Symbolic Christmas tree represents lives lost due to drunk driving in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — 79 presents sit underneath a Christmas tree at Woodland Hills mall in Tulsa. However, these gifts will never be unwrapped.

Each gift represents a life lost to drunk driving.

Rameissa Thompson lost her daughter and future grandchild in a matter of seconds. 24-year-old Araele Louis was 6 months pregnant when she was killed by a drunk driver. Araele had been planning her baby shower and just left her mother’s house when she was hit. It happened in 2018, but the pain never goes away.

“To lose your baby, and my baby is not here. I said I’m not going to cry, but I cry every time. I cry every time and it just hurts that I’m never going to see my baby again,” said Thompson.

Araele is just one of 79 people killed in drunk driving crashes in Tulsa County within the past four years.

Both Tulsa police and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol plan to setup checkpoints and special patrols for the holiday season. Officers say to have a plan and call a loved one for a ride.

“Just take a moment. Step back and make a conscious decision, a responsible decision. It’s not hard, it’s so simple,” said Tulsa captain Erik Smoot.