Alex Otte, MADD’s New National President, Shares Her Story and Heart with Law Enforcement.
Many would say they generally understand the selfless contributions that law enforcement personnel make to our communities every day, others still would say that while they may not understand, they appreciate the sacrifices made by law enforcement personnel and their families to keep all of us safe. I can tell you that not only do I understand and appreciate it, I’m marrying it. I say all of this to tell you from the beginning that when I say thank you and that I understand the sacrifices that you and your families make every day that you put on the uniform, you know where I’m coming from.
My name is Alex Otte and I am MADD’s new National President. I am 24 years old and I live in Lexington, Kentucky, with my fiancé, Zach (a patrol officer for LPD), and our two giant dogs, Sheriff and Sergeant.
I came to MADD for the same reason a lot of people do. I was run over by a drunk driver. I wasn’t hit in a vehicle, I wasn’t involved in a minor crash, I was a child, and I was run over.
It was July 2, 2010. I was 13 years old. I was sitting on a jet ski behind my dad’s house on Lake Herrington in Danville, Kentucky. I was waiting for my mom and brother to dock our boat so that I could dock my jet ski and go up to the house. There was a 17-foot bass boat coming under a nearby blue bridge, and I gave my mom a thumbs up to tell her that I saw him coming and I wasn’t going to move.
Herrington is a very narrow lake, and on either side is a steep rock embankment. I was near the right side of the lake, so I stayed still. The boat was headed toward my mom and brother, and my mom screamed. He banked it to the left and never straightened up.
The boat hit me from the side going more than 60 mph. I flew off the jet ski and landed face down in the water. The boat went up over the jet ski and came down on top of my body before it sunk. I suffered many severe injuries including a traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, bilateral shattered femurs and the loss of my right leg. I was airlifted to the trauma hospital in Lexington with very little chance of surviving.
The man who ran me over was more than three times the legal blood alcohol limit, two and a half hours later. He was charged $250.
I wanted to be the last little girl that this ever happened to. I know more than 10 years later that I wasn’t, but I will continue to fight until that day comes, and I am so grateful that you will, too.
As I said before, I am marrying into the law enforcement life. I understand what it is that you do and the sacrifices that each of you and your families make every day. I know the frustration that comes with continuing to diligently do your job and sometimes the laws not making that any easier.
Many of you see victims of drunk and drugged driving and other violent crimes on the worst days of their entire life, and you don’t get to see what happens after. I’m what happens after. I want to encourage you that despite the frustrations that come with your profession, you are saving lives. Being vigilant about stopping drunk and drugged drivers and getting them off our nation’s roads and waterways will put an end to stories like mine and so many others. Thank you. Please continue to fight the good fight and know that you are having an impact on so many lives and saving so many others.