Jessica and Mark Huber
On November 19, 2002, 19-month-old Jessica Huber was riding in a car with her mother, who was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, when her mother ran a red light and crashed into a truck on Highway 290 in Austin, TX.
Jessica was placed on life support and her father, Mark Huber, was told that she would likely not survive. Doctors removed thousands of bone fragments from Jessica’s brain, and she spent 70 days in the Intensive Care Unit.
Now at age 12, Jessica continues to undergo reconstructive surgeries, but she is a true survivor — full of joy and full of life. This summer, after years of saving, Mark fulfilled Jessica’s dream of a trip to Disney World.
Jessica and her father now work to raise awareness about the lifelong impact of injuries caused by drunk and drugged driving crashes. Her story is especially significant this week during Child Passenger Safety Week, since at the time of the crash Jessica was strapped into her car seat, but the seat was not actually secured to the vehicle.
In 2011, 226 child passengers were killed in a drunk driving crash, representing 20 percent of all children killed in a traffic crash. And more than half, 54 percent, were passengers in a vehicle with the drunk driver.
MADD receives more than 17,000 phone calls every year related to child endangerment. No child should be in danger from drunk driving, especially by those entrusted to keep them safe. We believe that drunk driving is criminal and irresponsible, and driving drunk with a child in the vehicle is a form of child abuse. Every child deserves a non-drinking designated driver.
MADD is urging lawmakers to enact legislation to protect our most vulnerable population, children. Please email your representatives letting them know that you want a stronger DUI child endangerment law in your state.
If someone you know is driving drunk with a child in the car, we have more information and strategies available for you here. Or call our toll-free, 24-hour Help Line at 877-MADD-HELP.