Family Marks Anniversary Of UCO Professor's Death At Hands Of DUI Driver

Monday, September 1st 2014, 5:33 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Labor Day weekend is historically a dangerous one when it comes to drunk driving accidents. So far this holiday weekend, police say at least three accidents were caused by drunk drivers.

Perhaps no one knows that better than a metro family who is marking one year since their mother was killed by an alleged repeat drunk driver.

Debra Reed was going northbound on Portland when a 20-year-old driver, who police say was drunk and going way too fast, crossed the center line and hit her. Reed, a mother, hairdresser and teacher at UCO with a passion for theatre hair and makeup was killed instantly. That was the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

“This last year has been extremely emotional and a roller coaster that I would hope that no family has to be on,” said her daughter, Melanie Berry.

3/26/2014 Related Story: Slain UCO Professor's Daughter Seeks Suspect's Apology

The girl driving the other car, Chandler Kardaras, had a previous DUI and because of that, she's now charged with second-degree murder and could face 10 years to life in prison. But her case is still making its way through the court system.

And although Berry has found peace in her mom's death, forgiveness is more difficult since she says Kardaras has yet to offer any apology.

“How can you do this to someone and have no care in the world about it? It's mindboggling,” she said.

Still, Berry is now turning her efforts to prevention.

“There's so many people out there that are willing to get you home or get you to a safe place. A grave is not a safe place and you're putting so many people at risk.”

Berry hopes to reinforce that with stiffer DUI laws. Right now she's working with her state representative to deal with underage drunk driving and restricting the driver's license of those who are arrested for a DUI.

“That's my end goal and if it takes me until the grave then I'll work on it that long,” she said.

Kardaras is scheduled to be back in court on Wednesday.

12/24/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma County DA Files Murder Charge Against Suspect Of Fatal DUI