A few weekends back, people across the country gathered at bars, restaurants, and the homes of friends and family for Super Bowl XLVII parties. The atmosphere was particularly festive here in Louisiana, where New Orleans played host for the big game for the tenth time in NFL history.
Unfortunately, with this heightened party atmosphere came increased alcohol consumption, increased DUI arrests and, unfortunately, increased drunk driving accidents. In fact, one of these DUI-related accidents had a direct -- and utterly tragic -- impact on the one of the players for the San Francisco 49ers.
According to reports, two very close relatives of tight end Delanie Walker were killed by a drunk driver just a few hours after his team fell to the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Sources indicate that several of Walker's family members, including his aunt and uncle, spent several hours with him following the 49ers 34-31 loss to the Ravens.
At around 5:30 a.m., his aunt and uncle left New Orleans and were driving back to their hotel in Baton Rouge, when they stopped on the side of the road on I-10 west in St. Charles Parish. Shortly thereafter, their car was struck from behind at a high rate of speed by a 26-year-old woman.
The sheer force of the collision caused both cars to catch fire. Emergency personnel were summoned to the scene, and Walker's aunt and uncle -- ages 42 and 54 respectively -- were pronounced dead at the scene.
The young woman who caused the accident was eventually arrested and charged with a multitude of offenses, including DWI, reckless operation and two counts of vehicular homicide. While the results of a drug test are still pending, preliminary toxicology tests have already revealed that her blood alcohol content was well above the legal limit.
Walker, who was understandably devastated by the fatal DUI crash, took to his Twitter page to express his grief.
"I'm going to miss y'all but I know they are in a better place," he wrote.
Stay tuned for updates on this story ...
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car crash or a drunk driving accident, remember that you can seek justice. A qualified legal professional can explain your rights and inform you of your options.
Sources: USA Today, "Aunt, uncle of 49ers' Walker killed in traffic accident," Mike Garafolo, Feb. 6, 2013