Mother Turns Family Tragedy into Motivation

By: Bryan Anderson
By: Bryan Anderson

Vernon, FL- "It was the most devastating news that I had ever gotten and it was the darkest days I ever had to endure," said Renee Napier.

Napier, a Saint Petersburg resident, described what it was like finding out a drunk driver had killed her daughter Meagan and Meagan's friend in 2002.

"There was so much darkness in my life and so much sadness," said Napier.

Since 2004, she has been speaking to thousands of people across Florida, all in hopes that other families won't go through what she did.

"I had no idea that was going to be my very last conversation with Meagan," said Napier.

She shared her story Friday with hundreds of students in Vernon.

"I ended up spending Mother's Day with all four of my children, but we were in a funeral home and one of them was in a coffin," said Napier.

The driver who killed Meagan and her friend is Eric Smallridge. Napier said she eventually forgave him and in 2010, Smallridge, still a prisoner, began speaking at these presentations to encourage students not to drink and drive.

"If you do things that could potentially harm people, it could happen to you," said Smallridge.

"It's a God-blessed mission that we're on. I feel very honored to be a part of it,"said Smallridge.

"Eric knows this is not about him, this is not about Renee, this is about saving lives," said Napier.

Napier managed to help Smallridge get out of prison early. He's set to be released next November.

To learn more about the Meagan Napier Foundation, visit

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