On July 9, 2011, 7-year-old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vaszquez spent the day at the mall with her sister, cousin, and aunt. She got her hair cut so that she would look extra pretty for her 8th birthday that was just three days away. On their way home, a drunk driver hit the car she was riding in head-on. The doctors didn’t think she would survive—but she did. And her life will never be the same.
Chilli is now paraplegic, which means she has total paralysis of her lower body from the breastbone down.
As part of her healing journey, Chilli decided to write a letter to the offender, which her mother read in court. Here is the letter, as written by Chilli:
The offender in Chilli’s crash pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He’s eligible for parole in five years. Chilli is hoping that he writes her back some day.
Chilli and her family now work with MADD to help raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving by speaking at MADD events across North Texas. Chilli also shares her story through the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Faces of Drunk Driving campaign. Read more about Chilli and see the other Faces of Drunk Driving victims and survivors at facesofdrunkdriving.com.