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Family shocked and heartbroken after drunk driving crash kills Independence woman

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A 24-year-old Independence man could face up to 15-years in prison if he's convicted in a drunk driving crash that killed a mom of three.

FOX 4's Melissa Stern talked to the victim's sister, who's angry that one man's decision to get behind the wheel has her family planning a funeral.

“Just shocked, screaming and hollering, I just couldn`t believe it was her,” says Tracy Dias, Patrice Lee’s younger sister, “It`s been me and her from day one. She was my best friend; she was my everything.”

She spent her day at a funeral home, viewing the body of her sister Patrice.

Carl-Dakota A. Young

Court documents show 24-year-old Carl-Dakota A. Young was drunk when he drove a Chevy Silverado near Truman Road and Baker drive in Independence.

About 4:30 in the morning records show Young crossed over the center lane into oncoming traffic, crashing into Patrice Lee's car, and killing her.

“She was just going to work, taking care of business as usual...and never came home,” says Carla Cole, Lee’s first cousin.

Young told Independence police he had five or six mixed drinks at a bar in Grain Valley, and fell asleep at the wheel.

“It was a selfish move for you to get in your car,” adds Dias.

After the crash, he called his parents and told them he had been drinking and had a wreck. Independence police, based on Young's physical signs of impairment and tests placed him under arrest for DWI.

“This has shaken our whole world,” Cole says. “I`m thinking, how could you? You know, if you had that many drinks, you knew you weren`t functioning right.”

Now Lee leaves behind a large family including her three kids, and a five-year-old grandson.

“They don`t have that rock anymore. And it`s going to be hard because they`re just beginning their life, and they`re going to begin it without their mom,” Dias adds.

Police say Young did have a valid driver’s license at the time, and no prior alcohol offenses.

Meanwhile, Lee's family will celebrate her life next Monday.