When I was 16 in April 1992, a driver with a 0.28 BAC (blood alcohol level) hit me head-on. The collision caused a coma, brain injuries, and paralysis with multiple broken and dislocated bones. I stayed in two hospitals for seven months; 17 months of therapy followed. Relearning to walk and talk was difficult.
Although my hearing is damaged, I became a strong partner with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) two decades ago. We educate people throughout Central San Joaquin Valley about the dangers of impaired driving. Safer roads resulted, and I’m happy that some of my students went on to UCSB and took what they learned with them. Spreading that safety throughout California is my goal. And I learned in June that the CHP appreciates my work when CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow surprised me with the department’s highest honor — the Commissioner’s Medal of Distinction. It was the fourth awarded since 1929.
Holiday celebrations normally contain alcoholic beverages. Do not make destructive decisions like drinking and driving. I urge all to designate a sober driver before festivities begin. This hero avoiding alcohol drives those who drink to prevent crashes like mine, including those with fatal outcomes.