Austin’s Story

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March 28, 2019
Cari Lightner – She Blossomed on Earth, She Blooms in Heaven
April 25, 2019

Austin’s Story

On June 10, 2018, I was sentenced to life without my oldest son, Austin Lee Lockwood. Austin was taken by a drunk driver in Three Lakes, WI. We had just celebrated Austin’s 23rd birthday 16 days prior to the crash that took him. Austin went up to Three Lakes that weekend to HELP a friend clean up their summer cabin. His reward for his kindness…he was murdered. Austin is the kindest, most hard working, great attitude, young man you would ever want to meet. He would give his last dime to anyone. A horrible person decided to drink, drive, speed, and murder my son. He had no concern for Austin after the crash.

My life has been ruined. Austin’s brother and sister’s lives have been ruined, turned upside down and shattered. I can barely function, I have a difficult time remembering things, focusing and I struggle to do simple tasks at work and home that I have done most of my life. I have been a single mom for over 22 years, I am very self-sufficient and have never asked for anyone to give or do anything for us. My 3 beautiful kids are my life. Morgan, Austin and Landon have never known life without each other. Best friends, the love they have for each other is like nothing I have ever seen. The drunk driver has his license, he even went back at college and graduated in December, attends parties, Cubs’ games, has been on camping trips, attending family holidays and living like nothing happened. He has not spent one day behind bars!

This killer took two lives. He took my precious son and he took my life. He took my future with my son, my future grandchildren, future holidays, future wedding celebrations, future birthdays and every future day to come, I suffer every minute, Austin’s brother and sister suffer every minute. We pay a price that we should not have to pay. Austin’s family has suffered every single day since 5:00 AM on June 10, 2018 when we were told that Austin would never come home to us. My new life consists of shaking uncontrollably, counseling every week: it has been 42 weeks since Austin was murdered, I have been to 37 hours of counseling. I cannot drive alone, my morning commute at 5:30 AM is talking with my mother every single morning so I can get to work without panic and anxiety overtaking me. Our home is empty and quiet. Austin’s dog waits by the door for Austin to come home, he lays on Austin’s bed waiting for him to come to his room. I have Austin’s favorite cereal still in my pantry, I do not know what to do with it! Austin and his brother attended college together, they both graduated and were looking and starting their wonderful new careers.

We cannot sit back and lose one more innocent, loving man, woman, child to a drunk driver. Please think how devastated you would be to lose your child, your spouse, your loved one, a family member, your friend. Drunk driving is a 100% preventable crime. drinking and getting behind the wheel is not a mistake. Drinking and driving is a choice that someone makes.


  1. My beautiful daughter was killed by an impaired driver on the river. He is a prominent businessman in a small community in with the good ole boys club. Friends with the DA they never got a chemical draw but failed all parts of the sobriety test. He’s never spent an hour in jail. The judge that the case was before used to be partners with this mans attorney. Our lives are a nightmare and the anger we have due to the way this case was handled is outrageous. She was 31 left 3 young children and a whole lot of people grieving. PURE CORRUPTION

  2. Jen jenn says:

    I agree that it is murder when someone kills an innocent person while intoxicate. I can’t believe these drivers are getting off so easily. They need to make the ignition interlock MANDATORY after the first offense.

  3. Jacy says:

    “I cannot drive alone, my morning commute at 5:30 AM is talking with my mother every single morning.”

    Very upsetting to read this “solution”. Phone use, whether handheld or handsfree, makes the chance of crashing four times more likely, the same risk increase as caused by driving while intoxicated.

    Please find a new solution that doesn’t put any more families at risk ❤️

    • Candace Lightner says:

      We agree that Austin’s mother’s “solution” isn’t the safest and frankly, not a solution for grief. Hopefully as she has moved forward on her grieving journey she has found a better and safer way to handle her grief. Thank you for your thoughts.

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