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Mother Comes Face To Face With DUI Offender

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 20:14:25-04

A mother whose daughter was paralyzed after a head-on collision with a drunk driver, met with that man.

They have been hoping their story will inspire others to not drink and drive

Saturday, high schoolers learned the dangers of drunk driving, or even texting and driving. Teens experienced first-hand through drunk driving simulators how it feels to operate a vehicle under the influence.

"You're responsible for your life and everyone else around you. Think about that responsibility when you get behind the wheel okay," said Investigator John Reyes, of the Clarksville Police Department.

But some people learn first-hand the tragedy that comes along with drunk driving. Stephanie Rutherford will forever have February 17, 2011 ingrained in her mind. On that night, she received the phone call that her 5-year-old Emily was clinging to life.

Emily was airlifted to the hospital, along with her aunt, after they were hit head-on by a drunk driver.

Emily and her aunt survived the crash, but Emily may never walk again. Despite that, there was a familiar face in the audience Saturday, and it was one Stephanie only recalled from a courtroom.

"He was given a second chance to do great things. Emily is not," said Stephanie Rutherford, Emily's mother.

"The reality is, it wasn't fair. Eight years in prison wasn't fair because I'm walking, Emily's not," said Kris Colbert, a convicted DUI offender.

In life-changing situations like this, forgiveness has not been something that comes easy, but sometimes the hardest thing to do is to let go.

"He apologized and cried. It was good. That needed to happen, and I told him that I forgave him," said Rutherford.

Out of tragedy came something good: hoping to influence others not to make the same life-changing mistakes.

Their next event has been planned for October 22, 2016. Contact the Clarksville Police Department if you would like your child to attend.