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The long road back: survivor details aftermath of drunk driving crash in new book

Last Updated Mar 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm PDT

Beyond the Legal Limit cover (Courtesy: Caitlin Press)

The author of a new book talks to NEWS 1130 about what victims of impaired drivers deal with

Pat Henman of Nelson B.C. is the author of Beyond The Legal Limit: Surviving a Collision with a Drunk Driver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It was a warm Sunday afternoon in 2013 when a Nelson woman and her 19-year-old daughter, halfway through an eight-hour road trip, were struck head-on by an impaired driver behind the wheel of a stolen SUV outside Cranbrook. The rest of the story, including their long road to recovery, is detailed in a new book.

“It wasn’t just about the crash. It was about everything that came after the crash,” says Pat Henman, author of Beyond The Legal Limit: Surviving a Collision with a Drunk Driver.

LISTEN: Beyond The Legal Limit

In it, she details the life-changing injuries she and her daughter suffered, as well as the multi-year legal odyssey that followed through ICBC and the courts.  Knowing what she knows now, if she could go back in time, she would give herself this advice:

“Pick up the phone, call somebody who’s there to help you. There’s volunteers out there. Be in touch with restorative justice folks. They’re there to help you.  Those are the compassionate people.”

In her view, the people who aren’t compassionate are the lawyers who represent insurance companies.

“It’s psychological, I’m not sure what they really think they’re going to get out of that, is that to save the clients money, I guess. So, it comes down to money. That doesn’t mean you re-victimize people that have lost so much in their life.”

“Absolutely, the system could treat victims better and I’m fighting for that right now,” she says. “This happens every day in this country. Someone dies or someone is seriously affected, maimed.”

Now, an advocate for other victims of impaired drivers, she feels more focus needs to be placed on rehabilitating the offenders, especially repeat ones.

“I don’t think these people go out with that idea of ‘I’m going to hit somebody today.’ But it needs to be dealt with because you can’t get behind the wheel blacked out and people do.”

Look for Beyond The Legal Limit: Surviving a Collision with a Drunk Driver from Caitlin Press.