BEAUMONT, Texas — Students at West Brook High School heard an important message on Tuesday about the dangers of drunk driving.
This was part of an event brought together by the mothers against drunk driving and Harley Davidson.
A man named Sean Carter shared his story with students. Carter became disabled after he got into the car with a drunk driver behind the wheel.
The now 39-year-old was 22 and attending college at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls when he made a decision that changed the course of his life.
The accident happened on March 27, 2005.
“What happened to me was unthinkable, but the unthinkable did happen,” Carter said. “Society glamorizes alcohol so much. What is never shown is what it does to people like me or people worse off than me.”
Carter and his friends had been drinking.
“Like the other guys I know, a good time could only be had if we had a beer in our hand,” Carter said.
Not realizing just how much alcohol he and his friend had consumed, Carter said he decided to ride home with them.
“We were on our way home, not five minutes from my apartment when the driver lost control of his truck and it spun and smashed into a tree on the passenger side,” Carter said. “That is where I was sitting.”
Carter said luckily a fire department was nearby. Emergency crews arrived at the scene quickly and used the jaws of life to get him out of the car.
Carter’s mother, who was also in attendance, said the truck's entire right side was smashed. As a result of the accident, Carter suffered a traumatic brain injury.
“I am unable to talk,” Carter said. “My hands are now cramped. For the first three years after the injury, I was unable to move anything on my right side.”
His mother said Carter’s head never hit anything when the crash happened. However, his head flew from side to side, causing his brain to rub against the inside of his skull, leading to an all-over brain injury.
While he was in the ICU, Carter said he had tubes in both sides of his chest. He also had to be transfused with 22 units of blood.
The driver managed to walk away. Carter now has 35 scars, 18 pieces of metal in his body and talks with a speech-generating device.
“All from one night of partying,” Carter said. “You know how they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Well, believe me, there were times when I thought it would never end. But time goes on no matter what, and here I am.”
At the time, Carter said he didn't think he was doing anything wrong.
“If I knew then that the decision I would make the night of March 27, 2005, would affect the rest of my life, leaving me unable to walk or talk freely, you can bet I would not have done what I did,” Carter said.
Carter said drunk driving is a crime, and it is time people start treating it like one.
“Drunk driving has caused horrible, tragic deaths,” Carter said. “It has also left people like me wishing we were dead at times."
Carter wanted to get this message out now as kids get ready for celebrations like graduation.
"Prom and the end of school are such an exciting time in your life along with the dances, football, and basketball games and various extracurricular activities," Carter said. "Students will be faced with some difficult choices. Those choices may seem worth it at the time for one night of fun, but don’t place your entire life behind one night of fun with alcohol or drugs because it could very well be your last night."
If you want to hear more of his story you can check out whenseanspeaks.com.