Mother, who lost baby due to drunk driver, fights back

Teen alcohol use kills almost 6,000 people each year, more than all other illegal drugs combined.

To change that, Mothers Against Drunk Driving are designating April 21 as a day parents should talk to their teens about the dangers of underage drinking.

For Mari Guerra Avila, underage drinking is a lot more than a statistic.

On June 3, 2004 a drunk teenager behind the wheel ran head on into Avila's car.

I was crushed and pinned head to toe, Avila said.

At the time she was seven months pregnant, but because of the trauma she had to deliver her baby.

Monica Lynn was born that night.

My little girl was left in a vegetative state, she was blind, unable to control her body temperature and her skull was crushed, Avila said.

After a year and a half and 21 surgeries, baby Monica Lynn died.

Avila's grief has motivated her to become a strong advocate in fighting underage drinking.

She now has three children who she hopes can be a good influence on their peers.

We have kids over all the time and we talk about peer pressure and alcohol and drugs, Avila said.

The Hidalgo County Commissioner TMs Court has approved April 21 as Power Talk 21 day.

A day set aside for parents to help put an end to underage drinking.

"The worst thing we can do is ignore that we have a problem, MADD Youth Program Advisory Chair Azalia Reyes said.

"We cannot close our eyes or look the other way, Avila said. It is happening. It is something that is a problem here in the Rio Grande Valley."

In a recent MADD survey 74% of teens said their parents are the leading influence when it comes to alcohol.

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