Prom holds lifelong memories, and I did not go. I played sports at high schools in San Joaquin County, but graduated from Tracy High in 1993 in a wheelchair. I never planned to end school like that.
When I was 16, in 1992, a drunk driver 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 and 17 months of therapy followed. Not a life a teenager expects.
Some teens believe that drinking alcohol is mixed in with the fun of prom. That is wrong, especially if driving is included. Why copy a drunken driver? The hopes and dreams for my life unexpectedly ended as a teenager after a drunken driver hit me.
I cannot drive and hear perfectly now, but I can talk and walk. That is a huge achievement for me, considering my injuries.
My letters in newspapers throughout California and speeches at schools in the Central Valley brought more sober drivers to the roads. Law enforcement and I are determined to make that continue.
Teenagers, show us you have learned: Do not drink and drive. This saves lives, including yours.
Lori Martin, Tracy