Victim’s mother, convicted drunk driver share their story of forgiveness

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A deadly crash in 2011 brought two families together in a way that no one ever imagined. It started with the mother of the man who died decided to forgive the woman decision caused the crash.

They spoke together Saturday at a chocolate, coffee and conversation event in Chattanooga, but those who listened were brought to tears saying it’s a message they will never forget.

Above is the video that they played for the crowd, you can hear the 911 calls from people who witnessed a wrong way driver going down Hwy 153 now 7 years ago, and this story is one that’s hard to imagine.

After a presentation defining forgiveness, Tiki Finlayson introduced Latisha Stephens to the crowd as her friend and motioned her to come up.

Latisha, AKA Tish, is the woman convicted of driving that car and crashing head on with Tiki Finlayson’s son Kevin. He died the next day. Tish’s blood alcohol level was more than .23 the night of the crash.

Tish told the crowd, “I made the unthinkable choice and that choice was to drink and drive. You may recognize me from the video that you just watched because I am the one responsible for Kevin’s death.”

Finlayson belives God told her to forgive Tish and she read a quote from C.S. Lewis “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

Now, they are sharing this message of tragedy to triumph together.

Finlayson told the group, “Am I saying what she did was OK? Absolutely not. It’ll never be OK, but we can make a difference together.”

“On July 31, 2011, we had no idea that each other even existed but now we live a life sentence together. My life sentence is never another day with Kevin, never another birthday, never another holiday, never another day when Kevin will ever walked in my door. Tish’s is knowing that she took all that away from us. I can’t even imagine waking up every day knowing that I was responsible for that but together we are making an impact on the world through FORGIVENESS.”

“There is a lot of I’ll never get you with Kevin because of that one choice, but I am so thankful that I made the choice to forgive Tish.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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