Project Drive Sober: Marla Hall's story of loss

Posted at 1:37 PM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 10:34:13-05

To hear Marla Hall talk about her son Clenton, is to hear a mother adore her only child.

"He'd found the woman of his dreams like two years before, he had a great job, he's got approved for a mortgage," Marla said. "He was like a real jokester and a funny guy."

For Marla, those are the positive memories, the ones she tries to hold on to. There's a much different memory she'll never forget.

"I think about it every night before i go to bed," Marla said.

The date is November 2, 2016. That evening, Clenton was riding home from La Crosse to Milwaukee with his fiance and co-workers.

"I actually have a picture of the four of them when they were up giving their presentation and the clock reads 6:04 p.m.," Marla said. "By 10:24, three of them were dead."

They were hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver. Court records show that the driver, Brysen Wills, was going more than 90 miles an hour and had a blood alcohol level of .184. The crash killed four people.

Wills was deemed incompetent to stand trial because of his injuries from the crash. A judge suspended the case. Marla said that her search for justice opened up what she calls an 'ugly world'.

"Oh, we don't want to ruin people's lives. I said what about my life? What about my son's life," Marla said.

She's taken this issue into her own hands. Marla created the Eliminate Drunk Driving Education Foundation.

"I never realized how bad it was out there," Marla said.

Marla hopes to help make a first-offense OWI a crime. Wisconsin is the only state where it's not.

"I'm mad. I know," Marla said. "It gets me quite furious about what's going on."

Another goal for Marla is just to raise awareness. She's trying to protect other families from feeling the same pain.

"I can smell him," Marla said. "I have his clothes all boxed up so I can, I can still smell him."

Marla still carries a part of her son with her every day. 

"This locket is my son's fingerprint," Marla said. "That they took his fingerprint, and some of his ashes are in there, in this locket. That's how I feel like he's always with me."