Dustin Ledford Memorial Bridge dedicated Sunday

By ALLEN MINCEY Banner Staff Writer
Posted 7/11/16

It was a celebration of the life of Dustin Ledford, but it also was a time to stress the need to get intoxicated drivers off the roadways.

The bridge on APD 40 at 20th Street was dedicated …

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Dustin Ledford Memorial Bridge dedicated Sunday

Posted

It was a celebration of the life of Dustin Ledford, but it also was a time to stress the need to get intoxicated drivers off the roadways.

The bridge on APD 40 at 20th Street was dedicated Sunday in memory of Ledford, who died at that intersection six years to the day Sunday. Signage was placed there to let motorists know they are crossing the Dustin Ledford Memorial Bridge. It was an emotional dedication for family and friends, many of whom could not hold back the tears when they began talking about Dustin.

Many people were in attendance at the dedication, including legislators who worked and continue to try to pass “Dustin’s Law.” Also at the ceremony were representatives for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and, of course, members of the Ledford family and Dustin’s father Danny.

“I don’t want what happened to Dustin to happen to anyone else,” said his mother Kim. “I want to be able to say ‘No More Victims.’”

Dustin Ledford died in a motor vehicle accident with a person who was reportedly intoxicated and on methamphetamines.

“This does not have to happen,” said Kate Ritchie of MADD. “We appreciate the Ledfords for wanting to see laws upgraded so those who drive while intoxicated are punished appropriately.”

State Rep. Kevin Brooks, who was in attendance at the dedication, said that Sheriff Eric Watson attempted to get “Dustin’s Law” through the state House and eventually Senate. Watson was a state representative before becoming sheriff.

“Together, we can find a way to stop this from happening,” Brooks said of those who drive while intoxicated.

Watson was also at the dedication, and he admitted “it is hard to say words of comfort,” but wanted the Ledfords to know he and his fellow officers are supportive of their efforts. In fact, Tony Cameron, former BCSO deputy, was the first officer to arrive on the scene, and he was also at the dedication.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said that “God’s miracle was working” on Sunday, as the skies were looking rainy but when the dedication began, no rain appeared.

“Dustin is looking down on us today, and I know he was wishing for nice weather, and we got it,” Kim Ledford said.

Others who were at the dedication included Matt O’Brien of the 10th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office, and state legislator Todd Gardenhire, along with Watson’s wife, Tennille, and Rowland’s wife, Sandra. Many were also there from Waterville Baptist Church.

“That is where we go to church, and we are honored to see their support for Dustin,” Kim Ledford said.

She said the family and others have staged golf tournaments that have raised around $30,000 for scholarships, and to show that the public is also against those who drive while intoxicated.

“People who drive this way will see this sign where the bridge has been dedicated, and we hope it will cause them to think about the dangers of driving drunk and the victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers,” Kim Ledford said.

Along with the signage for naming the bridge, there remain crosses that have been at the site of the bridge since the fatal accident.

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