Never Forgetting the Victims & Their Families

Barbara Rokas

When Barbara Rokas says, “Please don’t drink and drive” she speaks from her heart.  She is paying a very heavy price for a stranger’s drunk driving.

Barbara taught first grade at the Schulyer School in Kearny, New Jersey.  On October 25, 1990 at 3:30 PM, two blocks from her school, a driver who had been drinking since 7:00 AM hit the side of her car.  She was thrown clear out of her seat belt.  The sturdy construction of her Volkswagen Golf is what she credits as saving her life.

As a result of a head injury, Barbara has lost the movement of her right side.  She had almost five hundred stitches from her right elbow to the right side of her head.  She was thought to be dead until a paramedic saw one finger moving under a covering sheet.   She has had multiple operations, but she will never regain the use of her right arm.  Barbara is still receiving counseling for the trauma caused by the crash.

For twenty years, Barbara has been breeding and training a line of Brittanys, but she can no longer take her championship dogs out in the fields or to competitions.  She also can no longer ride her Tennessee Walker horses.  Barbara and her husband, Bob, thought their dream was coming true when they bought a fifty-two acre farm with a one hundred and fifty-year-old farmhouse.  They worked hard on renovating the house, but Barbara cannot go up stairs, or out to the barn and kennels, anymore.
The driver who turned Barbara and Bob’s life upside down served two months in jail.  Barbara and Bob will have to cope for a lifetime.  Barbara wants to share this message; “Drivers should not drink at all.  Have a designated driver.  Think what carelessness costs.”

Submitted by Barbara and Bob Rokas