PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Law enforcement officers spent this past weekend cracking down on drunk driving and trying to keep the roadways safe.
NewsNation affiliate WMBB reporter Tess Rowland knows first-hand the dangers of drinking and driving. She was hit by an alleged drunk driver earlier this month and is recovering from severe injuries.
Rowland said she was driving to work, taking her usual route, around 2:45 a.m. on the day of the crash when she saw headlights suddenly appear.
“I just remember seeing headlights all of a sudden on Panama City Beach Parkway, which is typically a rather dark road,” Rowland recalled. “I was confused. I was saying to myself are those backlights and then, in fact, it was a wrong-way drunk driver.”
Rowland said she had five surgeries within nine days of being in the hospital.
“In terms of my injuries, some would say that, by looking at my car, I was rather lucky because most of my injures are from my right side, a lot of the nerves also were damaged, as well as my knee,” she said. “So, I’m wearing a full leg brace and a full arm brace. I also had some internal damage, as well, which we discovered when I was in the hospital, so I had to have emergency surgery on my intestines, as well.”
Rowland said she’s currently enrolled in physical therapy in the most aggressive treatment to reach what she says will be her “new normal.” She said, at this time, doctors aren’t exactly sure what’s going to happen.
“I do have a goal, though, which I shared with them. My birthday is July 18th, which is right around the corner, I told them that my biggest wish is that I want to be able to walk into a restaurant and not have to wear my leg brace and my arm brace; just to have a normal meal. And they said that there is a really high probability for that,” Rowland said.
“But as for what I’m going to experience in my lifetime with these injuries, we can’t say just yet if I’ll make a full recovery if I’ll gain full motion, which is a really scary thing.”
Watch the full interview in the player above.