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Murray family bringing awareness of drunken driving after child's death

By Jed Boal | Posted - Feb 28th, 2014 @ 7:59pm


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MURRAY — Matt and Aubrie Thurber are making a public plea after their 3-year-old boy was killed by a man accused of drunken driving five weeks ago.

"It's so senseless," said Matt Thurber. "This guy, drinking and driving, taking an innocent life."

The Murray family doesn't want any other families to go through the kind of grief they're enduring. For them, this isn't just about public awareness, they want all of us to take action and make a pledge not to drink and drive. The anguish of young Zane's death is still very fresh, and touched more people than they ever expected.

"He was a goer. I couldn't keep up with him," Matt said of his son.

Zane was just discovering the world and running from the moment he hit the ground in the morning.

"He just loved life," Aubrie said.

Zane was a "mama's boy" who loved to run and hide. He was much loved by his 6-year-old brother, Holden. "They had a special bond."

The boys were out with their dad Jan. 25, sitting at a stoplight, when a pickup truck slammed into the back of their SUV.

"I got hit hard," Matt said. "I mean, really hard."

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Police said Manuel de Jesus Guinea was driving drunk and speeding.

"It was 60, 70 mph: no skid marks," Matt said.

Holden cried out for his younger brother, Zane. But there was no answer.

"He killed my kid," Matt said, still stinging from the grief of the loss.

"It is heartbreaking that someone can do that and take an innocent life, and not even know what's going on as it's happening," Aubrie said.

Police said that Guinea tried to blend into the crowd after the crash but was spotted by witnesses and held for police.

"He has no idea how hollow we feel on the inside," Matt said. "This not only impacts our immediate family, but our extended family, people that we love, our neighbors, and people that have put themselves in our shoes."

The love of friends and strangers flowed in. Heartbroken first responders showed up to Zane's viewing because they were personally affected by his death.

State troopers felt the same way and in part dedicated their DUI patrols on Super Bowl weekend to Zane.

"Let's go out and make a difference, and pull some of these impaired drivers off the road," said Capt. Steve Winward, the DUI squad chief for the Utah Highway Patrol.

That weekend, Winward arrested a driver with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. He said he was glad that driver, and others they took off the road that weekend, didn't have a chance to do any harm to others.

"It breaks your heart when you see stories of these family who lose a 3-year-old that's just beginning his life," said Winward.

The Thurbers were touched when dozens of workers at Kennecott Utah Copper signed a pledge not to drink and drive. Zane's story was brought to their attention by a neighbor of the Thurbers.

"We're asking people to take action," Matt said about drunken driving, "to make a decision not to do it."

Guinea faces felony charges of automobile homicide, and one to 15 years in prison if convicted. That case is just getting started in the courts.

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Jed Boal

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