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Mom's heartbreaking video spreads awareness about drunk driving: 'Had an empty nest overnight'

The family wants to continue posting videos about their loved ones whose lives were claimed by the accident. 'We don't want them to be forgotten,' said Katie.

Mom's heartbreaking video spreads awareness about drunk driving: 'Had an empty nest overnight'
Cover Image Source: Facebook/ Dawn Simmons

The Simmons family is still bearing the devastating consequences of drunk driving. A TikTok video shared by the family on the @katiederouen1 profile shows how their perfectly normal life was turned upside down overnight by one unbearable tragedy.

Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1
Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1

The video starts with the overlay text, "Watch how a drunk driver changed our lives in an instant." The mom, Dawn Simmons, can be seen hugging her son Christopher while reclining on a chair and then her daughter Lindy poses with her. The mother can also be seen shopping with her youngest daughter Kamryn at Walmart.

The video then cuts to siren lights and the headline, "Driver who killed La. siblings was 3 times over the legal limit for alcohol, authorities say." The heartbreaking video has gained over 33 million views since being posted and is captioned, "Grief is love with nowhere to go. On December 17, 2021, at 9:00 pm, our lives were full of joy and normalcy. At 9:01, that was gone. The decision of one man changed so many lives. He can't take it back. It's permanent. What could be worth this? Three lives were stolen and countless others forever changed."

Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1
Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1

The family's vehicle was hit by a pickup truck. Lindy, Christopher and Kamryn died in the accident. Dawn and Christopher's girlfriend, Marissa, were also in the car and were seriously injured but survived the crash. The driver, John Lundy, also died on the spot. The family was looking forward to celebrating Christmas together. Lindy was home from college and Christopher and Kamryn had a half-day at school the day the incident happened. The mother had taken time off from work to attend her son's basketball game in Monroe, Louisiana. She enjoyed cheering for him.

Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1
Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1

Dawn told TODAY, "After the game, the kids were hungry and so we stopped at Subway to eat. That's the last thing I remember. I had an empty nest overnight." The mom shared that her late children's bedrooms have remained untouched since their death, just as they left them. Talking about Lindy, she said she had gotten her dream job as a campus photographer at Nicholls State University, where she was a sophomore. 

Image Source: TikTok/ @katiederouen1
Image Source: TikTok/@katiederouen1

According to the mother, Christopher, a star athlete, was supposed to be his class valedictorian. He would have graduated high school this year. Kamryn died just 41 days before her 16th birthday. Dawn said, "She was counting down the days to get her driver's license. She was so excited. We spent so much time in the car practicing. She would put her little playlist in and she'd sing and sing and sing. Kamryn had the most beautiful voice." Dawn and her husband, Ray Simmons, are parents to six more children: Ren, Katie, Shea, Rhett, Carly and Kyle.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Katie Joy DeRouen (@katiederouen)


The mother calls her grief "exhausting" and relentless. "I'll see the foods I used to buy for them—and that will trigger a memory. Everywhere I go, there are reminders of them," she said. She and her daughter Katie have started a non-profit called Simmons3 in memory of their lost loved ones. They go to schools and share their story. "You can hear a pin drop in those auditoriums," Katie said. "These kids see themselves in Christopher, Lindy and Kamryn. That's what makes it so impactful."

"The family we had—that family of mom, dad, and nine kids—that family died," Dawn said. "No one else should have to experience this pain."


The mom and daughter want to continue posting videos about Simmons3. "We don't want them to be forgotten," said Katie. "What happened was senseless, selfish and preventable. If it weren't for my faith, I don't think I'd be able to survive this."

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