After husband was killed by drunk driver, widow turned tragedy into triumph

tporter@lsjournal.comSeptember 25, 2013 

  • 1993

    Year Missouri State Highway Patrol Coporal Michael Webster was killed by a drunk driver while on duty.

Twenty years ago Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Michael Webster was killed in the line of duty after he was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.

In the two decades since, Webster’s widow, Kathey, has kept his memory at the forefront of the community by hosting a blood drive at the Troop A headquarters in Lee’s Summit.

This year, Kathey Webster, the Highway Patrol and national organizations such as the American Red Cross, Community Blood Bank and Be the Match have gone one step further, one step bigger and one step bolder.

Instead of hosting the month-long blood drive here locally, Webster and crew got permission to go statewide, and from Oct. 2-31 that is exactly what will transpire: A statewide community blood drive in honor of Michael Webster.

“I wanted to do it larger because Michael has been gone for 20 years,” Kathey Webster said Sept. 24 via telephone from her home in suburban Kansas City. “I just wanted to do it statewide. I just felt like it should be a statewide event instead of just Lee’s Summit this year.”

The 20th annual Cor. Michael E. Webster Memorial Blood Drive will be held locally from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the downstairs meeting room at Troop A headquarters in Lee’s Summit. The blood drive is an annual event held to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Webster was killed Oct. 2, 1993 by a drunk driver while standing next to a vehicle he had stopped for a traffic violation.

After one or two drives over the years in the St. Louis area, where the Websters resided before Michael Webster joined the Highway Patrol, the drive is now going to various locations throughout the state.

“The beautiful thing about this blood drive is we’ve gotten the American Red Cross and the Community Blood Center involved throughout the state of Missouri, which is a feat within itself,” Webster said. “For us to come together on this one projects is really special.

“Also, Be the Match (a bone marrow registry) has agreed to be at some of our sites this year so we can get minority people – or anyone – to get on the Be the Match registry so that we can have a more presence there because there aren’t enough African-American people that do that. It’s been a labor of love. I can say not as frustrating as it could be. It’s been a cakewalk pretty much. Everyone has been very cooperative.”

Michael Webster left behind two daughters and a son, who are now 34, 26 and 21, respectively. A video of Webster playing with his children is on a website dedicated in his honor to raise awareness about the annual blood drive. It shows a loving and doting father and impressionable infants frolicking with their father with nothing but smiles on their young faces.

“Less than a year after that video was taken, Michael was taken from us,” Kathey Webster said. “We lost him less than a year after that was shot.”

According to the highway patrol, someone is killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash every two hours in Missouri. Alcohol was involved in 28 percent of all fatal crashes during 2012. Drunk drivers killed 229 people and injured 3,869 in Missouri traffic crashes last year.

“Michael was an avid blood donor,” Webster said. “From college on up all the way through his life, I don’t know how many gallons he had given. He was killed by a drunk driver. In that accident he needed 46 units of blood himself to sustain his life for the 14 to 17 hours that he survived until his demise. I believe that 46 units of blood sustained his life until his family members could get there to say goodbye to him and that is what in fact happened.

“I want his memory to stay alive. It’s been 20 years and there are a lot of new faces on the Highway Patrol and the old faces are retiring. I just don’t believe his memory should retire with his friends because Michael was pretty awesome. We’re doing this blood drive to keep his memory alive. I’ve been saying to people I’m taking this tragedy and making a triumph out of it because we’ll be saving so many lives.”

Anyone in the Lee’s Summit area who would like to donate blood may stop by Troop A Headquarters or call 816-622-0800 to schedule an appointment. For additional questions or to find other blood drive locations call Sgt. Collin Stosberg at Troop A or visit www.MEWEBSTER.org.

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