Getting into the car with a drunk driver behind the wheel almost killed 23-year-old Alyssa Alanis four years ago when the sedan carrying seven people she was in lost control, struck a light standard, flipped in the air and rolled over in Burnaby.
As Alanis copes with her decision to ride with a drunk driver, and struggles with her recovery, she wants others to learn from her mistake.
“The consequences of one simple choice,” said Alanis as she broke down in tears, “can change not only your life but it can change others. Not only change it, but it can end it.”
The crash left the drunk driver, Baldip Chandi, uninjured, but two other passengers, including Alanis’s boyfriend died. He was sentenced on March 1, 2012, to three years in prison for drunk and dangerous driving. Alanis was thrown from the vehicle and was not expected to survive.
Corporal Robert McDonald, spokesperson for RCMP Traffic Services, was at the scene of the crash four years ago, and remembers being told that Alanis had a zero chance of survival.
“It took about a week before she finally changed her status from zero chance of survival to stable,” said Corporal McDonald.
Alanis’s mother, Gigi, stands by her daughter’s side and desperately pleads for people not to drink and drive. She wants others to know about the struggles her daughter will face every day for the rest of her life.
“She may look normal physically but cognitively it’s very difficult for her,” said Gigi ” she can’t make decisions , she can’t go to school, she can’t go to work.”
“I used to be able to play the guitar,” said Alanis.
Alanis used to be a musician but her life has clearly changed forever.
“I used to be able to play the piano and I used to write my own music and perform it,” said Alanis “unfortunately I’ve forgotten all of that.”
RCMP officers across the province have launched their summer Counter Attack campaign, and both mother and daughter are using the occasion to warn others about the dangers of drinking and driving and the deadly risk of getting into a car with a drunk driver behind the wheel.
“It could change your life,” said Alanis “it could literally end people’s lives.”
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