Pepin Distributing partners up with MADD and AAA for Tampa Walk Like MADD event


Help turns condolences into action by empowering USF students to Walk Like MADD

TAMPA, Fla. (March 20, 2014)- AAA, MADD, University of South Florida (USF) Administration, Tampa-area businesses, and the USF student body are teaming up to honor four USF students killed by an impaired, wrong-way driver last month in a deadly car crash on 1-275 in Tampa. The goal ofthis partnership is to help raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. AAA and other local organizations have joined with MADD to sponsor 400 students so they can walk in the March 21st event at the USF Tampa campus designed to raise money for MADD’s victim outreach services.

Daniel Morris, 28, was identified as the driver of the Ford Expedition that hit another vehicle head on, killing Jobin Kuriakose, Ankeet Patel, Dammie Yesudhas, and Imtiyaz “Jim” Ilias. The autopsy report of Morris shows he was drunk the night he drove the wrong way on 1-275 in Tampa and caused the crash that killed the four USF students. According to autopsy and toxicology reports, Morris had a .20 BAC and traces of marijuana in his system.

“We are deeply saddened by these needless tragedies and want to support the USF students who are grieving the recent deaths of their fellow classmates by supporting the community at this important event,” said Amy Stracke, Executive Director of AAA’s Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “Two of our foundation’s impaired driving programs are “Tow to Go” and “AAA PROMise,” both are designed to educate about the dangers of impaired driving as well as provide a safe solution for an intoxicated driver at-risk for getting behind the wheel.”

“We are so happy to partner with AAA and Pepin Distributing on this event because they help prevent impaired driving with their traffic safety programs like the Tow to Go service. And with AAA’s PROMise program, we can now reach younger audiences with these important safety messages,” said Linda Unfried, MADD advisory board chair of the Hillsborough County Chapter and event co-chair. “It’s imperative that organizations like ours work together to help educate young audiences on the dangers of drinking and driving-and this year’s event will help all of us do just that by working directly with USF students.”

“As a student at USF, it was upsetting to hear about the deaths of the four students who were killed. We knew we wanted to do something but we just didn’t know how to show our support,” said USF Student Brandon Lomba. “Thanks to help from local businesses that are now sponsoring us, we can get directly involved to show our support for our fellow USF students by walking at the event and helping to raise money to provide free services for victims of impaired driving. We have students from colleges and high schools all around the Tampa ready to walk this Friday, it is very exciting to see my friends and fellow students come together like this,” said Lomba.

For more information about the event and sponsoring students to walk, please contact Linda Unfried, MADD president ofHillsborough County at 813-247-0943 or

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 54 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

Established by AAA- The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACGTSF) is a 50l(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to producing a significant and continuous reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the communities targeted by its efforts. ACGTSF provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. ACGTSF is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support ACGTSF’s purpose.