive driving," Tanner said.
From speaking at school assemblies and holding events that promote safe driving, to taking the issue to the state General Assembly in an effort to create greater penalties for aggressive drivers, the family continues to share their daughter's story.
"We're just hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of road rage and the consequences of people's actions who get behind the wheel and drive with road rage," Donna Gerrish said. "Obviously, it kills."
Through their work, they also learned that there were no references to aggressive driving in Georgia's test to obtain a driver's license.
"They advocated that the state change that and the state department of motor vehicles did so, and they've now actually started including questions related to aggressive driving," Tanner said. "[Tony and Donna Gerrish have] taken a terrible situation, a loss of their child, a beautiful young lady with a lot of potential, and turned that into a positive as they continue to promote this effort to try to save other lives I this area."
Holding back tears, the couple thanked all who have supported them in honoring their daughter's memory.
"I'd like to thank everybody. It really did get a lot of publicity that came from it. I want to thank everyone that kept pushing. Even strangers came out from seeing posters," Tony Gerrish said.
His wife added: "We just want the public to know what can happen when you get behind the wheel and drive angry or you're drinking. Just take a minute and breathe and think about what you're doing and the lives that will be affected by your actions."