LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — As the world gets ready to step into a new year with parties and celebrations, one Arkansas man has words of warning in hopes of saving lives.
Aug. 21, 2011 is a date that will haunt 29-year-old Lance Spann forever.
"I was at a bachelor party some friends had invited to me to and I got drunk. I decided I was going to drive once I got into my vehicle,” Spann said.
He was headed home to Redfield from southwest Little Rock. He soon realized he was too intoxicated to drive, so he pulled over.
"I went to the nearest hotel and parked in the back and fell asleep in my Jeep. I got a call that was a friend that was the designated driver for the bachelor party. He woke me up asking me if I made it home and I hadn't so I guess in my mind I was like 'OK I need to go,” he said.
From the hotel Spann then tried to get back on the westbound highway at the Clinton National airport exit. He got on the wrong way, and hit two drivers that were going eastbound 1-440.
"I hit a lady in a minivan. I hit her on the side. The other car was behind her and we hit drive side to driver side,” Spann said.
The first driver in the minivan walked away without injury. In that second car he hit was a mother of three, heading to the airport.
"The cops had told me pretty much from the time they put me in the car that it didn't look good for [her],” he said. “Then at the hospital, they told me she had passed away and told me what I was charged with and put me to jail."
He was sentenced to prison for 10 years for negligent homicide.
He served three and a half years. He said in Arkansas, with good behavior, a prisoner can serve a third of a third of a sentence.
“I did what I did and I had to pay the price and I knew that going in,” Spann said. “It sucks, but it was something I knew what I deserved for what I had done.”
Spann said he thinks about the woman's family every day.
"It's terrible, it's something you have to live with for the rest of your life. It's still always in the back of your mind that you took somebody's family member away. I would never want anybody to do that to me. I can't imagine the pain that I caused them,” he said.
Spann said he has not had much contact with the family since, but he does have one message for them.
“Just that I'm sorry. If I could change it, I would,” he said.
Spann hopes people out there will hear his message and not get behind the wheel next time they are out drinking.
“I'm not saying anybody shouldn't drink if that's what they want to do, but there's so many ride alternatives out there,” he said. “Spend the $50. It's just not worth the emotional pain or the financial burden it puts on you or your family. It's just not worth it for the fun you're going to have while drinking.”
Spann said he has not had a sip of alcohol since that night six years ago.
"My parents would've come and pick me up that night. No questions asked. They would've been there in a second if I made the phone call and all of this could've been avoided,” Spann said.