My name is Jennie and I am a victim of an underage drunk driver. The crash happened on April 23rd of
2000. My husband Mac and I had been out of town at a friends house. Before we could leave a very large storm moved through
the area, so we decided to wait till the storm was over to leave. It was around 1:30 in the morning before it was over. I
don't like being on the road that late, but that morning was Easter Sunday. We needed to get home to the kids, so we went.
We were driving on Highway 80 in Mesquite Texas, and the drunk driver and his sober passenger were on a local side street,
that came to a dead-end onto the service road of the highway. The drunk and the passenger were fighting. The passenger wanted
the drunk to pull over and let him drive, but he would not. Instead he drove and was supposed to yield at a yield sign,
but he came to a complete stop and then floored it. He jumped the little concrete curb that the sign was on and ran over the
sign. He then jumped the curb of the service road and flew in the air off of the service road and the 30 foot embankment and
onto the highway and into us. He hit us head on and my side(the passenger side). Mac was pinned in the truck but thank God
he was not hurt seriously. He had three broken ribs, a cut on his chin and a large puncture wound to his leg and a broken
finger. I was ejected (seat-belt broke) onto the highway, I landed right in the middle of the two vehicles. I suffered many
many serious injuries. I had two breaks to my sternum, a crushed pelvis, and broke both femurs. I was taken to the
nearest trauma center in Dallas, called Baylor University Medical Center of Dallas. I then went into emergency surgery for
about 6 hours to repair my legs. The surgeon put a steel rod in my right leg and removed the broken bone chips (lost over
an inch of bone) and put plates and screws in my left leg just above the knee and extend upward, stops just below my
hip. This break pinched the femoral artery and the surgeon wasn't sure he could save this leg due to the damage. I spent the
next three and a half weeks in ICU on a respirator and in a coma. A few days after the crash the doctors realized that the
tissue and skin in my legs was dying. This is called shirring, and was caused when the flesh was torn loose from the muscle
and its blood supply at the impact. I had four operations cutting this dead flesh out. Then another operation almost a month
later to do skin graphs to close up the holes in both legs. Due to all these surgeries and the crash I was given a total of
fifteen units of blood during these weeks. I was listed as critical and my family was being told that the doctors did
not know if they could save either one of my legs or my life for all of those three and a half weeks. I did not have surgery
on my pelvis because I was in the coma and immobile. The doctor said it would heal fine that way. Finally I woke up and
was weaned off of the respirator. I was moved to a room on the orthopedic floor and was there for another five weeks. I was
then moved to a rehab hospital. I spent another four weeks living there learning to situp, stand, and walk again. When I was
released I still had to go to out patient rehab three days a week for four to five hours per day. I did this for six months,
then had to go twice a week for two to three hours per day and did this for another three months. I went from a bed,
to a wheelchair, to a walker and now must walk with a cane unless in my own home. I had six surgeries total and was told I
might need two or three more. I have permanent nerve damage in my left foot caused by the repair of the femoral artery, along
with a dropped foot. My right leg is over an inch shorter, that causes a severe limp and back problems. I still have a lot
of pain, and a lot of trouble walking. I have severe swelling problems and have developed Heterotopic bone buildup. It is
a calcium formation that formed at all break sights. It has caused my right knee not to bend and is a knot the size of a large
grapefruit. I have sever arthritis now and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and sleeping problems. I have also
found that I have hypothyroidism caused by the trauma of the crash as well as iron and blood issues.
As for the drunk driver. The police report and court records show his name is Charlie K. Knoerr
and that he was seventeen at the time. He was driving his Mother's Mustang GT. He got a total of six stitches. His passenger
received a broken collarbone. The drunk driver was tested at the hospital and his BAC was .195 almost three times the
legal limit in Texas. He was charged with one felony count of intoxication assault. He plead guilty. He then received
ten years of probation, one hundred and eighty days in the Dallas County jail. (I asked for leniency due to his age)
He was to do community service with the local MADD chapter. He also was to attend several classes and programs.
Like the Texas VIP and CAT programs. He must pay restitution to me, and has a breath tester (interlockin device) on his car.
He had NO insurance at all. My Mother and Mac were forced by the hopsital to get Medicaid for me while I was in
the coma. Medicaid paid a very small part and the rest was charged to me and is now on my credit.
UPDATE: His probation was revoked due to him not reporting, not paying
fines and fees, not paying restitution, and completing any of the programs he was ordered to do and not ever showing up to
his community service with MADD. He also committed another offense. It was a theft offense, for stealing alcohol. His sentence
was set on May 2nd of 2003 to the max sentence for intox assault in Texas of 10 years in the Texas State Prison System. He will
come up for review once a year...(which I will fight until I believe he has changed and taken responsibility for his actions
that night!) His restitution to me has been added to his parole, for when he gets out, he is to pay the balance owed.***
***Update Cont... (2011)
He was released from prison in May of 2011 under parole with conditions. ***
This has changed my life forever. This has changed my entire families lives. We/I
will never be the same again. Not only do I have to suffer from physical and mental pain I am no longer able to work. I have
been found to be 100% disabled by Social Security.
I thank GOD everyday for saving me and for the family that I have. If not for all of them I could not have
come through this at all.