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Teen passenger in DUI crash in Illinois may have spinal injury

Nearly all of us take our mobility for granted. It is often easy to forget how frequently we use our legs to stand, walk or any number of other routine tasks. But what if you no longer had the use of your lower extremities? One thing that is certain is that your ability to earn a living would be much more difficult.

Unfortunately, a 16-year-old Lockport Township teen is now facing a situation that police are calling life-threatening after having received injuries to his head and spine. According to a Will County Sherriff's report, the young man was a passenger in a 2005 Chevy Silverado last Saturday night, April 12, in the 400 block of Oak Street around 9:45 p.m. Driving the truck was the victim's 22-year old friend who police say had been drinking. The driver's younger brother was also in the vehicle.

For reasons that aren't entirely clear, police say the truck crossed over into the opposite lane where it then skidded and hit two trees, a bolder and a mailbox. The driver later told police that he had swerved to avoid a deer, but they found bottles of beer behind the passenger seat. The driver was later arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after police reviewed a blood test. The driver's younger brother escaped the accident with only minor injuries. The 16-year-old passenger was airlifted to a hospital in Maywood. His outlook is pretty bleak.

The driver of the truck most certainly did not start out that evening to cause permanent catastrophic injury to his friend. The young man's condition is unknown at this time, but even if he is not paralyzed it is probably safe to say that the driver wishes he had never gotten behind the wheel that night. Those remorseful feelings are not going to pay for the 24-hour care and physical therapy that victim may need for the rest of his life. If you know someone who has received a brain or spinal cord injury as a result of a preventable accident you should encourage them to think about how they got injured in the first place. Then convince them to take action to secure their economic future. That's what a true friend would do.

Source: The Herald-News, "Teen passenger critically injured in Saturday crash" Brian Stanley, Apr. 15, 2014

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