Suspected Drunk Driver Could Face More Charges

Wednesday, May 21st 2008, 1:18 pm
By: News On 6

The friends and co-workers of a beloved Sand Springs couple killed by a suspected drunk driver are speaking out.  The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports Ben and Hughla Som de Cerff spent decades helping out at local elementary schools.

The Som de Cerffs had been married for 45 years.  They were on their way home Saturday when police say a drunk driver crashed into their car on I-244.  So many teachers are saying the couple was a living example of how to live, how to love and how to teach.

"All the kids loved Mrs. Som de Cerff.  All the kids couldn't wait to get to third grade," said teacher Terri King.

Terri King is talking about 79-year-old Hughla Som de Cerff.  She says everything she learned about teaching, she learned from Hughla.

"Hughla and I started the same year, in 1978.  I was, you know, fresh out of college, with not near as many experiences as she had. So if I ever had a problem, I would always go to Hughla, and she would guide me through," said teacher Terri King.

Hughla taught there for 15 years.

"We just became great friends, and she was kind of like my other mother," said teacher Terri King.

"When it came to teacher requests, she was the one that requested by the parents in the community.  She was just, she was the prize," said Audrey Kirby with Anderson Elementary.

Even when she retired, she'd always come back with her husband, Ben, to help out the community.

"She was just out here Friday at our book fair buying books with her husband for her grandson," said Audrey Kirby with Anderson Elementary.

And, people who knew the couple say if there was ever a true-love story; theirs was it.

"They were inseparable.  They were always together.   Always together and doing things together. Dancing together.  Helping people in any way they could," said teacher Terri King.

Hughla and Ben were killed Saturday by a suspected drunk driver.

Cebon Pettie has been arrested on complaints of DUI, possession of marijuana, and first degree manslaughter.

"I realize he'll have consequences, but he's around, and she's not going to see her grandson graduate. That just makes me angry," said Audrey Kirby with Anderson Elementary.

Emotions are still running high, but King says she has to move forward for her kids.

"She was a great mentor to me, and she was a fantastic teacher," said teacher Terri King.

Cebon Pettie is still in police custody.

The Som de Cerffs are survived by four children and eight grandchildren.

One of those grandkids is a third-grader at Anderson.  And, the teachers say he's just devastated with the loss of his grandparents.

Related story:

5/17/2008  Accused Drunk Driver Kills Elderly Woman