Penticton’s Pamela Hanson is sharing her story to encourage everyone to make smart choices this holiday season. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Penticton’s Pamela Hanson is sharing her story to encourage everyone to make smart choices this holiday season. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

‘Think twice’: A Penticton woman’s plea to drunk drivers

Pamela Hanson’s life was changed forever when a drunk driver hit her vehicle head-on

Thanks to the bad decision of a drunk driver, Pamela Hanson’s life was forever changed – and she’s sharing her story to encourage everyone to make smart choices this holiday season.

When the 55-year-old was just 18, she was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Edmonton, Alta., caused by a drunk driver who hit her vehicle head-on.

“I had just finished graduating from high school. I was supposed to be a missionary in Haiti for the year, scheduled to leave in September,” said Hanson. “It was in August on a Sunday afternoon and I guess the guy was driving someone else’s vehicle.”

Hanson’s plans to live and work abroad were drastically changed due to the accident, since both of her legs were broken as well as four of her ribs and her cheekbone, along with other injuries.

She spent the next year of her life in the hospital, undergoing physical therapy and other treatment so that she could walk again since doctors had to cut open both sides of her legs after the accident.

“Those injuries have caused other issues along the way through my life and I still have challenges resulting from that day, that hour, that split-second choice (the man made) to jump in someone else’s car and venture out drunk without any regard of the consequences,” said Hanson.

READ MORE: South Okanagan recovery centre hosting Christmas light up and open house

“I wouldn’t have had these hip issues, I probably wouldn’t have had problems having children, everything that I’ve had a problem with in my life has come from that accident.”

Still, she thinks of herself as lucky when she compares her story to the countless others involved in drunk driving accidents who didn’t survive.

Hanson said that later in her life, she came to forgive the man who put her and her family through so much pain, recalling he nearly lost his life that day too.

“When we were rushed to the hospital, they put him in the hospital bed next to mine and I could hear them talking and saying that he should have been dead because he had so much alcohol in him,” said Hanson, who remarked he must have been greatly hurt to put himself in that state of inebriation.

At the time of his conviction for drunk driving, the man was handed a $500 fine and a three-month suspension on his drivers’ licence.

She said this light punishment felt like a slap in the face at the time, but she is happy that laws surrounding drunk driving have become tougher.

READ MORE: Osoyoos driver admits being ‘drunk’ after crashing into pole

Now, Hanson is telling other people about her experience in the hope it will make them think twice before risking their lives and the lives of others.

“So many times when we choose something or choose to do something, it’s not always us that faces the consequences. In this case, that man made a choice and I was the one who faced the consequences,” said Hansen.

“And I think people need to be reminded of that. Make the choice to be responsible and put others’ needs before your own. If we all did that, our world would be a whole different place.”

She added that her experience goes hand-in-hand with the problem of substance abuse, stating that people need to find a better way to handle their stress rather than drinking or smoking.

“People need to be able to ask for help,” said Hanson.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Penticton’s Pamela Hanson is sharing her story to encourage everyone to make smart choices this holiday season. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Penticton’s Pamela Hanson is sharing her story to encourage everyone to make smart choices this holiday season. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Just Posted

(Pacific Coastal Airlines photo)
Potential COVID-19 exposure on March 1 Penticton flight

Interior Health lists a public exposure for the Pacific Air Flight from Vancouver on March 1

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

C.E. “Ned” Bentley owned a garage on Shaughnessy Avenue, now Lakeshore Drive in Summerland. Bentley later went on to serve on Summerland’s council and was recognized with the Good Citizen Award in 1939. (Summerland Museum photo)
Former Summerland reeve once ran garage

C.E. “Ned” Bentley was a prominent figure in Summerland’s past.

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is offering home compost bins at reduced prices until March 25. (Contributed)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen offers compost bins at wholesale costs

Pricing offer at participating stores in place until March 25

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Most Read