Woman hit by drunk driver urges safe NYE

Woman hit by drunk driver urges safe NYE

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by Nina Mehlhaf, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 5:17 PM

PORTLAND -- A Portland woman, who survived a horrible drunk driving crash shared her story, hoping it stays in the back of your mind on New Year's Eve.

Joan Miller and her husband were hit by a drunk driver with a .24 blood alcohol level while they were in Utah for a conference 14 years ago.

Her skull fractured in dozens of places and the shards punctured her brain, causing it to bleed. She had such a horrible brain injury, that she had to re-learn how to walk, talk and even swallow. She can never drive or work again. She, along with Legacy Emanuel trauma surgeons, Oregon State Police and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission gathered to share their stories of just how dangerous New Year's Eve can be.

"The fact that (the drunk driver) was over-served is pretty much unforgivable because obviously when you reach that blood alcohol content, you are visibly drunk," said Miller, who's a sober-driving advocate for Legacy hospitals. "But they kept serving him so it was for the sake of a dollar or two and that's just not right. Human lives are at stake here."

New Year's is, by far, the busiest night for hospitals everywhere doctors say. The same goes for police. Oregon State Police say their troopers hand out more DUIIs, and have more deadly crashes on that night than any other.

Doctors see car crashes, fights, pedestrians hit, and overdoses. Legacy Emanuel says 83 percent of everyone in the emergency room last year was legally drunk.

"If people want to party, that's OK but do it safely," said Dr. Ameen Ramzy, a trauma surgeon at Emanuel. "If you're going to party on New Year's Eve, do it like it's the beginning of the year, so you plan to have a 2014."

The OLCC says if you're hosting a party, watch what your guests drink and call cabs.The host can be held liable if someone gets into trouble on the way home.

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