Six years ago, a life style choice a 19 yr old made on March 22, 2014 not only affected his life for the next 23 yrs, but totally devastated and shattered mine and my family’s for the rest of ours. Not a day goes by that we aren’t affected by this tragedy and I am constantly reminded of the hurt and pain of the events of that day.

Please read my story if you think drinking and drugged driving doesn’t hurt anybody or affect anyone else.

On March 22, 2014 my life and those of all my loved ones was shattered by a 19 year old and his personal decisions he made that day. A decision that included Klonopins, several Beers, Rum, marijuana and mushrooms. Two of the most important people in my life and half of my immediate family, my mom and my sister were killed because of a head on collision that was caused by this drunk and drugged driver. Two more of my family members were critically injured with multiple broken bones that required several surgeries within 2-3 days and they also sustained permanent injuries as well. That day was supposed to be a day of celebration for my family by celebrating my son’s 15th birthday. A day that is monumental for a teen, finally able to get a driver’s permit, and instead ended very tragically because of this person’s thoughtless actions.
We had planned our traditional celebration for birthdays by celebrating with a family dinner with my Mama, my sister, my brother-n-law, my niece, my husband, my daughter, my son and myself. We had pizza and movie night for the family at home. My sister, my Mama, my niece and my brother-n-law were on their way home that night, when the 19 yr old driver passed that officer going an excessive rate of speed > 90 mph and lost control of his vehicle and hit my family head on killing my sister instantly and the other 3 were airlifted to Spartanburg Regional. My sister sustained multiple blunt force injuries of internal lacerations, multiple fractured ribs, fractured spine, and numerous broken bones. My mom was in Neuro ICU fighting for her life, a battle she lost 48 hrs after the accident. My Mama sustained multiple blunt force injuries of internal lacerations, multiple fractured ribs, numerous broken bones and underwent two exploratory surgeries. My niece was in the Pediatric ICU for 12 days and sustained multiple facial fractures, broken nose, broken pallet, broken finger, broken leg, broken teeth, and numerous cuts and bruises that were both internal and external. She underwent surgeries to help repair the facial fractures, an additional surgery to insert a rod in her leg, a procedure to wire her mouth shut for 4 weeks and was also faced with losing 2 of the most important people in a young 11 year old girl’s life with the death of her mother and her grandma MawMaw, All within 2 days. She sustained permanent hearing loss in her left ear, facial scaring and other scaring from the surgeries. She also needed to undergo an additional surgery for her leg 9 mths later. My brother-n-law lost his wife and also my mom who treated him and my husband like her own. He received multiple fractures in his hand and leg that required several surgeries and was left with permanent scaring and a loss of mobility. He is currently not physically able to work, due to his health issues and injuries. My sister was the main financial provider for her family with full-time employment. She always handle the affairs of their household and of my brother-n-law’s mentally handicapped brother. This tragedy has been truly devastating to the whole family.
We were always a tight and close-knit family. We always celebrated Birthdays, Holidays, and Life achievements- like awards and graduations together. Whenever our children were performing in sporting events, dance recitals, school plays, or school band performances, we all made sure we went to support them in their activities. My children lost a beloved Aunt and Grandma who were very supportive in their lives and who made sure they were there for them. Because of the thoughtless acts of one person, they will not be there for them in support of their life achievements, holidays, graduations and weddings. My daughter graduated H.S. 3mths after the wreck and had been looking forward to her MawMaw and Aunt being there at her big life milestone, but they were not. My sister and my daughter both shared a love for nursing. My sister was looking forward to sharing the experience with my daughter, as she attends college to major in nursing. My son did get his driver’s license and his Aunt and MawMaw are not here to share his joy. This tragic event happened on his birthday and it will forever be a terrible reminder on what should be a joyous day for him. My niece lost her mother and Maw Maw, who will not be there for her in her teen and adult years for events like proms, school achievements, graduations, and wedding. A vital part of my family unit has been taken from our family.
The time since the wreck has been devastating to me and my family both physically, mentally and emotionally. My husband, myself and my children have taken on the added responsibility for the additional care of my brother-n-law and niece to include doctor visits, medicines, therapy, groceries, household maintenance and other daily activities. Along with the responsibilities of my own family, I have taken the responsibility of my brother-n-law and niece’s affairs, along with the affairs of my Mama and my sister. I was there with my niece in Spartanburg Regional ICU for 12 days straight. The first 48 hrs were extremely hard and exhausting with needing to be with my mom as she battled for her life in Neuro ICU and needing to be with my niece at the same time. The emotional stress of coping with the deaths of my loved ones and the surgeries of the others was so extensive, that I wasn’t able to eat for several days. I had to take an extensive amount of time off from work for their hospitalizations, and follow-up doctor visits. I have to deal daily with the emotional stress of the tragic loss of my mom and sister. I have to drive by the scene of the accident daily and each time, especially at night, I am overcome with emotion with what my family had to endure that night. Overwhelmed with what my sister and mom saw and heard, as the thoughtless 19 yr old’s car plowed into them head on. I was there at the scene when helicopters were taking off transporting my loved ones to Regional, not knowing their condition and seeing the tarp on the car with my sister still inside. I am having to deal daily with the loss of ½ of my immediate family with the death of my mama and sister and have been overwhelmed with being left to pick up the pieces of my family.
The choices this one person made the day of March 22, 2014 has devastated my family. He will still be able to see and have the support of his family for Holidays, and Birthdays, unfortunately due to his actions we will not.
— Candace Plemons

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