A grieving Maurice mother who lost her step-daughter in a drunk driving incident earlier this year made an emotional plea on social media: please don't drink and drive.

Kristi Baumgardner made the post on the 2-month anniversary of the death of her step-daughter, Ramsie Kate Baumgardner, who was to graduate from North Vermilion this year.

Ramsie was killed in a head-on crash on Louisiana Highway 167 near Abbeville when a drunk driver, Brandon Isaac of Carencro, entered the divided highway driving in the wrong direction.

In her post, Ramsie's step-mom first talks about what it has been like for her and her family after losing Ramsie in the crash.

The elder Baumgardner talks about the sleepless nights and forgetful days, the feeling of being lost and being in a twilight zone, of sorts. She talks about how her family's world was shattered.

2 months of excruciating heartache. 2 months of sleepless nights & forgetful days. 2 months of trying to be strong while our other 2 daughters & our 2 sons take their turn either falling apart or totally shutting down. 2 months of mad panic every time the phone rings. 2 months of pushing thru the days feeling lost, like we’re walking around in a twilight zone. In a nutshell, it’s been 2 months since our entire world was shattered & completely turned upside down. - Kristi Baumgardner, via Facebook

Ramsie was killed when Isaac made the decision to drive after he had been drinking. Ramsie's parents, after rolling through what I am sure was a flood of different emotions,  made the decision to forgive Isaac for his actions.

Baumgardner says that the decision to forgive Isaac came after realizing that being angry or having hate for him would not bring Ramsie back. Being angry or having hate would only compound the continued misery the parents are feeling.

I can not speak for everyone, but I can speak for Brian & I when I say that we have chosen to forgive. Most of you already knew that. That was our decision to make. NO ONE ELSE’s & we honestly aren’t interested in anyone’s opinion concerning it. Being angry would only add to the misery that we have to face daily & at the end of each day, the outcome of that night remains the same. - Kristi Baumgardner, via Facebook

The decision to forgive Isaac, I would think, took a huge burden off of Bryan and Kristi Baumgardner, and I commend them for looking at him as a man who made a mistake. A mistake that affected 2 families.

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Baumgardner Family
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In the words of Kristi, he was "a good person, a hard worker and a great father."

Ramsie is still gone & another beautiful 6 year old is now without her father that she absolutely adored. He made a mistake. He was a good person, a hard worker and a great father. Two families are desperately trying to cope with their loss, not just one.

Baumgardner's post goes on to talk about the life we live here in south Louisiana, and how that lifestyle frequently revolves around alcohol and how many don't think twice about driving after drinking.

It’s also no secret that many have gotten behind the wheel after having those drinks. Happens all the time. Every single day someone does it. How many of you can stop reading for a second & think to yourself “well I’ve NEVER done that” and are actually being completely honest?

 

"Every single day someone does it."

It's a lifestyle that needs to change, and Baumgardner knows that's not likely to happen. She is asking, though, for people to put more thought into having a few drinks.

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If one can't limit the amount they drink, then they should have the foresight to make certain that they don't drive after they have been drinking.

I’m not delusional. Nothing we post or say is ever going to put an end to drinking & driving. That’s been a losing battle for years. But I will not stop trying to deter people & reminding them of the devastating consequences of one wrong decision.

 

Baumgardner's loss, her total devastation, comes out clearly in her words. So does her sincerity in asking others to not make the same mistake as Isaac. The decision to drink and drive not only has the potential to affect your life through fines/imprisonment/public humiliation/injury/death, but it also has the potential to affect dozens of other lives: the lives of anyone you injure or kill due to your selfishness. The lives of their families. The lives of their friends.

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The timing for Baumgardner's post is perfect, and that was intentional: it's North Vermilion's prom this weekend.

I chose this week to post because our school will celebrate their Junior/Senior prom this weekend as well as probably many other schools. Ramsie’s brother will go to his prom without her there. They were both supposed to be doing this together. We will attend with only one of our children there. That’s not how it was supposed be. This crushes us. There’s been enough loss, so please, let’s make it our mission to spare any other families from the same heartache.

 

Please: for your sake, for the sake of your family, and for the sake of anyone you may affect with your decisions, designate a driver. Get an Uber or Lyft. Stay put. Have someone hide your keys. Spare lives, heartache, and the futures of those around you.

Don't drink and drive.

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