ST. LOUIS - The Illinois State Police said they suspect alcohol was a contributing factor in a wrong-way crash that killed a woman on Interstate 64 in Illinois Sunday morning.
A spokesman for the Illinois State Police said a 29-year-old man was driving east on westbound I-64 near N. Kingshighway at around 7 a.m. when the crash occurred. A 56-year-old St. Louis woman driving the other car was pronounced dead on the scene and had to be pulled from the car by police.
The woman has been identified as Lyn Chieng.
Linda Stacy lives just down the street from Lyn Chieng - they were neighbors for decades.
"Good person -- good soul you know good heart -- she would take anybody in or whatever she was a good really good person. I hate to hear that," Stacy said.
Another neighbor, who lives directly across the street, was outraged when he found out about the crash - and says there need to be harsher punishments for those who get caught drinking and driving.
"You now you hear people talking about drunk driving and you know you hear all that stuff going on but you still see people and hear people still doing it," Tony Brewer said.
The wrong-way driver — an O'Fallon, Illinois, man — was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
The spokesman said alcohol is suspected to be a contributing factor in the crash.
One Jefferson County mother said crashes like these are the reason she decided to become an advocate, now fighting for change.
Denise McGuire became a mother against drunk driving after losing her cousin to a drunk driver.
“It was absolute devastation, this crime is 100% preventable,” McGuire said.
McGuire said her cousin Jeff was born with spinal bifida which caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down but he was still able to drive. One day on his way home he was struck by a man who had been drinking.
National safety studies show in 2016, more than 10,000 people died in crashes due to drunk driving. It’s something McGuire said changed her life forever.
“I decided that I'm not going to sit back and let another family go through what we did,” McGuire said.
That’s why she took a stand and now teaches people why they should think before making a bad decision.
“I needed to get the word out there that is not acceptable this has to stop. Because life is just too short,” McGuire said.
For Jeff's life was too short, he fought for his life for two months in the hospital before dying one month after his 23rd birthday.
“Hold your babies closer, hold your mother, your aunts, your uncles, all your family closer because unfortunately you just don’t know what the next day is going to bring," she said.
It's been almost two decades since McGuire lost her cousin. But she still has not lost her passion to educate others and convince them to think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking.