FESTUS, Mo – On April 13, Cordell Williams, Lacey Newton, and their newborn baby were killed in an alleged impaired driving crash on Highway 30. Cordell and Lacey leave behind two young children and a family who mourns their loss.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been a support system for the family since the accident. Monday, August 2, was Bentley Williams’ fifth birthday, and since it would be his first birthday without his parents, they wanted to make it a celebration he would never forget.
Bentley’s grandmother, now guardian, Cecilia Williams says Bentley told her she wanted to be a police officer since he was 2-years-old. MADD organized a driveby parade of first responders from Festus Police and Fire, Jefferson County, and Byrnes Mill Police Departments, as well as troops from the Missouri State Highway Patrol for his birthday.
Family and friends met at Larry G. Crites Memorial Park in Festus to watch and wave as the officers drove by with their lights flashing, horns blowing, and sirens sounding. The parade circled back around and then parked so Bentley, his 2-year-old brother Mason, and their friends could talk to officers and sit in police cars. Officers passed out hats, badges, and frisbees.
Some of the officers present worked the accident that killed Bentley’s family. Corporal Steve Olson of the Festus Police Department felt this parade was just a small gesture to show these two young boys how much the community cares.
“We’re just happy that we could make his day. He’s aspiring to be a police officer. It was nice to show the light of police in this fashion … we’re very happy to be apart of,” Olson said.
Deborah Weinstein is a MADD volunteer who lost her son after he was hit by a drunk driver nine years ago. She has helped take care of his 9-year-old daughter and empathizes with the Williams’ situation. She helped organize the parade.
“Holidays. Birthdays. Celebrations. Family events. All of us know there’s someone missing. That’s why we all need to be together,” she said. “That’s why we all need to support each other and try to make it as happy an affair as we can,” she shared.
Cecilia Williams knows a parade wont take away the pain of losing their parents, but she was happy their family could take a breath and just celebrate Bentley on his birthday without the weight of their loss on their shoulders.
“We know that mommy, daddy, and baby brother’s spirit is always with us,” Williams continued, “and that is one of the important things that we make sure to let him know every day.”
After the accident, Williams has become active in pushing for new DWI legislation. She has been working with legislators to pass Bentley’s Law which will be presented to the House in January. Bentley’s Law would hold drivers under the influence financially accountable for victims and their families in addition to jail time served.