Wendy Peters - My Choice

My Choice

My name is Wendy Peters and on November 6, 1997 I made the choice to get into the car with a friend who had been drinking.

I have no memory of the night of the crash or the first 30 days in the hospital. I was told that my friend Jay had a BAC of .18 and ran the stop sign at the intersection of State Rt. 49 & County Rt. 54 in the Town of Schroeppel, Oswego County and crashed into another car. Jay died instantly.

I had a broken arm which had a plate in it, a broken leg which has a titanium rod in it for life, excessive burns, ruptured spleen, laceration in my liver, a Traumatic Brain injury. I was in a coma for 2 weeks, had amnesia for weeks and died 3 times.

The number one reason that I am still alive is for my sons. They were 2 & 4 at the time and are now 25 and 23. My oldest son Jason graduated from Syracuse University and now works at a Political Consulting Group in Washington, DC. My youngest son, Brandon, just received his master’s degree from Binghamton University and is now pursuing his PhD at Rutgers University in Biomedical Engineering.

I have thanked God every day that I survived because I can’t even imagine not being here for them. I would have missed everything! I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t survived, would they be where they are today?

Although, I have no memory of the crash, my family will never forget. My mom will always remember the knock on the door by the police officer with the news of the crash. The phone calls that had to be made to my father, who was at work. My older brother coming from Pennsylvania, bringing a suit, not knowing if he would be going to my funeral. My sister coming from Rochester, being held up on the thruway hoping to be here in time. My younger brother, who was going to school at SUNY Cortland at the time, rushing to the hospital.

Their lives came to a halt as they were waiting to see if mine would go on.

Due to the traumatic brain injury I am on permanent partial disability. I have tried several different jobs which I had difficulty with. I am now employed by Paul V Moore high school in Central Square School, NY. I work in food service during the school year and as a substitute custodian when school is not in session.

Unless you had known me before the crash you wouldn’t realize that I suffered a traumatic brain injury. I have worked hard to make it that way. Even though I am doing much better now, I still live with the consequences of my choice every day and I will for the rest of my life.


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New York’s STOP-DWI program is the Nations’ first and, to date, only self-sustaining impaired driving program. Other States have implemented components of self-sufficiency, but none to the degree of New York State.