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Brentwood Crash Survivor Uses Story To Prevent Teen Crashes

Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 27, 2017

On the roadway, an instant can change your life. That's the message from one local woman to teens across the Mid-State.

When the worst happens, it's common for one of the first questions to be: why me? Brittany Leedham has been there.

Eight years ago she was in a car with her boyfriend, Zak, speeding home to make curfew. She said Zak lost control while passing another car at 70 mph on Holt Road in Brentwood. He smashed into a tree so hard the car split in two and wrapped around the trunk.

"It took them 58 minutes to remove me from the car," Leedham said. "The floorboard and the dashboard were wrapped around my legs and they were pinned up against the tree."

That night she lost Zak forever. He was just 19 years old.

"They let his mom into the ambulance to kiss him goodbye, and that's when he showed his last signs of life," she said.

Her road after the crash has been long and full of obstacles.

"Zak's short-shifter hit the top of my quad and just ripped everything off," she said, showing her damaged leg to dozens of teenagers Thursday.

She shared those obstacles with teenage drivers who are getting behind the wheel for the first time.

"Because this is completely preventable," she explained. 

She talked about speeding, texting, drinking -- any reckless behavior that puts lives at risk.

"I show them that at 15,16,17,18 they're not invincible. It can happen to them," Leedham said. "I didn't think it could happen to me."

That way whenever she feels herself dipping into a dark place, with survivor's guilt and the age-old question: "Why me? Out of everybody else why me," she said aloud Thursday. She now has an answer.

"This is why me. Because if I get through to just one of you, that's why me," she said. 

Brittany told her story at the AT&T building downtown to a group of teens with the non-profit Jobs for Tennessee Graduates Thursday. AT&T offers a free drive mode app that disables calls and texts while driving.