Parents of drunken driving victims seek to help others - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Parents of drunken driving victims seek to help others

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(Family photos) (Family photos)
MANCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -

It's been nearly a year since two brothers were killed when the car they were in crashed in East Hartford. According to police, the driver had been racing another car.

Two men were charged.

As members of the family said they were trying to move on, they wanted other teens to not make the same mistake.

"It's emotional, it hurts," said Robert Swain Sr., the father. "It still hurts."

Robert Swain Jr., 18, and La'Andrew Evans-Swain, 16, went to a party together on July 14, 2013 and left with two other friends.

Police said the driver, 18-year-old Eric Watson, had been drinking and told them he was speeding up to 70 miles per hour on Forest Street in East Hartford. Watson lost control and flipped the car into a front yard.

Watson was charged with manslaughter for both brothers' deaths.

They were Robert Swain Sr.'s only children.

"I don't know where they would have been now," he told Eyewitness News. "I think about what they would have been doing now. We would have been seeing Andrew graduate, and Robert in college."

Wednesday night, he and Evans-Swain's mother went to Manchester High School's graduation. They accepted the 16-year-old's diploma on his behalf.

"Just sitting there, and I just kept thinking ‘boy it would be really wonderful to see him in his actual cap and gown,'" said Debra Evans, Evans-Swain's mother.

Evans said she created a scholarship in her son's name. This year, it helped a graduating senior become a firefighter.

"He always wanted people to have something, and if they didn't have enough, he would want them to have part of what he had," she said. "So in remembrance of him, and the type of person he is, I wanted to create this."

It was just one way the family was trying to move forward. On Saturday, they said they were going to participate in the Waynes Walk in Stratford. Waynes Walk is an organization that helps families with victims of drunken drivers. The event starts at 9 a.m.

"People like Robert and Debra have had these bills looming over them in addition to their grief," said Darin Bershefsky, with The Wayne's Walk Foundation. "And to be able to write a check and take away just a little bit of that stress and pain away from them makes us feel really good about what we're doing."

For Robert Swain Sr., he said the walk would bring together other people facing tragedies like his. It may help them find a way to heal.

"I know I'm not the only one that's going through this," he said. "And being around people that have a story just like mine, it helps."

For more information on the Waynes Walk, click here.

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