On April 10, 2010, I was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck head-on by a drunk driver.
“The driver who caused
all of this was not a
It was his second DWI,
and he only received a
slap on the hand.”
We were driving east on Interstate 10 at 3:00 a.m. on a business trip when we noticed headlights entering an exit ramp. At first we thought it was some type of utility vehicle. The driver proceeded to enter the freeway on the ramp going the wrong direction, coming straight across one lane, then the middle lane.
Everything was happening so fast. We were in the middle of a three-lane freeway. We wanted to move to the right lane, but there were 18-wheelers there. In a split second, we moved over to the inside lane to try and avoid a direct hit. We could move over only so far because the median was right there in our faces. The oncoming driver struck the front right side of our vehicle, and then collided all the way down the entire right side. We later realized our vehicle came to a stop just inches from the median. We were knocked out for a few moments and woke up to deflated air bags and smoke everywhere.
At first we thought our car was on fire. I couldn’t open the door to get out and remember being frantic. The person driving our vehicle was able to come around and pry my door open. There was glass everywhere. I received cuts to my face, shoulders, feet, arms and legs.
We noticed the other driver had stopped a few feet up from us. He was out of his vehicle and trying to cross the median. The person I was with went over to make sure he didn’t leave the scene before the police got there. The drunk driver asked my friend, “Why did you hit me?” That’s how drunk he was: he thought we hit him.
I was in mental and physical therapy for more than a year. I was too frightened to drive a car for months. I kept reliving the accident. Because of the crash, I have chronic nerve pain and have to take nerve and pain pills daily. My whole life and lifestyle have changed. Before this accident, I was a productive citizen, holding down a full time job for 40 years. Because of this accident, I lost my job and I am no longer able to work full time. I now receive Social Security disability benefits, which are three times less than what I earned while employed.
The driver who caused all of this was not a first-time offender. It was his second DWI, and he only received a slap on the hand.