Amputee dedicates life to ‘move over law’ and curbing distracted driving

Updated: Apr. 24, 2019 at 4:59 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Drive 55 mph for 5 seconds and you’ve driven the length of a football field.

“The doctor told me he was going to do everything he could to save my leg," Brad Hughes said. "I told him to do what you can to save my life.”

Hughes never thought he’d find himself between the pavement and a 2,500-pound Chevy pick-up truck, but that’s where he landed March 17, 2014.

Hughes made the effort to protect an officer dealing with a 17-car pile-up on Midlothian Turnpike.

“Normally when you see an officer, they take their control vehicle so their car can take the brunt of the impact. He didn’t have that. So I took my SUV to do the same,” he said.

As Hughes was out of his car, the officer yelled out to him.

A driver didn’t move over as they passed the crash. Hughes was hit, resulting in the loss of both of his legs, but he managed to save the officer’s life. Now he speaks to thousands of students a year, reliving his biggest nightmare over and over again to make sure people remember to move over.

“Students tell me, 'Mr. Hughes, I remember the 5 seconds, and that’s what it’s about," Hughes said.

But his message is larger than that.

“This is what they’d consider a death penalty, a death sentence," Hughes said. “People become an amputee or a double amputee and they give up. Just because you lose a limb, or something happens to you, life doesn’t stop."

There was once a time when Hughes’ future wasn’t guaranteed. He had to be resuscitated three times.

Now, he works double time to make sure the unthinkable doesn’t happen to someone else.

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