“Mom, I just ruined my life.”

Those are the words of 20-year-old Travis Grayson of Shaler, Pennsylvania.

He uttered those words to his mother over the phone right after having gotten behind the wheel after 10 beers and, as he told police, ‘driving like a stupid idiot.’

Six-year-old Ava Campbell and her mother, along with a few others, had just come home from a birthday party and were standing in their driveway talking. Ava still had glow sticks in her hands.

Suddenly, around 10:30 p.m., there were screeching tires and a roaring engine just before Amber Campbell, the girl’s mother, found herself in the air. Almost immediately after hitting the ground, her thoughts pivoted to her kids. One had been narrowly missed, but the other had not been so lucky; she found her precious six-year-old baby girl lying flat on her back, convulsing and bleeding.

The impact had fractured her pelvis and severely damaged her lungs and liver. She was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma just short of four hours later. The elder Ms. Campbell declined medical attention.


A neighbor, Judy Templin-Williams, heard the young man say into his phone, “Mom, I just ruined my life” after he’d initially tried to leave the scene and was stopped.

When police arrived, they say Travis Grayson was reeking of alcohol, swaying side-to-side, and slurring his speech. The small crowd that had gathered was so angry with the 20-year-old that, for his own safety, they decided not to do the field sobriety tests at the scene. Ava’s father, Dave Campbell, had to be held back by two officers to keep from tearing into the drunken driver.

Travis admitted to the police that he’d had 10 beers and smoked some marijuana in the hours preceding the incident. He also admitted he was doing between 50 and 55 miles per hour in the 25 mph residential area, and ‘driving like a stupid idiot’.

He was given a blood alcohol test at the hospital, but the results haven’t been released yet.

He was charged with myriad counts; homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, driving under the influence, three counts of recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, and careless driving.

He now sits in the Allegheny County Jail waiting for his preliminary hearing on October 8th.



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