Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — With Labor Day weekend ending, many in law enforcement expect impaired drivers on the road, putting other people at risk for any serious accidents.
Accidents like Shelia Blackmon of Birmingham experienced nearly 50 years ago as a child when a drunk driver rammed another vehicle into her off 10th Avenue North.
“It was 1974. I was a little girl. I was 7 years old,” Blackmon said.
The vehicle missed her older brother who was with her when it happened, but it ran over her right foot and pinned her against a pole.
“The fender took part of my flesh off my right leg,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon’s pelvic bone was also twisted from the accident. She was at UAB Hospital for 11 months where doctors worked tirelessly to help her. Since then, she’s have more than 30 surgeries on her right leg and some operations on her left leg. And after all the procedures, medication, and therapy, she still lives in pain.
“I have what they call drop foot. It drops. And when it drops, I’m dragging my foot,” Blackmon said.
She says the pain goes beyond her leg. Because of the accident, she has to take medication for anxiety and depression.
“You know, what they done to me has caused me to be afraid,” Blackmon said. “I’m so afraid of you. I’m so afraid of drunk drivers.”
Police usually have more eyes on the highways in order to stop people from speeding or driving drunk. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Corporal Jeremy Burkett says they have seen an increase in impaired drivers in 2021.
“There are a variety of substances out there that can impair you and you don’t need to take any of them before you get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle,” Burkett said.
“I mean, how many people gotta die for people to wake up,” Blackmon said.
But through all the pain and adversity, Blackmon has defied several medical odds.
“Because that day I could have lost my life,” Blackmon said.
She’s forever thankful to be alive. She hopes by sharing her story it will help keep drunk drivers off the road.
“But having faith and not giving up, it’s the best thing you can have in this life today,” Blackmon said.
Doctors told her mother she could never have children; she has 3 kids and 7 grandchildren. She recently celebrated her 56th Birthday with her family.