Search the Carroll County community newspaper archives


>> Click here to search for stories published AFTER 2011

>> Use this search box to find stories published prior to 2011.
Note: All Words is a more strict search. Implied operator is "AND."
Ex: Charles Dickens"
From
subscriber services email print comment


(Enlarge) Phil and Cindy Mullikin of Manchester have turned the death of their daughter Catherine, shown in a photo from 12 years ago, into a crusade to curb drunken driving. Last year the couple founded Catherine’s Cause, which provides speakers for educational purposes to warn of the dangers of drinking and driving. ((Photo by Phil Grout))

Parties and socializing are as much a part of the holiday season as Santa and shopping.

Unfortunately, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a higher death toll from drunken driving is also a part of the holiday season.

From 2001 to 2005, an average of 36 fatalities occurred every day on America's roadways as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the NHTSA.

But that number increases to 45 per day during Christmas -- and jumps to 54 per day at New Year's.

Manchester residents Phil and Cindy Mullikin know those numbers all too well, and also know the horrific impact of drunken driving.

The day after Thanksgiving 1998, their daughter, Catherine, 20, was a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunken driver. Catherine died as a result of the accident.

Catherine was a 1996 graduate of North Carroll High School and was attending Carroll Community College. She wanted to be an elementary education teacher, according to her mom.

She was also involved in Sea Scouts, an educational boating-oriented program, where she advocated community service efforts. After her death, that organization created the Catherine A. Mullikin Sea Scout Volunteer of the Year Award in her name.

Phil Mullikin said the man who hit his daughter had been partying the day after Thanksgiving, and his alcohol level was found to be three times the legal limit.

After the shock, tears and sense of loss that the Mullikins felt at their daughter's death, their thoughts turned to activism to help spread the word about the danger -- and the victims -- of drunken driving.

"We aren't ready to give up the fight," said Cindy Mullikin. "If we can save one parent from going through what we've been through the past 10 years, then we've been successful."

The couple partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for several years, but last year decided to form their own nonprofit -- Catherine's Cause.

"We started out as volunteers for MADD, but then they left the county," said Phil Mullikin. "We felt there needed to be an organization in Carroll County dedicated to drunk driving awareness."

Catherine's Cause is volunteer driven, with a core of five people who spend much of their time speaking before local organizations about the tragedy that comes from the mix of drinking and driving.

The group raises a modest amount of funding -- to date, funds have gone toward advertising and creating posters and materials.

"We have five volunteers who never miss a beat. We hold court-ordered lectures for people convicted of drunk driving, we speak to students at local colleges, give lectures ... for kids who are already in trouble, and we speak to students enrolled in driver's education courses," Phil said.

Many lectures given by Catherine's Cause offer insights into drunken driving from speakers with personal experience.

There's the ex-Howard County cop who talks about how alcohol impairs the body; the female paramedic who was hit by a drunken driver years ago; and the Westminster City police officer who lost a sibling to a drunken driver.

The Mullikins speak at these events also, to impress upon thier audiences the danger of drunken driving -- and to share the story of their daughter.

Cautionary tale

Earlier this month, Catherine's Cause hosted a "Remembrance Ceremony" in Westminster for all those killed on Carroll County roads in the past year -- even those that didn't involve alcohol. Phil said there have been 19 fatalities on Carroll roads this past year.

About 50 people attended the ceremony, held at the Carroll County Non-Profit Center.

It was a moving experience for those who had lost loved ones, of course, but also for others affected by these tragedies as well.

"Almost all of the police departments in the county were present," Phil said. "We light a candle for each person who was killed in the past year, and a lot of times, the cops who were involved with investigating the crash will light the candles."

There's no coincidence that the ceremony occurred around the holidays. Besides being near the anniversary of Catherine Mullikin's death, it's also a key time to remind residents to be careful ... and sober.

The problem is an uphill battle. The Mullikins say many people simply don't understand how prevalent the problem is.

"Drunk driving hasn't stopped or slowed down," said Cindy. "There's still a fight to fight."

"We do court-ordered lectures every other month. We have close to 100 people in those sessions -- that's 100 people who have been convicted of drunk driving (in a 60-day period) in Carroll County," added Phil.

The people in those classes have already made one poor choice, but the Mullikins and their fellow volunteers get more encouraging responses when they have a chance to speak to teens in driver education classes -- before they make the choice to drink and get behind the wheel.

"I know we have an effect (in driver's education classes). I don't know how much we prevent, but I know we are getting through to the kids," Phil said.

"We don't go in there seeking sympathy for ourselves," he said, "Rather, we tell them how important they are to their parents.

"We can tell them what it's like as a parent to lose a child," he added. "Our focus is to prevent parents from going through what Cindy and I have gone through."

