Hudson students hear from DWI survivor as prom approaches

Sean Carter (Source: KTRE Staff)
Sean Carter (Source: KTRE Staff)
Sean Carter (Source: TXDOT)
Sean Carter (Source: TXDOT)
The pickup Sean was riding in when it hit a tree (Source:TXDOT)
The pickup Sean was riding in when it hit a tree (Source:TXDOT)

HUDSON, TX (KTRE) - An east Texan said he is lucky to be alive and now travels the state as a face of drunk driving.

Nine years ago,31 year-old Sean Carter of Winsboro was the passenger in a drunk driving wreck.

Sean had been drinking but didn't realize his designated driver had drunk twice as much. The vehicle hit a tree and Sean suffered severe brain trauma and was in a comma for several weeks.

The 2005 crash left Sean physically challenged and voiceless but not for long. He and his Mom started the non-profit organization, WhenSeanSpeaks, Inc., to raise money for traumatic brain injury research. Sean was also part of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Faces of Drunk Driving Campaign.

Wednesday Sean spoke to students at Hudson high school to warn them of the dangers of drunk driving.

"Everyone can see my inability to walk and talk," Sean said through an app he uses on an I-pad. "I am completely honored that I was invited here to share my message."

Sean spoke with one arm in a cast. Nine years later, he still needs surgeries to repair the damage, but says he is just taking life one day at a time.

"I stand here in my wheelchair looking at you thinking I used to be like you," Sean said.

Sean said he has tried to make the wreck a thing of the past.

"I never think about it," Sean said. "It is what it is. It makes me feel good,"

His message to the Hudson high school students could not have come at a better time, since prom is this Saturday.

Sean's message was shared through video and speech as well as an appearance by his mom Jenny, who quit her job to care for her son.

"Thirty-nine days later, he could no longer walk and he could no longer talk," Jenny said. "He was not in the wrong."

Students in attendance say this was better than any talk a counselor or police officer could give.

"It makes you actually think about what you're doing before you do it,"Le4che Henry said.

"It's good to know that we would have someone come out and say not to do it, and say this isn't cool and show us the reality of it because we don't often get to see that," Jermeycia Rodgers said.

"It showed a lot of kids more than just a story," Eric Manis said. "It let them kind of live it and because of that it really did go deep."

The assembly was sponsored by the Texas A&M Agrilife office, which hoped to raise awareness of the consequences of drunk driving.

According to TXDOT's Crash Records Information System, In 2013, 48% of those killed in DUI-alcohol related crashes in Texas ranged in age from 17 to 34. In Angelina County in 2013, 99 alcohol-related crashes resulted in 24 serious injuries and three fatalities.

Sean told the students he used to be angry that he couldn't walk or talk, but now uses it to save lives.

"Think of me and save yourself," Sean said.

To find out more about Sean's non-profit, you can click here.

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