December 3, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Accident victim speaks out

To motorists everywhere:

Maybe if we tell our story, you will think twice before you decide to drink and drive. Not just once, but twice my car was hit by drunk drivers. The first one so drunk that he didn’t even know what happened. The second one underage.

I had to listen to one of my closest friends of 15 years scream frantically about how she had to get out of the car after the first hit. I had to watch Meg looking so shocked as I asked her if she had her phone and Meg, Whit, and I had to see Savannah bloody and unconscious.

As soon as Whit got out of the car and on the pavement, we were hit a second time. Savannah still unconscious. Meg too.

On the phone with 911, not knowing if Whitney was okay, if Savannah would be okay — not knowing if Meg would be okay. I wanted to stop. I wanted to make sure Meg and Savannah were okay, I couldn’t. The second car was on fire.

I had to slide between the door side of the passenger seat of my car and the seat to get out of the back passenger side door. I tried to stand, i couldn’t. I just knew both of my feet were broken.

I had people hollering at me to get up and walk, “the car is going to explode,” they kept saying — but I COULDN’T! I slid across both north bound lanes of the interstate into the median where I rolled about 100 yards before I was met by help. I was told everyone would be okay.

I was scared — more scared than I have been in my 25 years.When I was loaded into the ambulance, Whit was in there. She grabbed my hand and asked me to not let go. We were separated at the hospital. I could only assume she was okay.

I pulled up Facebook to check something and the first thing I saw read ” 5 injured, 1 dead”. It was Meg. One week before her wedding.
One week before Savannah, Whit and I were to stand beside her and watch her marry the love of her life.

I delivered a shirt for Meghann to a girl she went to grad school with. I told her I feel like I know so many people I’ve never even met because of all of this. She hugged me and told me she was praying  for us. I thanked her and told her it was hard, but we will get through it.
She told me she was glad to see me smiling through it; something that hadn’t occurred to me before that very moment.

Every shirt I’ve delivered, every message I’ve sent on here, most text messages, I’ve smiled through them. Ya know, Meg had the most infectious smile.

We would joke and try to get her to stop smiling, nothing worked. I remember when this nightmare first began I said that I wish I could be more like Meg-o. You’re probably thinking “you can,” but it’s just not that simple.

I’ve spent a lot of time angry, sad, mad crying… a lot of time hurting. My heart hurts so much for Meg’s family, her sweet Kenneth and all of her friends. Each one of us feel a different pain — it’s pain nonetheless.

While you enjoyed your holidays with your friends and family, I hope you remembered that there are families, like Meg’s, that had an empty chair this holiday season. Not by choice. Yet, somewhere, there were two drunk drivers enjoying family functions with their families. Meg would be okay with that, no doubt she forgives them.

There hasn’t been a time I’ve gotten into a vehicle since the accident where I haven’t replayed the events of that night or think that it is going to happen again. Before this, I loved to drive. I’d drive anywhere. Now, I hate it.

I hope that through this we can all learn to be more selfless. Be more like Meghann. Forgive like Meg and love like Meg.

The realization that sweet Meg is gone hurts. That Savannah and I have had surgery and a rough healing process sucks. That our normal was completely taken from us by two drunk drivers sucks.

No one should ever have to go through something like this because it is 100% preventable. The heartache and injuries are something everyone involved will have to deal with for the rest of their lives.

We could go on for pages about how much our lives have changed since all of this. About how simple things seem so complex.

Just remember that you are not invincible. It CAN happen to you. When you have that “just one more” drink — think about other people. Be selfless. Don’t drive drunk.

Emily Thompson

Franklin, GA

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