The Knoxville News Sentinel recently featured an article about Phaedra Marriott-Olson, MADD Tennessee Program Specialist and drunk driving crash survivor.
In May of 1996, the car Phaedra was driving was hit head on when a driver with a .08 BAC crossed the centerline into oncoming traffic. Phaedra spent five and a half weeks on life support after the crash that left her paralyzed. At the time, the legal limit to drive in Missouri was .10, so the driver was not charged with a DUI.
Phaedra did not waste any time turning her tragedy into a positive message. Even from her hospital bed she worked to put an end to drunk driving by allowing students to visit her hospital room to see first-hand the effects of drinking and driving.
Today, 21 surgeries later, Phaedra works full time for MADD Tennessee working with youth, giving parents the tools to talk to their teens about the dangers of underage drinking, and teaching death notification to law enforcement officers.
Jan Withers says it best: “Phaedra is an inspiration to me and many others who have been victimized by impaired driving. She has turned her trauma into reaching out and helping others.”