The Air Force Didn't Prepare Me For This

Not everyone can look at their life and pinpoint a date that their life took a 180-degree turn. Especially at age 25, but I can. August 26, 2015. A beautiful summer day, I was a passenger riding passenger in a car with the windows down, listening to Justin Timberlake, looking out of the window and admiring the view. I shifted my view forward and in the distance, there was a little red car. In an instant that little red car became my worst nightmare. At 3:49 in the afternoon that little red car glided into our lane and hit us head on going 70 mph.

A while ago there was an Allstate commercial that showed a car crash and in the middle of these two cars colliding it freezes the image and rotates around the scene. You see the people in the cars frozen with their bodies flinging forward, the little shards of shattered glass frozen in the air, and the air bags half way deployed. All things you’d expect to see in a car crash.   I’m here to tell you that that was my experience. I remember just after the impact, before I passed out, seeing the little pieces of glass and dirt sort of floating in the air around me, feeling a tremendous amount of pressure all over my body, and then I was out. 

I woke up leaning on the inside of the car door with my arm hanging outside the window, I felt like I was being suffocated by the air bags. I could see a person trying to talk to me, but all I could hear was ringing in my ears. Eventually, I figured out that the lady outside of the window was asking about the driver. At that moment, I don’t think I knew what was happening around me, much less understand the events that were unfolding. So, I turned to the left and I saw the driver, Adam, leaning forward, with his whole body only held up by his seatbelt. I took my left arm, tapped him, and he jolted awake. He looked at me and I looked at him, we didn’t exchange words. I watched him sort of check himself over, unbuckle his seatbelt, open the door, and get out of the car.  

I still hadn’t figured out what was happening or what had happened. I thought, “Well I should get out now.” I tried to move my legs, but I couldn’t feel them. My right hand was so swollen that it was probably bigger than a softball so that option was out too. My left hand and arm felt pretty good so, I pushed down on the center console with it trying to see if I could adjust myself or anything. The second I pushed down I felt and heard my sternum crack. Cue pain. I panicked. I started to hyperventilate and got real freaked out to say the least. Adam came over to my side of the car and was able to calm me down a little. While in the car I really didn’t know the extent of my injuries. The only thing I could see was how messed up my hand was. I remember telling someone how much it hurt, and this guy I think saw how afraid I was and saw the rest of the crash so he tried to downplay it by saying “Oh you probably just broke a few fingers.” I must have looked at him like he was crazy because I had eyes that could see much more than a few broken fingers. In fact, turns out I didn’t break any fingers, just every other bone in my hand. 

It seemed like I was stuck for hours, I felt myself getting really tired, sort of dozing in and out. Adam and others that came to the window must have seen it too because I was constantly being told to stay awake. Then, I heard a helicopter in the distance getting closer and closer and then it landed. I thought “Yes this is it I’m getting out of here, I’m going to be okay!” But, then it left. My only thought when it left was that I was going to die. But God had another plan.
Shortly after the helicopter left, all the emergency personnel came over to my window and they said they were going to get me out. They reached through the window and put a neck brace around my neck and asked if I was ready, as if I had a choice. Up to this point the only pain I really felt was my hand and my chest where my sternum cracked. There was/is nothing in this world that could have prepared me for what happened next. . . .
December is National Impaired Driving Month
Reflections From Inside

If you know someone who drives impaired but not sure how to intervene, send them this link . It is our international award winning PSA about a convicted drunk driver, Chris Padilla, speaking from prison about what happened when he killed a police officer, while driving drunk. Remember Chris's mantra, "Think Twice."

We Save Lives Celebrates Jordan's Life

We Save Lives celebrates Jordan's life. He was killed by a drunk driver. Unfortunately his killer, despite previous DUI's, received only 27 days in jail. The war against impaired drivers is not over. That is why it is more important than ever that you hound your legislators and Governor to do everything they can to hold impaired drivers accountable.

If you want to share your story, please do. Send your photos and let us know how you feel. It does make a difference. I know. I shared mine for years and people listened and because so many other survivors joined me, drunk driving, is now socially unacceptable. Thank you, Carol Oschin, for allowing us to share your son, Jordan's story.

A Message from Our President,

This is the time when politicians and highway safety officials rattle off statistics about how serious the impaired driving problem is, but statistics only tell half the story. The rest of the story is about you and me and all those whose lives have been touched, devastated, destroyed and impacted by an impaired driver. Please remember and honor those who are no longer with us or who are injured and suffering the horrible consequences of someone's dangerous driving decision by driving sober. Because we care . . . Candace Lightner

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