drunk driving ruined my 21st birthday
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Student Life

My 21st Birthday Was Ruined By A Drunk Driver, I Was A Passenger In Their Car

I look over and see the driver of the other car clutching her phone in her right hand and looking directly at me and screaming at the top of her lungs, "I CAN'T MOVE I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS" over and over.

Celina Taylor
Celina Taylor

It's two hours before my 21st birthday and I'm in the car with my two best friends at the time, Celina and Tasha*. I look up and see a stop sign and decided to look down at my phone to text one of my friends when I heard Tasha* say, "Oh sh*t," and looked up to see headlights headed straight towards us.

"I'M GOING TO DIE!" my brain screams. I'm thinking I won't even live to see my 21st birthday. The car hits us. We're SOARING towards something and then all of a sudden we stop. I reach over and put her car in park and turn it off. My door gets stuck on the sidewalk we drove over and I'm panicking because I can't believe Tasha* wrecked her car two hours before my birthday and I cannot get out of the car. What if it blows up?

Then, I'm out of the car. I'm sitting on the sidewalk trying to catch my breath as I'm deep in a panic attack. I look over and see the driver of the other car clutching her phone in her right hand and looking directly at me and screaming at the top of her lungs, "I CAN'T MOVE I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS" over and over.

Some time passes and Tasha* comes over to me and she's sobbing. She's begging me to claim my sober friend, Celina, was driving. Never asks if I'm okay. Just begs for me to cover for her. When I tell her that I don't feel comfortable doing that for her, she walks away. Then, the ambulances appear to take the other driver away. I'm riddled with panic and I can't calm down. The police show up. They interview me and my sober friend, Celina. They ask us what happened that led us here…

The three of us are at my place and hanging out before my birthday while I finished getting ready. My sober friend, Celina drives us to the house show in Tasha's* car. I'm unsure how much I've even had to drink at this point because I'm PRE-GAMING MY 21ST BIRTHDAY. I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DRINK FOR MY BIRTHDAY WITHOUT THE WORRY OF DYING.

Anyway, we hang out at the house show, then, we decide to drive to McMenamins and hang until my birthday officially happens. On the way to the car, Tasha* grabs her keys from Celina and she PROMISES us that she isn't drunk at all. That she's totally fine to drive. I was so sure she was okay that I didn't even bother to continue pressing her. We'd been watching her drink at various points in the night, but truly, she seemed fine. But, I shouldn't have let her drive. I should've INSISTED that my sober friend drove. But I was SO convinced she was fine because she's apparently great at lying. She even convinced my SOBER friend that she was good.

Let's catch up; I'm recounting this whole story to the police. I'm thinking about how she asked me to lie for her and how she might have just paralyzed the other driver due to her irresponsible, self-destructive behavior. After the interview, I call my boyfriend and he comes and holds me while I sob and continue having panic attacks. I cannot believe I was involved in another car accident, I think. I still haven't gotten used to being in a car after the last accident and nobody was drunk in that one or as severely injured.

I look over and Tasha* is being pulled into the police car after failing her sobriety test. I watch as the cops haul her off. The police release us and my boyfriend drives Celina and I home. He stops at Safeway to buy ice cream sandwiches, icy hot patches, and sunflowers (my favorite flowers). Then, he spends the next weekend making sure I'm truly okay because I'm straight up blessed to have this man in my life.

My PTSD from this accident is very apparent. Whenever I'm in a vehicle, if any car approaches me from the side, my anxiety increases and I immediately start panicking. It's almost impossible for me to feel comfortable in a car. My anxiety around drunken people has also increased; It's hard for me to trust anyone when they tell me they're sober enough to drive.

Tasha* made my anxiety worse than it's ever been. She f*cked me up in ways I couldn't even have imagined previously. I must attend both physical and massage therapy twice a week for, at least, eight weeks. My neck is super f*cked up and I can't even enjoy house shows anymore because dancing AND photographing hurt my neck. Tasha* doesn't even realize the consequences of her actions and I'm unsure if she'd care.

My former friend didn't end up paralyzing the other driver (I've heard she has a mild concussion), but hopefully, Tasha* realizes what she did was wrong. The reason I'm telling this story is to, hopefully, shine a light on the terrors drunk driving can cause. PLEASE DON'T DRIVE DRUNK. Please don't risk the lives of everyone in your car, yourself, and people in other cars. I'm begging you.

*Name changed

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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