With tears in her eyes and a plea not to drink and drive, Kim Parre, a victim of a drunk driver's head-on accident with her in 1990, revealed her story publicly for the first time yesterday.
The occasion was a National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month presentation at City Hall attended by Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Ms. Parre, a disc jockey at an Annapolis radio station, said she is "still troubled with memory loss, and I cannot remember the birth of my child or the first words or step the child took."
"The seat belt saved my life, but I received a large and severe laceration across my forehead, a fractured nose and several fractured ribs," she said. "I sometimes get lost going to and from work, and I cannot remember my childhood or high school days."
She said the driver of the car who caused the head-on crash with her vehicle was charged with his second drunken driving offense, and he was driving in the wrong direction on the roadway when he struck her.
"He was sentenced to one year in jail, but six months of that was suspended and his license was suspended for only two months," she said "He is now back on the road driving again."
Mayor Brown, in a proclamation issued as part of a MADD national project, declared December "Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month" in Westminster.
"A drunk driver on the highway is as dangerous as a person with a gun firing indiscriminately," the mayor said. He told the audience to remember, especially during the holiday season, that, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."
Statistics presented at the meeting indicated that nearly 20,000 highway deaths each year are caused by drivers and pedestrians impaired by alcohol and other drugs.
Nearly half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related and a person dies every 22 minutes in an alcohol-involved accident.
Cheri Stoesser, a MADD member and victim assistant in Howard County, said her daughter "spent 50 hours on the operating table after her entire body was crushed in a drunk driving head-on collision six years ago.
"She survived and is now in college after many operations by plastic surgeons to reconstruct her face," Mrs. Stoesser said. "She has metal bars in her face and in her legs.
"The driver of the car who caused the accident, and had been a close friend of my daughter, served six months of a one-year sentence and has never apologized," Mrs. Stoesser said.
Shirley Hampt, president of the Carroll County chapter of MADD, urged anyone too drunk to drive to accept the offer of Becker's Service Center to tow the person's automobile, and take the driver and occupants to their homes. The offer is good from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1.
Ms. Hampt said that MADD's red ribbons are available in the area to tie on cars, and everyone should "Tie one on for safety."
Angie Becker, whose husband Mike manages Becker's Service Center, told the audience this is the fourth year they have offered the safe tow-home program and that someone will be available 24 hours a day to take calls.
Westminster police spokesman Cpl. RicK May said anybody who thinks they are too intoxicated to drive can also call the police station, and officers there will pass the information to Becker's Service Center.