New CMPD program helps victims of senseless tragedies

- There is a new program at CMPD helping families of senseless tragedies on the road. It's an expansion of an existing program aimed at helping families cope after losing loved ones to senseless violence.

Everyday since 1999, Linda Roberts has thought about the passing of her son Greg.

"My son Greg Byers was 26 when he was killed by a wrong-way drunk driver coming down the exit ramp of exit 23 on I-77 in Huntersville," Roberts said. 

Greg was taken away too soon by a driver breaking the law.

"These are not accidents. They are crashes and they are preventable. Families need the support," Roberts said. 

Now loved ones like Linda can get the support they need straight from CMPD. Victim services, which has focused on helping families of violence cope with loss, is now expanding to include families impacted by traffic related deaths.

"Now if I pick up the phone and I need somebody, someone is going to be there for me and it makes all the difference. That's why I am able to stand here today," Roberts said. 

The new program has also been beneficial for the Hilliards family. Their son Jamal was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2009. His twin brother was hit hard by the tragedy.

"I remember the day police knocked on the door, he's deaf, they hadn't said a word yet and the next thing I hear this earth shattering scream," Nate Hillidards said. 

To this day the loss is still impacting Jamal's brother.

"He doesn't talk to anyone. He just stays in the house and he's deaf so he just signs all day and watches TV.  He won't meet anybody, he wont leave the house, he just stays there," his father said. 

The hope now is the new program through CMPD will help the entire family heal just like what it has done for Jamal's father.

"I was so mad and so angry that I actually wanted to do things that I shouldn't have done, but I came to a meeting they had one day and I had never talked before and all of a sudden I started talking," his father said. 

The first meeting of the new group is June 20, 2017. For more information, click here. 

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