Widow of police officer: "Driving drunk is 100 percent preventable"

PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) -- The widow of a Pearland police officer who died after being hit by a drunk driver is pushing for people to reconsider the potential danger of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

"I wouldn't be here today if somebody had made better choices in their life," said Lucy Ekpanya.

Her husband, Officer Endy Ekpanya, died in June 2016 after Amber Willemsen slammed into his police car. Her blood alcohol content was measured at .162 -- twice the legal limit for a driver. Prosecutors said she had been drinking for hours before leaving her job at a Houston strip club.

Willemsen was sentenced earlier this month to 32 years in prison after a jury found the mother of two and former school administrator guilty of intoxication manslaughter.

Lucy Ekpanya said she hasn't yet told her now 3-year-old son that a drunk driver killed his father.

"It's very tough at home when he looks at pictures of his father and tells me, 'Mommy, I want him,'" said Ekpanya. "That's not something that he can fully comprehend."

Ekpanya remembers her husband as a protector, a provider and a positive influence. She said he was someone who was always striving to be better.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the trial and the 32-year sentence for Willemsen, Ekpanya said she hasn't come to terms with the punishment given. Willemsen faced up to 99 years in prison.

"The fact that she asked for probation, to me was an insult," Ekpanya said.

She knows Willemsen could become eligible for parole 16 years from now. If nothing else, she says the verdict keeps a dangerous person off the streets for that long.

She hopes others will see the devastating impact poor choices can have.

"Driving drunk is 100 percent preventable," she added.

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