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Father of 7-year-old Killed by Drunk Driver Speaks to Students

The father of 7-year-old Donovan Maldonado, who was killed by a drunk driver last year, spoke to Clovis West High School students about the dangers of drinking and driving.
The father of a 7-year-old boy who was killed last year by a drunk driver spoke to Clovis West High School students Tuesday about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Jesse Maldonado's son Donovan was killed in July of 2012 when a drunk driver struck the family while they crossed Shepherd Avenue between Milbrook and Perrin Avenues in a pedestrian walkway in northeast Fresno.

"I can move forward by trying to help others hopefully not have to be in my situation, and have to live the pain that I live on a daily basis and that my family lives on a daily basis," Maldonado said.

Donovan was one of the more than 10,000 people in the U.S. who died last year because someone chose to drive drunk, according to the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

That message hit close to home for Clovis West students, as they participated in the Every 15 Minutes program.

"Donovan was part of our community-- went to Liberty elementary that feeds into our school. A lot of these kids are his neighbors; they're the family and friends. So it was extremely emotional for them to hear that story," said Danny Munester, activities director at Clovis West.

The program is put on by state and federal funds and is a community effort that includes local law enforcement and emergency workers.

They hope to instill in teens a sense of responsibility and appreciation for life.

"These things are something that you can't take back. You don't get a do-over. Everybody does have a choice, and hopefully people make the right choices," Maldonado said.

The crash that took Donovan's life happened up the street from Clovis West.

The City of Fresno has since constructed an underpass so that pedestrians no longer have to intersect the roadway to cross the street. The underpass project had been planned before the July 2012 DUI crash, said Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand, whose district includes the area where crash happened.
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