Thursday, July 21, 2011

DUI Driver Runs Into Us 12/19/2010

  Grove of Trees

There was no way we would avoid a crash seven months ago. The driver was not going to stop at the stop sign to enter Highway 39. He would hit us!

Why am I waiting so long to tell the story on this blog? I was advised not to talk until we went to court. The attorney decided to not take the case recently, and so I can tell our story. Yes it is so ironic that an instructor who teaches the twelve-hour class for persons arrested for impaired driving would herself get into a crash with a DUI driver!

July 2nd I started my class showing this picture of a totaled car with the senior couple in it. The wife had IDENTIFED the speeding car, DECIDED what her options were, and ACTED quickly hoping to avoid an accident. There were no oncoming vehicles in the two-lane highway and she had headed to the opposite ditch. BAM! They were hit!  The gentleman got out of his Explorer, staggered, and looked at the couple in the car and then took off. The Explorer trying to flee lost control and ended up driving on the railroad tracks before being stopped by perfect strangers who also waited for the authorities to come. The good old boys of Plant City were not about to let him get away! The fuzzy picture at the top of this blog shows that gentleman and his car. All this I told them July 2nd, the first session of the class.

I didn't tell them all the facts of that December 19, 2010 crash where we could have been killed:
  • 5:01 pm the Sheriff receives call from 911 dispatcher.
  • 5:08 pm they arrive at scene.
  • Paramedics check us out. A huge bump on my husband's leg gets treated with an ice pack. I suspect that the glove compartment flew open and caused this. Note in the pictures how close my husband in the passenger seat was to being hit straight on!
  • A lovely lady whose husband is the Youth Minister at a nearby church comes and prays with us.  She also uses my digital camera to shoot pictures. Later I take the picture of that grove of trees.
  • The daughter of my husband comes and we transfer items to her car where we wait until they are able to let us leave. (I had called her on my cell and police let her car through the barricade.)
  • A tow truck carts off our Saturn.
  • Railroad worker inspects the train track.
  • 7:00 Report is finished and we are allowed to leave. We see Explorer driver given sobriety tests as we leave.
  • 9:00 Arrest for DUI with Property Damage and no valid driver's license. He did not face other charges according to the Sheriff's on-line report such as: open container (reportedly he had taken them out of car); fleeing the scene; running a stop sign; and no valid insurance.
  • 10:37 PM Gentleman is checked into jail and bond is set at $2,750. DUI with property damage is $500, $250 no driver's license, $2000 for previous warrant for no driver's license. BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) given as .172/.180. This makes his BAC well over .25 (three times the presumptive legal limit in Florida) at the time of his crash and the estimate is that he could have had ten beers or whatever alcoholic drink he chose to imbibe in a short period of time. (You lose .015 BAC per hour after you stop drinking.)
  • Meanwhile at home my husband goes to bed with yogurt and his medicine including Ibuprofen which his daughter thoughtfully goes out to get for us. I take a pain med and Ibuprofen and start to get food before I pass out. I recall holding strangely to the kitchen counter and thinking what am I doing this for? I was passing out. I raise up and fall down and vomit. I call my sweetheart and he comes and then leaves and vomits. Our problem was we didn't eat enough with the meds.
  • Middle of the night my husband complains of back pains. I finally get to sleep at 4:30 AM.
  • Monday at 9 AM call State Farm Insurance and receive calls from them all day. Both of us are sore.
  • 4 PM husband has doctor's appointment, gets anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant, shot, and prescription for x-rays for his back. My doctor will get back to me about an appointment on Wednesday. But he never did after three calls to his office and consequently I got a new primary care physician in January.
  • Tuesday morning my husband can't get out of bed. Eight hours later we call for a non-emergency ambulance and he is transported to Plant City Baptist Hospital where he stays for at least 24 hours.
  • Christmas day we are in pain, but so grateful to be alive. The DUI driver is still in jail and as I remember his trial was in jail about two weeks after the crash; fleeing the scene and other charges were then added.
  • We begin going to a chiropractor three times a week. My hands and wrists need treatment because I had been holding tight to the steering wheel during the crash. I have a medium whip lash and much back pain. My husband is also treated for a whip last and back pain. My treatment continues to this day--now once a week. My husband finished his treatment about two months ago.
  • While we were checked out for injuries at the scene, my chest pain did not appear to be a heart attack. What developed was extensive bruises on my right breast from the seat belt. My new doctor felt that the hardness might be due not just to the seatbelt injuries, but could also be breast cancer. A surgeon has been monitoring that situation, but it appears to be a large hemotoma instead. The breast will continue to remain misshaped the surgeon says. I see that surgeon again in January of 2012.
Back to the last class I taught earlier this month. On July 9th at the end of the mandated class for arrested DUI drivers that I teach, we started to write our plans to never ever get another DUI. I showed them the crash picture again and you could hear a pin drop when I said,

"My husband and I are the senior couple in this crash."

I told them briefly what we had been going through. I asked, "Is it effective to learn your instructor's story? Will it help you make plans to not get another DUI?" They all agreed it was effective and so that is why I am now telling my story now.


  1. Great post. I bet this will help them make the right choices. They just have to think about what you told them and remember the pictures once and it could save there lives.

  2. Thanks, Karen, and I do talk about the crash when I teach. I am adding to this post of over a year ago.


Thanks for your careful reflection here. Best to you as you continue to not drive impaired by alcohol or other drugs; also DO not text and eat while driving. Pull over to the side of the road if you need to do that.