Wichita police officer’s death has impact 20 years later

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita family has continued to advocate against drunk driving 20 years after they lost their daughter, a Wichita police officer, to a drunk driver.

“Every day since then has been something less than it would have been,” said Don Langford.

It was October 11, 1997 when Don Langford and his wife Collette got the news their oldest of three daughters had been killed.

“It’s the call you never want. It’s the sorority you never want to join,” said Collette Langford.

The Langford’s daughter, Sommer Langford, 25, was on her way home from work when they said a drunk driver rammed into her at the intersection of Second Street and Seneca.

“The nurse said we haven’t had a blood pressure in 40 minutes and all I could say is I want to see her, I want to see her, I want to see her,” Collette said.

“I remember standing there. I was holding her hand and a nurse walked up and put her hand on my shoulder and said I’m sorry,” Don said.

Wednesday marked the 20-year anniversary of Summer’s death.

“There was an email sent out department-wide about her and there were people who remembered her and worked with her and I received comments about how they still think about her every day,” Don said.

Some people wrote on the Wichita Police Department’s Facebook page in remembrance of Summer and what she did for the Wichita community.

“Wow, seems like just yesterday. Summer was an amazing lady and would have had a stellar career with WPD. Rest In Peace my friend!” wrote one person.

“I still miss Summer. She was such a nice young lady and was a great officer. I pass that corner most days and I always remember that horrible night,” wrote another person.

Don and Collette said they hope Summer’s story will make people think before they drive drunk.

“We try not use the word accident because there is no accident in this. Somebody chose to drink and drive,” Collette said.

“She’s gone because of something terrible that happened and it could happen to another person. It could happen to them. They could cause it to happen to someone else, so that part of her message is still out there,” Don said.

The Langford’s said Summer dreamt of working for the FBI and helping kids in need. She was a graduate of Wichita State University where she also worked as a campus police officer.

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