Leader's stand against MADD leaves local chapter in flux

A Rock Hill woman is mad enough at Mothers Against Drunk Driving to resign as president and maybe, she says, watch the York County chapter fall apart.

Virginia Faircloth, president of MADD in York County, stepped down last week in a dispute that centers on illegal immigration, one of the hottest topics in the nation today.

A group called Mothers Against Illegal Aliens was told to stop using the phrase "mothers against" because of an implied connection between the organizations.

But Faircloth doesn't understand why Mothers Against Illegal Aliens is being singled out, when other groups that borrow the name haven't been told to change theirs, too.

Faircloth has a unique connection to the immigration debate. Last year, she rekindled interest in the York County chapter of MADD after an illegal immigrant drove drunk and crashed into another car, resulting in the deaths of members of a North Carolina family.

"It's a lot of political stuff, and I'm fed up," Faircloth said. "When I started looking at it, MADD doesn't want to take a stance -- but they are."

MADD has turned away from the problem of drunken driving by illegal immigrants, Faircloth said.

"You don't have to take a stance on illegal aliens," Faircloth said, "but have to address that illegal aliens are driving drunk."

Faircloth's statement is receiving national attention. She was interviewed by the Washington Times and was scheduled to appear on Fox News today.

Several other groups use "mothers against" in their name, and Faircloth said MADD's president told her none of them received a similar letter.

National and state representatives for MADD weren't available for comment Tuesday.

Faircloth worked with the mother of Scott Gardner to rekindle interest in MADD last year. Gardner was killed in July 2005 when his car was hit by a drunk illegal immigrant who had faced prior drunken driving charges.

Gardner, a former Clover resident, was heading to the beach with his wife, Tina, and two children, Jackson and Avery. His wife remains in a nursing facility, and the children are being raised by her parents.

Gardner's mother, Emily Moose, and Faircloth also operate The Jackson-Avery Foundation for the family. Faircloth said MADD was concerned about that being a conflict.

"They feared if I was president of both, MADD could be looked at as taking a stance on illegal aliens," she said.

More than 100 York County volunteers make up the local chapter, but Faircloth is afraid no one wants the task of continuing it.

"I wish someone would take it over," Faircloth said. "It's pretty much going to fall apart."