For more information on Catherine's Cause, visit the Web site at www.catherinescause.com or e-mail info@catherinescause.com. The mailing address is Carroll Nonprofit Center, c/o Catherine's Cause, Suite 203, 255 Clifton Blvd., Westminster, MD 21157.


user comments (0)


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic

The Baltimore Sun

Ravens

more

News

Maryland's Loh gets support from McNair's father, but alum Esiason calls for president's, athletic director's exit

Region

More Maryland news

Sports

More sports

Opinion

More opinion
  • Hogan and Jealous both say the other is misleading the public about pre-K. They're right, but that's beside the point.

    Hogan and Jealous both say the other is misleading the public about pre-K. They're right, but that's beside the point.

    Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign has done Marylanders a service by questioning Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous’ plan to fund universal pre-K by legalizing and taxing marijuana. It has served to clarify a couple of things. First, that Mr. Jealous, despite earlier flirtation with universal...

  • The left is tyrannical, not Trump

    The left is tyrannical, not Trump

    In the fever swamp of leftist thought across America, but primarily on the east and west coasts, President Donald Trump is little more than a tyrant in waiting, if not already in action. The supposed latest proof of this is the removal of John Brennan's security clearance and the news that others...

  • If there is hope for West Baltimore, it runs down Pennsylvania Avenue

    If there is hope for West Baltimore, it runs down Pennsylvania Avenue

    I can’t count the number of times well-meaning but unknowing people have warned me to “be careful” when I indicate that I’m going to West Baltimore. I generally laugh because they have no idea how varied and how complex West Baltimore is. One can quickly shift from the trepidatious — like what...

  • Trump's costly coal-fired revival

    Trump's costly coal-fired revival

    The Trump administration could scarcely have chosen a moment to appear more villainous than right now, in the closing month of a summer of rain and fire. With the record wildfires out west, flooding and other severe weather in the east and international concerns that the U.S. is ignoring the threat...

Video

More video

Business

More business

Entertainment

More entertainment
  • Baltimore's Atlas Restaurant Group to open two restaurants in D.C. hotel

    Baltimore's Atlas Restaurant Group to open two restaurants in D.C. hotel

    Baltimore’s Atlas Restaurant Group, owner of Tagliata, Azumi, the Bygone and others, will make its first foray into Washington, D.C., next spring with two restaurants in the forthcoming Moxy Hotel. The concepts have yet to be determined, but one will occupy the first two floors and courtyard of...

  • Asia Argento denies sexual assault, says payoff was former boyfriend Anthony Bourdain's idea

    Asia Argento denies sexual assault, says payoff was former boyfriend Anthony Bourdain's idea

    Asia Argento said Tuesday that she never had "any sexual relationship" with a man who has accused her of molesting him when he was a minor, and that her former boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain, urged her to agree to a financial settlement to end the man's "long-standing persecution" of her....

  • Months after fire, Charles Village Pub to reopen in Baltimore Thursday

    Months after fire, Charles Village Pub to reopen in Baltimore Thursday

    Months after closing due to a fire, Charles Village Pub will reopen on Thursday morning. The neighborhood hangout at 3107 Saint Paul St. passed its final inspection with the city fire department on Monday afternoon, said owner Tony Weir, allowing the watering hole known as “CVP” to reopen on Thursday....

  • Immigrant and refugee food festival planned for October

    Immigrant and refugee food festival planned for October

    “#BreakingBarriersByBreakingBread” is the motto of an immigrant and refugee food festival planned for noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 in Canton Waterfront Park. “[Culture] brings people together whether it’s food, music, clothing, festivals — it’s meeting new people during this very divisive time,” said...

Lifestyle

More lifestyle

National Politics

More National Politics
  • At West Virginia rally, Trump ignores brewing legal storm

    At West Virginia rally, Trump ignores brewing legal storm

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday night addressed a crowd in Charleston, W.Va., in a state where he remains deeply popular, touching on his favorite themes while ignoring the legal troubles swirling around his presidency hours after his former campaign chairman and former personal lawyer were convicted...

  • How the campaign finance charges against Cohen may implicate Trump

    How the campaign finance charges against Cohen may implicate Trump

    In a New York courtroom Tuesday, President Donald Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen directly implicated his former boss in a scheme to cover up alleged affairs Trump had with a former Playboy model and an adult film actress in order to prevent their being revealed before the 2016 election....

  • Truth overtakes tweets in cases that bolster Mueller's hand

    Truth overtakes tweets in cases that bolster Mueller's hand

    No day during President Donald Trump's 19 months in office could prove as dangerous or debilitating as Tuesday. Everything that happened in a pair of courtrooms hundreds of miles apart strengthened the hand of special counsel Robert Mueller III and weakened that of the president of the United States....

Events

Find or submit events

Sun Investigates

More Sun Investigates

From the Vault

More Retro Baltimore