At home, the house was filled by the smells of freshly baked cookies, cakes, and pies, the turkey roasting slowly overnight. This family, as millions of others across the country, was preparing for the annual happy day of gluttony, American style.

However, the anticipation of a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends was suddenly interrupted a visit to the home of 13-year-old Kyrin Pete of Lake Charles by Calcasieu Parish Sheriffs Deputies knocking on the home's door in the early morning hours. If you've never been in this situation, you should know that police knocking on your door at odd hours in the middle of the night is nothing but bad news.

Surely enough, the 13-year-old had succumbed in the hospital to his injuries, as the 2005 Mazda truck reportedly driven by 33-year-old Jacob Ryan Hebert of Lafayette was no match for his fragile body. Kyrin Pete was walking on the shoulder of the road, LA 385 near Weeks road, with two other friends who escaped disaster.

Pete was transported to a local hospital where he passed away despite a heroic effort by emergency room nurses and doctors who frantically tried to keep his heart going. A senseless impaired driving death of a kid. The ER personnel went to their own family dinners later with that on their hearts, all the more thankful for their family and friends this Thanksgiving. ER people see a lot of stuff, mostly sad. They're humans too.

After all, at a mere 13, Pete was looking at a fantastic number of years of life left on earth and to having turkey and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner with his family and friends later in the day.

Impairment of the part of the driver is suspected to be a factor in the tragedy. Hebert was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide.

The devastated Pete family had to put Thanksgiving on the back burner, to listen instead to the advice of emergency personnel, getting into contact with a funeral home, and rather than picking green beans over mac and cheese, are now considering caskets, burial vaults, viewing arrangement, the dates and times of their child's services and all the other unbearable minutiae that comes with burying our loved ones.

When Will We Stop Doing This?

For about three decades, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and many other such groups have begged and pleaded with us to please designate a driver, to call a cab to find a safe way to get home sans operating a 5,000 lb vehicle at highway speeds.

The advocates of non-drinking and driving have been on the airwaves, print, and internet for decades pleading with us to use common sense and not attempt to drive while intoxicated, which literally means under the influence of a distilled poison.

If you're reading this, and you have had a beer or two, or a cocktail after work and felt fully in control as your fired up your road machine to head home in a somewhat wobbly state, when will you draw your own line in the sand and say no more? Why does the senseless heartbreak persist when every single one of us has already been warned about impaired driving numerous times?

His Future Was Wiped Out From One Heartbeat to the Next

13-year-old Kyrin Pete's family, once the shock has subsided, once the funeral is over and hundreds of relatives have told the family to let them know if there's anything they can do (a silly question for mourners to have to answer) will spend years, the rest of their lives asking Why? They'll quietly sit, maybe in silent darkened rooms with eyes wide open wondering about the kind of life he might have had, what kind of girl he might have married, what kind of dad he might've been.

Here we are in the holiday season, if we all promise ourselves not to drink and drive perhaps one life may be saved between now and January 1st, and maybe the death toll of impaired vehicular deaths may fall.

So far this year in Calcasieu Parish, Troop D has investigated 25 fatal crashes and 25 deaths. Six have been pedestrians.

Reading this while sober should hit you in the heart and you should swear a solemn oath to never drive impaired. By doing this, we help each other out and perhaps avoid horrible tragedies that affect surviving families for the rest of their living lives, the heartbreak of knowing their loved one is gone.