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The worse thing that can happen when you have been hit by a drunk driver, is you die . . or is it? Sometimes I wondered.







Don & Kathy



The following is the story of how our lives were change drastically one February night on the 9th 1990.

We were a very happy family we had been married for 16 years had 2 great girls Samantha 9 and Jamie 8. I was working for the same company for 14 years and was being to move up in the company. Matter a fact that is what we were doing the faithful Friday night celebrating my first ever bonus check by going out to dinner.
We were having a great time with our kids and when it was time to go Kathy and Jamie went out and got the car while me and Samantha pay the check. We got into the car and Kathy started to leave the lot it was about 6:30pm I was making sure the girls were belted in for the ride home. Kathy pulled out onto the road and stated to go when I looked up and saw a car coming right at us very fast with out head lights as did Kathy. With no time to reacted BANG it was over hit head on at 65mph plus our good life end that night in a millisecond. Jamie was slumped over and apparently not breathing Samantha was screaming and crying about her back hurt and what was going on. I was trapped with the dash board down on my knees as was Kathy with the steering wheel in her chest .The hardest thing in the world we could not reach our children and did not know if Jamie was alive or dead. A man came out of the darkness of the night to see how we were all I could do was plead to him to get help and check on Jamie. He reached in the broken widow and put his hand on her back and she moaned so we knew she was at least alive. The man ran to the apartments building to get the police and ambulances then came back and tried to comfort us.

Next the horror begin the firemen got there first and got Jamie out and were going to take her to the hospital but Kathy yelled out not with out me. They got her free and the fireman said we need to take her now if you can walk to the ambulance you can go otherwise we must leave now. Well needless to say she walked to the ambulance little did we know her leg was broke in 2 places her heart was bruised, ribs were broke and several bad gashes on her knees and head. When they got to the hospital she could not get out of the ambulance they had to back board her and everything else to get her out. But she was not going to let Jamie go with out here. At the emergency room mother and daughter were separated, Kathy could hear doctors call a CODE BLUE and shouted across the emergency room, " Jamie Mom loves you." They then stabilized Jamie and rushed her to Childers hospital some 50 miles away while Kathy had to stay behind. The lining of Jamie's brain was torn and fluid coming out so she need the best. Meanwhile they got Samantha out of the car that seemed like forever. They left me till last because I was screaming and yelling that I want to get my hands on the drunk that had done this to us. Know me and Samantha are in a ambulance and the inform me they are taking us to a different hospital some 15 miles away from were Kathy is because one hospital could not handle all the trauma patients at once.

Now it begins we are in 3 different hospital can not get to one another or know what is going on talk about a heart ache. After about 3 hours or so of folks all over me doing all sorts of things they wheel Samantha over to me we are both still in ER we talk for a few I try and reassure her everything is going to be ok even thought I do not believe it myself. Then they come and take her to a room and sedate her so she can sleep. The nurses in the ER where I am and the ones in the ICU were Kathy is get us hooked u on the phone for a few. We still do not know much of what is going on with the kids we try and be positive but both of us are in fear of what is going on. It is about 4:30 am I am still in the ER because they have no open beds in the ICU unit when a nurses come over to me and say Mr. Valone your daughter Jamie had to have emergence brain surgery and she is in a coma and they say the next 72hours with tell what will happen to her. I just lose it and start to cry I want to got to her side but can not even get of the gurney have never felt so helpless in my life as I did at that moment.

Well it about 9:00am the next morning and I am still laying a gurney in ER for the last 13 hours when they finally come and take me to a room in ICU. Still not getting much info on what is going on would not here anything really till the next day. I find out my leg is broken my ribs are to my face is a mess and I hurt all over. I find out they are not sure what all is wrong with Samantha but it turns out her back is broke at the fourth and fifth vertebrate. Jamie is still in a coma and no one is say anything except the next 72hrs will tell what the hell dose that mean I keep asking with out getting a answer. Find out about Kathy broken leg, bruised heart, broken ribs, and cut and rips on her knees and face.

Well that was the first 23 hours of terror we had to deal with. Kathy spent 5 days in the hospital I was in for 7 days. Samantha was in 9 days and released in a body cast for her back but ended back in after 3 days her intestines were restricted and they missed it while she was in there so they had to do emergence surgery. After that they gave us a choice either back surgery to fuse the vertebrae and put her in a removable cast for 6 months or have the cast put back on and for 6 month and still may need the surgery. This was just great another life decision to be made by Kathy and me. We decided to have the doctor explain both opinions to 9 year old Samantha and see what she wants. A huge burden taken of our shoulders with out hesitation Samantha chooses the surgery. Jamie spent over a month in the hospital This keeps her in the hospital for 10 more days and has me and Kathy taking turns spending the day with the kids we each go to difference hospitals each day we are both in wheel chairs and have to be driven in a van.

Although we survived, we suffered serious injuries. Three of the four of us suffered closed head injuries. Jamie's injuries were the most severe spending over a month in the hospital a year in full time rehab, three eye surgeries, six different schools and 4 rehab facilities. In addition to a head injury, Samantha suffered fractured vertebrae and gastrointestinal damage. Kathy, suffered broken legs, bruised organs, including heart and lungs fractured ribs and lacerations. I suffered broken leg, ribs, and lacerations.

Today, Kathy and myself are in constant pain and face double knee replacements. I suffer from memory, concentration loss, and depression Both Samantha and Jamie have learning disabilities and Jamie still has seizures. At 19, she lags behind her peers both emotionally and socially. Jamie has been in a live in rehab since September of 1999 trying to learn to be somewhat independent. She has just graduated high school in 2001 a very big step for her. Samantha has her own home and stared a child care business of her own. Kathy has been Working as a nanny since 2000 since she dose not have Jamie to care for. Myself I have lost my job of 24 years due to what they call job elimination. Due to the crash I was in a different position than before the crash and the job I had before was not eliminated so after 11 years the crash still affects my life. I have not been able to find another job due to my age and injuries. We all suffer depression on and off and deal with the pain every day

There is so much more I could say but this I getting to long as it is. I am sure the following pages will tell the rest.

This page is dedicated to my family and all injury victims of a drunk driver.

Remember there are worst things in life than death.


This is how often someone is injured by a drunk driver.

Every minute 1.2
Every hour 72
Every Day 1,730
Every Week 12,115
Every Year 630,000

Truly a devastating numbers that seems not to be recognized and served as they should be.