CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In 2017, over 1,000 people were killed in auto accidents involving alcohol, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. One of those killed was the wife of a Corpus Christi man who is speaking out for the first time about the incident. Kory Saldana speaks exclusively with KRIS 6 News about the night a drunk driver changed his life forever.
July 27, 2017 is a night Kory Saldana will never forget. It's the night his wife and mother of his then 2-year-old son Ezra, was tragically killed by a drunk driver. It's been over four years now, and he's now talking about the impact of losing her and how life moving forward hasn't been easy.
"I had just left work and I was on the road and I got a call from her. We always track each others phone and there was nothing on the other line. I kept calling and calling and nothing. Finally it rings back and it's my sister in-laws number but it's my mother-in-law saying, 'hey there's been an accident'," said Saldana.
It was a Thursday night when Saldana learned his wife Amanda and their 2-year-old son were involved in a fatal accident.
It happened at the intersection of Yorktown and Staples. According to court documents, Robert Binderim had been drinking and was speeding when he ran a red light and struck Amanda's SUV, killing her instantly and seriously injuring her son Ezra.
Saldana remembers driving to the accident site; "I was driving down Staples and an ambulance and a fire truck on Holly turned on to Staples and I said 'they're going to the accident'. So I put my hazards on and flew and I could just feel something. I pulled right up to the accident and I looked at my family and they just looked at me and said 'she's gone'."
His focus then turned to his son. He would spend the next month in the hospital and his road to recovery would be long. He had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat. Now 7-years-old, Ezra has made a full recovery, so they hope.
Robert Binderim, the man responsible for the accident plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter and injury to a child involving serious bodily injury. Binderim was sentenced to 18-years in prison.
Saldana says the impact drinking and driving has had on him and his family will be forever felt. Although Amanda is gone, she will never be forgotten. "We do our best to make sure her memory stays alive with him. To this day he prays every night that he's able to see his mom one day. He's seven years old and it's right here in his heart."
In 2020, 963 people lost their lives due to drinking and driving. The Texas Department of Transportation has several campaigns geared at putting an end to drinking and driving. 'Drive Sober, No Regrets', is a statewide impaired driving campaign that encourages drivers to plan for a sober ride before drinking and driving. A decision made by Binderim, that changed Saldana, Amanda's family and friends lives forever.