Prosecutor: Don’t forget the lesson of this drunk-driving death
Killed by a drunk driver at 23 years old along with her unborn child, Kimberly Smith Ames was the face of a New Jersey-wide DWI awareness campaign years ago.
This week — the same week Ames would have turned 45 years old — the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office has relaunched the campaign to introduce the tragic story to a new generation and hopefully deter individuals from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
New signage and billboards feature a photo of Kimberly in her wedding dress. When she was killed in October 1998, in her hometown of Beachwood, Smith was three months pregnant with her first child.
"She was a daughter, she was a sister, but she never got the chance to be a mother," said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, who was friend's with Smith's older brother and sister, and received support from Smith's family to revive the campaign.
Billboards were created in conjunction with the Ocean County Traffic Safety Officer's Association as well.
"There are so many ways for you to get from point A to point B without getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle," Billhimer said. "I would just make sure that you use a ride-share service, you call a friend or you call a loved one, and get home safe."
The man responsible for Kimberly's death was sentenced to 13 years in prison, according to a MyCentralJersey report. In the report, Smith's father described the driver as "on the run," with a "criminal record a mile long." The driver reportedly had no license or insurance.
Businesses interested in signage as part of the campaign can reach out to OCPO's Bryan Huntenburg at 732-929-2027.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.