Special Report: DWI Survivor Aaron Edward's Story
Updated: Monday, February 11 2013, 10:10 PM EST
A year ago, Aaron Edwards graduated from high school with high hopes for the future. Today Aaron is confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from from chest down.
"They don't know for sure if I'll be able to walk again, but I know I will be, because you got to have faith," said Aaron. He admits his current condition is the result of a bad decision he made to get in the car with a drunk driver.
"I really don't remember the wreck or nothing at all."
The wreck was horrific. A speeding car packed with six teens, an open bottle of vodka found inside.
Said Aaron, "only thing I remember is waking up." That was after the car careened off the road and smashed into a tree. It would take rescuers over an hour to free all the youngsters from the wreckage.
Now, Aaron's funfilled days of hanging with friends and partying are a thing of the past. Lately his days are spent struggling with the basics. "It's kind of hard now to pick up my arm and get it held right where I can brush my teeth." Aaron spent weeks at CarePartners Health Services re-learning how to do simple things most people take for granted. He also had to learn how to operate his new motorized wheelchair down the narrow halls of the hospital.
Aaron's next challenge is re-learning how to type so he can update his Facebook page. "In this case we're working more on his ability to physically access his environment," said rehab specialist Susan Gillison. He also must adjust to being totally dependent on someone else for everything.
Never far away, his dad Elvis is helping Aaron overcome these new challenges by attending to every detail. "We just take it day by day and as long as he makes a little progress we're happy, tickled," said Elvis.
His dad said the good news is Aaron's spinal cord isn't severed, it's pinched. That means there's a possibility he could one day walk again. Said Elvis, "it's a matter of prayer is what it is."
Back at home local church members volunteered to build a ramp for Aaron's wheelchair just in time for his release from CarePartners. "I told him don't worry about it, he's got a lot of other things to worry about. We will build it," said Tommy Hendley of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church.
As Aaron begins his long road to recovery he has a message for other teens who might also find themselves drinking and driving. "It's best to go ahead and do the right thing. Take their keys no matter how mad they get and call their parents and tell them where y'all are."
Two parents and a teen passenger in the car were charged with providing the liquor in this tragic case. The teen driver also faces DWI charges.
By: Mario Boone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Twitter: @marioboone