STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Spreading love and kindness — that’s how a Struthers woman is honoring her late nine-year-old daughter.
Alivia “Livi” Watson was killed by a drunk driver in South Carolina, where she lived, on March 26.
Livi’s mom and dad are from the Valley (Struthers and Brookfield). So on Tuesday, they honored Livi with a big show of support in the Struthers Fourth of July parade.
Friends and family wore purple, which was Livi’s favorite color. Along with the floats for Livi, there were also purple shirts, balloons and flowers.
“She was our life,” said Shirley Scanlon, Livi’s grandmother. “She really was.”
Scanlon was planning to move to South Carolina to be with Livi. But those plans changed on March 26 when Livi was killed in an accident.
“It happened instantly,” said Jolie Tatar, Livi’s mom. “She was on the side of the road…My daughter was gone. I looked at her and realized she is my only biological child. And she was my whole world.
“Literally at that moment, I died with her.”
Livin’ for Livi
Livin’ for Livi x
Tatar, who was was hurt in the accident too, says a drunk driver was going 103 miles per hour and hit her car from the back in South Carolina.
Shortly before the accident, Tatar says Livi said something that has stuck with her.
“Maybe a half hour [before], she told me there was an angel in the car,” Tatar said.
Tatar says she had a choice to make — she could be depressed or live for her daughter. That’s when she created Livin For Livi, which is a Facebook group encouraging people to spread love, kindness and forgiveness.
Tatar says she forgives the person accused of killing her daughter.
“I can’t go to bed every night asking God to forgive me for my sins and protect my baby in heaven when I’m not doing his job here,” she said. “If all these little deeds can help someone or just make someone smile, then I succeeded.”
According to WKBN sister station WCBD in South Carolina, 46-year-old Zebulon Wright was charged in late March with felony DUI resulting in death and reckless homicide.
Tatar is reminding people not to drink and drive on July 4.
“It’s not worth it,” she said. “You figure you could have a drink or two or four and you don’t think it’s going to happen until it happens to you.”