WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A car crash survivor who rode with a drunk driver spoke in front of Rider High School students on Wednesday for day two of Shattered Dreams. It is a Texas Department of Public Safety program that teaches teens the consequences of drinking and driving, held days before prom and graduation.
13 years ago, on the 1600 block of Midwestern Parkway, a drunk driver crashed his truck into a tree which sent him and two of his friends to the hospital. One of the survivors and passengers of that crash, Sean Carter, now shares his story across the country to inspire others to not drive intoxicated.
"The events of that night could've been straight out of a screenplay," Carter told a crowd of 1,500 students using his iPad. "What happened to me is just unthinkable."
Carter was not much older than the juniors and seniors he spoke to when the accident happened. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and can no longer talk without his iPad to communicate, nor can he take footsteps without his walker.
"Yes, it was a horrible time but life goes on," he said.
Carter used modeling to fund his education and dream of becoming a lawyer. He said those dreams were shattered the night of his accident but in 2007 he started picking up the broken glass to inspire others around him to make the smart decision.
"With every choice there are consequences, some consequences can be good while some could be tragic," he said.
He said his mother, Jenny, has been his guiding light throughout his recovery but others have helped as well.
Six years after the crash, Carter ran into one of the firefighters that saved his life. They have been friends ever since.
"I think we both cried a little bit [when we met again]," Wichita Falls Councilor at Large and retired-firefighter Bobby Whiteley said. "He's one of the bravest [people] that I know. He and his mom. It takes a lot of courage to do what they do."
The Carter's say the hard work is worth it to inspire others like the thousands of students they spoke to at Rider.
"The hope that he brings that shines through his message, I think that's what I love about our story," Jenny said.
The teens also watched the Shattered Dreams movie from Tuesday's mock deadly car crash.
14 agencies came together for the program including TxDOT, Wichita Falls ISD and Texas Department of Public Safety.