A victim advocate who has spent nearly 20 years with Mothers Against Drunk Driving was honored for her work during Platte County’s annual victims’ rights luncheon. Avis Lowe received the eleventh annual Sara Andrasek Memorial Award on April 21 for her work with victims of impaired driving crashes in the state of Missouri.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd, Janet Williams, Avis Lowe, Dianna Cockrill, Pat Cockrill

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd, Janet Williams, Avis Lowe, Dianna Cockrill, Pat Cockrill

The luncheon, hosted by the Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, was attended by victims of crime and their families, law enforcement officers, county officials, and members of the public.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “This year, our victims’ rights week event focused drunk and drugged driving, which kills and injures thousands of people each year. Our award recipient and our keynote speaker both lost children to drunk drivers, but they are sterling examples of how serving others can bring healing in the face of terrible loss.”

Lowe serves as the Senior Victim Advocate Service Specialist with MADD Missouri Victim Services in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Her association with MADD began in 1995 after her son was killed by a repeat drunk driver.

In addition to assisting victims of impaired driving crashes, Lowe is an active member of the Northland Traffic Safety Task Force and other traffic safety task forces, where she participates with check points and coordinates an awards ceremony to recognize officers who are dedicated to DWI enforcement. She also coordinates MADD’s annual Candlelight Vigil for the Kansas City region.

Zahnd called Lowe “a true hero when it comes to combating drunk driving.”

The Sara Andrasek Memorial Award is given each year in the memory of the Platte County woman who was raped and murdered in 2001 while pregnant with her first child. Zahnd’s office and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department were in the final stages of preparing a death penalty case against Wayne Dumond when Dumond died while in custody.

The luncheon also featured a keynote address by Pat Cockrill, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 2010.

Abby Cockrill died at age 22 when a car driven by John McNamara slammed into the car in which she was a passenger on I-29. McNamara was driving a Chevrolet Camaro SS at 152 miles per hour seconds before the crash, and his blood alcohol content was .171 when tested two hours after the crash. McNamara is currently serving a 17-year prison term after pleading guilty in the case.

Pat Cockrill shared about his daughter’s plans to become a public school teacher. She was attending Northwest Missouri State University and was scheduled to graduate with honors in December 2010 with a degree in Early Childhood Development. She had just begun her student teaching at Siegrist Elementary School in Platte City and had accepted a position as the youth minister at her church.

Pat and his wife Dianna Cockrill have funded scholarships for high school students in their daughter’s memory, and they are in the planning stages of creating a charitable organization to provide teaching supplies for public school teachers.

“Driving impaired is a choice,” Pat Cockrill said. “My daughter died because of someone’s choice.”

A photo, from left, of Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd, with Janet Williams, the mother of Sara Andrasek, award recipient Avis Lowe, and Dianna and Pat Cockrill is above. If you need additional information, contact Tanya Faherty, media liaison in the Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
415 Third Street, Suite 60
Platte City, Missouri 64079
(816) 858-3476
(816) 858-3472 (fax)