CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Kids at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield received a powerful lecture from someone not that far removed from high school, a young woman whose life has been irreversibly altered by a drunk driver behind the wheel.
It's a captive audience with a common goal. Everyone at Meadowbrook High School on Tuesday wants to get their driver's license, and many are in driver's ed right now.
"I'm a 20-year-old survivor of a drunk and impaired driving crash," said Kristen Mallory.
From her wheelchair, Kristen Mallory is reading from index cards because she has to. She suffered a traumatic brain injury. It happened June 9, 2013, when her mom's car was broadsided at Hull Street and Spring Run Road. Her passenger side of the vehicle took the brunt of the impact, leaving her in the hospital with both physical and mental scars that may never fully heal.
When she gives speeches like this, one special Chesterfield police officer is often by her side. She's the officer first on the scene, who held her hand as first responders extracted her from the wreckage. It's an important visual from these young drivers to see. Kristen wants them to know she wasn't the only one victimized by this drunk driver.
"It affected my whole family. It affected my relationships with friends. It affected even the relationships with officers and firefighters and everybody," said Mallory.
Obviously, the 2013 wreck has dramatically altered Kristen's life plan, but she says she's making the most of it and taking each day as it comes.
"I thought I was going to be a teacher, and now I think there might be a different path for me, to find joy in sharing my story to help others," said Mallory.
The drunk driver who struck Kristen already had a prior DUI before this crash.
Even though it happened in 2013, he has already served his time and has since been released.
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