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Memorial sign honors young couple and infant killed by convicted drugged driver

Posted: Dec 22, 2017 5:41 PM EST

Updated: Jan 05, 2018 5:48 PM EST

Reported by Forrest Sanders


A couple says their lives were forever changed by a drugged driver. Now, they're speaking to people about the dangers of being impaired behind the wheel.

With the state's help, they say their warnings can get out another way besides their speeches.

"We want to provide a voice for our loved ones and others who cannot be together today," said Joey Leonard, speaking to a room of people at Compassion Church in Waverly. "There are consequences for actions. Your choice affects everyone."

These speaking engagements are never easy for Joey Leonard and wife Tammy.

"I feel like God is really giving me the strength and the words to say," Tammy Leonard said.

Two years ago, their 19-year-old daughter, Kassidy, and her boyfriend, William Griggs, welcomed their child, Kimberlynn. Kassidy had big plans.

"She applied for cosmetology school," Tammy Leonard said. "It was just a few days after she was killed her acceptance letter came in the mail."

In October 2015, Kassidy, William and Kimberlynn, then 12-days-old, were traveling on Tennessee Route 13 in Erin.

"Three of our family members were killed instantly when their car was hit head-on by a drugged driver," said Joey Leonard, speaking to the crowd.

Earlier this year, the other driver, Benjamin Ray Franklin, was sentenced to 36 years in prison.

Friday, the Leonards joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Tennessee Highway Patrol as the Tennessee Department of Transportation unveiled a memorial sign for Kassidy, William and Kimberlynn that will go on Tennessee Route 13.

"Maybe someone will pass that sign and they'll think about whether they've had too much to drink," Joey Leonard said.

For their daughter, the Leonards said they'll continue speaking and raising Kassidy's 5-year-old son, Bradlee, who wasn't in the car that night.

"We miss her, and we know that we'll see her again some day," Joey Leonard said.

"Our stand on this is to help get the word out, help people like the man who killed our daughter, her boyfriend and our grand daughter," Tammy Leonard continued. "People tend to think drugs won't affect them if they don't do drugs. My daughter, her boyfriend, and obviously, my grand daughter did not do drugs, yet addiction took their lives."

The Leonards run a website for their efforts. Click here to learn more.

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