Bedford Co. Family Shares Story About Impact of Drinking and Driving
Bedford Co., VA - The message don't drink and drive is heard the loudest on New Year's Eve... than on any other night all year. One Forest family is helping get that message out.
The Barrick family was nearly killed on Waterlick Road seven years ago by a man police say was driving drunk.
The family's van was hit head on, a 125 mile per hour impact, sending it into the woods. But they all survived.
They share their story now through their family ministry, hoping it will convince anyone about to head out not to drink and drive.
"We were coming home from church on a Sunday night November 5, 2006," said Andy Barrick.
But it would be three and half months before the Barricks would make it home as a family. Andy, Jen, Linda and Josh ended up in four different hospitals. Jen, then 15 and now 22, has a brain injury to this day.
"She wakes up not knowing what day it is or what she's supposed to do that day," said Linda Barrick.
But Jen knows it's New Year's Eve. This day is an opportunity to share what she's been through in the last seven years.
"I had to relearn how to do everything. How to walk. How to talk. How to read. How to write. How to get dressed. How to brush my teeth. I even had to relearn how to swallow," said Jen Barrick.
Her brother Josh was the youngest, and the least hurt in the crash.
"I definitely had to grow up pretty quick. I had to do a lot of things 11 year olds didn't have to do. I had to push my parents around in wheelchairs. I had to see my sister really struggle," said Josh Barrick.
Now at 18, Josh is man enough to give advice to his peers about drinking and driving.
"Having one night of fun isn't equivalent to having a whole life of suffering," said Josh Barrick.
When we asked Jen what she remembers from the night of the crash, she told us about singing in church. The good stuff. She's unfortunately reminded every day of the bad.
"Your actions can affect other people. Like drinking and driving how it has affected my family permanently," said Jen Barrick.
"When you drink and drive you're not only thinking about hurting another person you don't know, but your own family, the pain that it causes them forever," said Linda Barrick.
"Don't do it. Don't do it. Get a designated driver or stay home because the ripple effect is huge," said Andy Barrick.
Jen Barrick was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which the family says might have been caused by all the CT scans on her head and radiation after the crash. The man accused of hitting the Barrick family, Corey Peters, was never charged.
Peters also has brain damage, with little hope of recovery, according to the Commonwealth and can't defend himself in court. Jen tells me she prays for his recovery and family.