Members of the Carpenter family, wearing photos of their deceased son...

Members of the Carpenter family, wearing photos of their deceased son Timothy, attend the annual "Walk Like MADD" event, hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, at Northwell Jones Beach Theater on Saturday. Credit: Jospeh Sperber

The grieving parents of a 22-year-old college student killed in a crash allegedly caused by a driver impaired by fentanyl were among a throng of voices pushing for change at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving fundraising walk  at Jones Beach on Saturday.

Wearing photos of their only son, Andrea and Tim Carpenter of Centereach spoke through tears about Timothy Carpenter’s life being cut short in March ahead of his college graduation.

“We miss him so much,” said Tim Carpenter, adding that Timothy was a biology major who was so close to receiving his diploma, Stony Brook University sent it to them.

Nearly 300 friends also turned up for Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz, the 14-year-old elite tennis players from Roslyn who were killed when  the car they were riding in was hit by an alleged wrong-way driver, Amandeep Singh.

“They were really loved and really young and just taken too soon,” said Roslyn resident Cristina Barish, 50. Barish was there with her husband, and their two children, who were friends with the boys. “Hopefully somebody thinks twice before getting behind the wheel.”

Singh was driving almost 100 mph with a blood alcohol content of 0.18%, more than twice the legal limit, and was also high on cocaine, according to authorities. 

The pain was etched on the faces of many in attendance who knew victims killed in crashes caused by intoxicated drivers. Andrea Rothbort tearfully recalled how a drunken driver killed both her parents, Barbara and Melvyn Glickman, while they crossed a Massapequa street in 2017.

Shawn Hirst, director of mission operations at MADD, called drunken and drugged collisions a “preventable tragedy” that has become an epidemic.

Timothy Carpenter died after Christopher Guzman, 40, allegedly crossed the double yellow centerline on Middle Country Road and collided into the Ford Escape that Timothy was traveling in, authorities previously said. Timothy’s uncle, Stacy Carpenter, 55, who was driving the Escape, was left in a wheelchair with multiple injuries. At the event, he said he wished he had died instead because he noted his nephew could have "done something good in the world."

Timothy’s mom said the family is struggling to cope.

“Our favorite part of the day is at night because we hope we might dream about him," Andrea Carpenter said.

Newsday previously reported that in 2021, alcohol-related crashes claimed 87 lives on Long Island, the most since 2015, when 106 people were killed. Preliminary data shows that 74 people were killed in such crashes last year.

MADD has been advocating for several laws, including one to lower the blood alcohol content legal limit of .08 to .05, because that’s when impairment occurs.

The group also hopes for the passage of legislation requiring all offenders to have cars with alcohol interlock systems. According to the CDC, these devices reduce driving while impaired repeat offenses by about 70%.

Christopher Clayton, the special counsel to the Suffolk County district attorney, told participants there are legislative blind spots that exist and must be fixed.

“The carnage on our highways is a clear indication that our laws do not work to effectively protect us,"  Clayton said.

Saturday's MADD campaign raised more than $160,000 to go toward victim services and educational programs. 

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