AUSTIN -- Sean Carter can no longer walk on his own or talk, but he has found a voice in raising awareness about the dangerous consequences of drunk driving.
Seven years ago, Carter was a drunk passenger riding with an even drunker driver. The driver crashed into a tree, and Carter suffered a traumatic brain injury. The once aspiring model and college student attending school in Wichita Falls saw his life change immediately.
Now he uses a wheelchair. He is able to communicate by typing messages in a device that speaks for him.
Here I am a prisoner of my own body, Carter said through his device.
Now Carter is using his tragedy to save other people's lives. He is part of the Texas Department of Transportation's new campaign called, Faces of Drunk Driving.The goal of the initiative is to show the public the dangerous reality of driving intoxicated or riding with a drunk driver.
Since Carter's crash, his mother Jenny has been his 24 hour caregiver.
We just made a decision that we had to look beyond ourselves and our own grief, and try to help others, Jenny Carter said. We didn't want anyone else to have to live like this.
The Carters have since started a foundation, When Sean Speaks. The goal is raise money for traumatic brain injury research. They travel the country to educate others about the dangers of impaired driving.
Immediately after the crash,Carter couldn't even lift his head. Now with the help of a cane and the support of his mother he is able to walk.
I dream of having a good job, falling in love, getting married, and having children of my own, Carter said. I dream of running along a beach, riding a bike, or just getting up and walking to my bed to the couch in the living room.
Everyday actions easily taken fore-granted, until a night of drunk driving changed Carter's life.
The Fourth of July is typically one of the most dangerous times of year for alcohol related crashes. The Austin Police Department will enforce a no refusal initiative starting Tuesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 8.