'I've lost two parents now because of it'

'I've lost two parents now because of it'

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- A woman caring enough to drive an intoxicated friend home from the bar early Sunday morning died after she was hit by a driver that police say was drunk.

Convenience stores are normally a place where you make a short stop, but Monday at a store on a busy corner in Cottage Grove, it was a time to linger and remember a loved one lost.

Teresa Marie Grondona was on her way back for the rest of her early morning shift at the Short Stop after giving an intoxicated friend a safe ride home. But Grondona did not make it back to work. "I talked to her on the phone, and she said she'd be here in a couple of minutes," said co-worker Wyatt Treadwell.

She was killed on a stretch of highway near the town, after the driver of a pickup crossed the middle line and slammed into her car.

Police say the driver of that pickup, Jeremy Henry, was drunk.

"It's a loss to lose anybody that's part of the community, but specifically because she was trying to do the right thing," said Scott Shepherd of the Cottage Grove police.

Machele Sturgess, Grondona's older sister, had words for Henry. "This is a picture of my baby sister," she said. "and the man that killed her, I want him to know that he took a child from a mother. He took a mother from her children."

For Grondona's 19-year-old daughter Tashina Carnes, this tragedy is especially cruel. "I've lost two parents now because of it (drunk driving), and I'm left here with nobody but my grandmother, my boyfriend and my brother," she said.

Her father was also killed in a drunk driving crash.  

Now Grondona's mother has a message: "It could be your father, your daughter, your mother. Please, don't let anybody get in a car drunk," she pleaded.

For this community, the woman who worked at this convenience store came and left too quickly.  

The family says Grondona regularly gave rides to friends who were too intoxicated to get behind the wheel. Many of them were at the memorial, and say Grondona would drop everything to be a designated driver.