Drunk driving crash survivor Alyssa Alanis: 'That was my consequence'

A young B.C. woman who barely survived a car crash that killed her boyfriend and another friend on impact has a plea for those considering getting behind the wheel while high or drunk this summer — or any time.

"I know everyone's heard this before, but please don't drink and drive," Alyssa Alanis, now 22-years-old, told reporters Friday night. "Don't forget for every choice you make, there will always be a consequence."

Alanis has a severe brain injury from the accident and doesn't remember the night, but she does know what she was told about the accident and what the outcome was.

On Feb. 27, 2010, after a night of drinking to celebrate a friend's 19th birthday, Alanis and a few friends needed to get back to New Westminster. They got into a car with two others from Burnaby, including a driver who had also allegedly been drinking.

It was around 1:15 a.m. and, after turning off Lougheed Highway onto Willingdon Avenue heading south, the car struck a lamp standard and went flying. It rolled over and came to rest near Still Creek Drive.

"All the passengers in the back, we all flew out of the windows," Alanis said. "Apparently all we did was just lie there covered in blood and the ambulance... I don't know when it came. That's what I remember, what I've been told, what happened that night."

Two of the seven inside the car died at the scene. Three others, including Alanis, were taken to hospital with severe injuries. The 19-year-old driver was charged with several counts involving impaired and dangerous driving causing injury and death.

RCMP Cpl. Robert McDonald, with E-Division Traffic Services, said the prognosis did not look good for Alanis.

"We were told there was zero chance of survival," he said.

It took about a week before she was finally listed in stable condition, and still, her family was told there was no way she would be walking or talking.

McDonald said having Alanis doing both on the day of this year's national Canada-wide Counter Attack roadblock blitz is a positive outcome — but the story doesn't end there.

"The message for us is with the nice weather now people are going to go out. If you are going to consume any type of alcohol or drugs, please, plan a safe ride home first," he said.

McDonald also said individuals have the power to stop their family and friends from making bad choices, and the power not to make the same mistake Alanis made.

"The choice is yours not to get into that vehicle," he said.

McDonald said deaths due to impaired driving are decreasing, but every time there's a roadblock, impaired drivers of all ages are being pulled over.

"That's frustrating. People need to get the message: you can't drink and drive. The dangers are too high. The risks are too high."

McDonald said this year's national impaired driving enforcement project's motto is “every decision has a consequence,” which is why Alanis and her family were invited to speak at the roadside event in Coquitlam.

It's a message Alanis can't forget.

"The choice I made, to be the passenger of this car. That was my consequence," Alanis said, pointing to a photograph of the crumpled wreck.

"My boyfriend.. death was his consequence," she said in tears.

"Don't forget. Don't drink and drive," she continued. "With every choice, any choice, a good or a bad choice, there will always be a consequence that can change your life, or someone else's. And even, it can end life."

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