OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s been a little more than a year since a 19-year-old University of Central Oklahoma student Marissa Murrow tragically lost her life in a wrong way crash involving a drunk driver. Her parents, Kritsy and Jeff, said they are determined to help make a difference and make it their mission to stop it from happening to anyone else.

“This happens so much and it’s preventable,” said Kristy Murrow. “Part of the devastation of it in the tragedy of it is this is totally preventable. It really is.”

Oklahoma has lost 396 people to fatal drunk driving crashes in the year 2020. That makes up 60 percent of all fatal crashes in the state. Among them was Marissa Murrow, who was hit head-on by Malcolm Penny, who was going the wrong way on the Kilpatrick Turnpike.

“We feel like Marissa had three seconds to recognize the danger because she hit the brake and she swerved, and then it was too late,” Jeff Murrow said.

Photo goes with story
Marissa Murrow remembered.

Marissa’s parents said Tuesday they were at the lake with family when they got a call that no parent ever wants to get.

“We had a tough drive back,” Jeff Murrow said.

In the 14 months since their daughter died, both Jeff and Kristy said they have researched more into DUI issues. Although her mom said it makes her angrier the more she finds out, she and her husband said they are determined to put a stop to it.

“We’re very committed to not having any other parents lose their kids or their loved ones, because it’s the most indescribable devastation you can have,” Kristy Murrow said.

“You know, in today’s day in age, you assume this isn’t a problem that we deal with, with other forms of ways to get home,” said Trooper Aaron Nickell with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “And yet we still deal with it.”

Nickell said they’re also working to put a stop to it. Oklahoma has already surpassed the 2020 number of deadly DUI crashes. Oklahoma is also on pace to have the most fatalities due to these than the state has had in the last 10 years.

“We hope when we’re out and we’re stopping cars and trying to be proactive around and DUI checkpoints, we hope we can catch those people as they’re just driving,” Nickell said. “Then we keep them safe, everybody else safe. Me and my family, you and your family safe.”

Malcolm Penney

Penny was a repeat offender when it came to DUI, including this incident. A little less than a month ago he pleaded guilty to a murder charge connected to the deadly crash. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.