June 20, 2014
On June 20, 2014 I was hit head-on by a drug impaired driver while on my way to play flute at the ordination mass for a priest at my church. The crash happened less than one mile from my home in Pueblo West, CO. The man that hit me was 24 years old and driving without a valid license due to prior DUI charges. The vehicle he was driving belonged to his girlfriend’s father.
My injuries included bruises and burns from my seat belt and airbags, a concussion, and a shattered right knee cap. I had surgery the following morning to repair my knee cap. The surgeon was able to reconstruct about two-thirds of my knee cap; he said the rest of my knee cap was the consistency of sand. I spent the next 12 weeks in a leg immobilizer that started at my hip and went to my ankle. I was unable to bend my knee for the first 12 weeks. After a few months of physical therapy, I was released from care and told that my knee was as good as it will get. I regained most of my range of motion, but still have strength issues. I am unable to go up or down stairs without a hand rail and the surgeon thinks that I will need to have another surgery to address the severe scarring on my knee.
Concerned citizens that initially reported the driver as a suspected DUI followed him and recorded his reckless driving with a cell phone all the way to the collision. He agreed to a voluntary blood draw which confirmed the presence of marijuana and opiates including morphine. He was charged with DUI and vehicular assault due to DUI, and other charges. The court ruled that the sheriff’s deputy did not have sufficient probable cause to request a blood draw, so that evidence became inadmissible. The driver then pled guilty to vehicular assault due to reckless driving,and will be sentenced on April 10, 2015. By pleading to this lower charge, his recommended sentence range will be cut in half from what it would have been with the charge for vehicular assault due to DUI.