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Woody Lee

Hi, my name is Woody. Before I begin my story, I would like to explain why I must read from these pages in order to tell you about my life. Since the day a drunk driver hit me, I can't remember things long enough to relate my story to you.

Because of him I have a brain injury and this injury makes it difficult to impossible for me to maintain my train of thought. I must read of the events since that day or you would not be able to follow what happened. Even though I can't look at you while I tell my story, I would appreciate if you would listen carefully. Try to understand how drinking and driving affects not only your life but your family's lives and the innocent victim's lives too.

Back in 1965 I was a high school athlete. I played football, I was one of the top two 100-yard sprinters in Minnesota track and I was a state champion in swimming on the 400- yard medley relay team. 

On March 16, 1967 I registered for college with hopes of attending medical school.
But that day a drunk driver ruined all of my plans for the future. He made the decision to drink and drive and that decision destroyed all of my hopes and dreams. 

That evening, my car was 8 feet off the freeway as I changed a flat tire. The drunk driver was going 70 plus miles per hour never left a skid mark before hitting me. He threw me 100 feet into the left lane of highway 494. He broke 19 of my bones. He broke my collarbone and my pelvis both in the front and the back. They never thought I would walk again- if I even SURVIVED. Both my arms and legs were more than broken, in fact my knee joints exploded. I was so bent and broken that when they found me my body was on top of my left foot. He gave me a brain concussion and brain damage. They thought my right hand would have to be amputated. I was in emergency surgery for about 12 hours and intensive care for a month before I showed any stable signs of life.

My life, the five years following the crash, were very difficult. I was hospitalized most of the next five years and had to endure 13 operations. During this time my folks divorced which I think was caused by the stress of my injuries and their fear for my future. Not long after my release from the hospital, my father died at the young age of 50. Again I feel it was due to the stress I created. I know I shouldn't say I caused the stress because:
The drunk driver caused it.
I felt like a burden to my parents. Because the drunk driver had no car insurance, my father was supporting his adult male son. He had to pay all of my bills. That was not his hopes for my life. In fact he had been teaching me to fly a plane before the drunk driver hit me. My dad was an airline pilot. He wanted me to fly with him and hoped we would work together at Northwest Airlines. BUT, I don't think he would have minded if I had become the doctor I wanted to be instead of a pilot. You see that is what I wanted to become… A doctor.

After the crash it would have been impossible both physically and mentally for me to become a doctor. As you can see, I was lucky they didn't have to amputate my whole hand. They only took a few fingers. Are these the hands of a doctor? I also wouldn't be able to stand much during the day because my knees bother me so much. I'm in constant pain. I'm losing my right leg due to permanent nerve damage. It is now 2 to 3 inches shorter than my left leg. But the worst injury was the massive brain trauma. My current memory is basically gone. I'm also manic/ depressive due to a chemical imbalance caused by my permanent brain injury. I have had hundreds of jobs since my health allowed me to go back to work. BUT I can't hold on to one of these jobs. Do you know a company that would hire someone that can't remember anything? I know some of you may be unemployed due to the economy, but I was going to be a doctor. Now I can't even hold a job making sandwiches. If you asked me to make you a ham on rye, by the time I went to make it I wouldn't remember and might bring you a dish of cottage cheese.

Do you know what happened to the guy who crashed into me? I won't call what happened an accident!!!! He chose to drink and drive… 
They charged him with drunk driving and fined him $100.00
He had two more DWI's after destroying my life. His second offense was reduced to careless driving and he was still allowed to drive to work under the Huber Law. His third DWI went to a jury trial and he got off scot free……… AGAIN!

I hope you will remember my story. Take a look at me and think of my life as it is now. But remember, I was once a happy healthy nineteen-year old. My future was bright and waiting for me to grab the gold ring. It was someone else's lack of responsibility that ruined my dreams. I would be willing to change places with any one of you. 
But would you want to be me??????
I don't think so. I would like to have my dreams back. Can you give them to me? No? But you are able to take responsibility for your own life and not take away someone else's dreams. Your lucky, you still have a chance to make the right choices.