Actress Amy Locane is determined to help warn youngsters against the dangers of drinking and driving after learning the hard way following a fatal DUI in 2010.
The former Melrose Place star was jailed after her SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) crashed into another car in New Jersey in June, 2010, injuring driver Fred Seeman and killing his wife Helene.
The soap regular, who played Sandy Harling in the '90s TV show, was found to have a blood alcohol level nearly three times over the legal limit, but she escaped the more serious charge of aggravated manslaughter and in 2012, was convicted of the lesser-degree offence of second-degree vehicular homicide, as well as assault by auto.
She was sentenced to three years behind bars, less than the typical five to 10 year punishment the crime carries, as the judge expressed concerns the longer term would be detrimental to her two young children - one of whom has a medical and mental disability.
She was released a few months early in 2015, but Locane recently faced the prospect of returning to prison after another judge ordered a review of her lenient sentence.
She was able to breathe a sigh of relief on Friday (13Jan17) after Superior Court Judge Robert B. Reed decided against extending her sentence, but Locane admits she was "absolutely terrified" of going back to prison.
"I was prepared for the worst and hoping for the best," she told NJ Advance Media in her first interview in six years. "I had worked so hard since 2010 on my sobriety, on adjusting to life in prison, on being released from prison, on acclimating to my children's lives, and to parole that having to go back would seriously interrupt, if not destroy, any progress I had made in becoming human again."
Locane reveals in addition to going through a divorce from her husband Mark Bovenizer and having her visitation with her kids limited, she has had to deal with losing her friends.
"Being in prison is almost like witnessing your own death," she explained. "People write to you initially and then they disappear. Then, sometimes you hear from absolute strangers and they tell you to stay strong."
But the 45-year-old is refusing to dwell on her troubled past and is now planning to spend her time focusing on maintaining her sobriety and educating younger generations about the consequences of their actions.
She added, "First of all, I want to stay sober. I want to help people not make the same mistake I made. I want to warn the youth about the dangers of drinking and driving. Everybody thinks it's not going to happen to them, including myself."