Never Forgetting the Victims & Their Families


Jacquie Rose

January 5, 1987 was a cold, crisp, dry winter evening. I drove through the intersection of 66th Street and First Avenue in New York City under a green light, only one block from where my car had been parked. That was the last thing I remember. 

I woke in the emergency room more than six hours later to the sting of the last of 180 stitches in my shaved head. I learned what happened to me only because the secretary to the head of the trauma department happened to witness the accident. An intoxicated driver sped up First Avenue through red lights. He ran into the left side of my car, hitting it with such force that it spun around three times before hitting a light poll and stopping, with me unconscious at the wheel.

That was the beginning of a long, seven and a half-year journey to recovery.  I almost died the first week due to the blood loss. But I did not realize, as I lay in the hospital bed overwhelmed by the pain and the tubes running in and out of me, that the struggle to survive would not be the most difficult obstacle. When I left the hospital, I could not move my hand up and down, and had to be fed, dressed, lifted, and moved. From an independent professional that founded a successful PR consultant firm, I became totally dependent on others for basic care. 

I spent my time going to first the trauma, and then the rehab specialist; a neurologist, orthopedist, memory specialist, psychologist, a long series of physical therapists, and a chiropractor. In between, I spent my time at home, resting on a heating pad, ice pack, electrotherapy, with heavy medication for the pain.

Attending and becoming an active member and spokesperson for END DWI helped my recovery.  First there was the emotional support that the group offered. Then I felt that something positive could come from my horrible experience, if people heard my story, realized the horror that driving while intoxicated caused, and did not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

I channeled my anger at the driver who hit me into determination to recover. I still contend with backaches, but I am lucky to be here to tell the tale. 

Submitted by Jacquie Rose