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

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid provincial park off Highway 97 Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
PHOTOS: Truck gutted by fire at Pyramid Provincial Park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Linda Sanky photo
Vehicle fire spreads to trees at Penticton beach spot

The fire is at Pyramid beach, off Highway 97 between Summerland and Penticton

Over 300 participants, aged nine to 99 contributed to this yarn bomb outside the Penticton Art Gallery, near the bridge going to the Japanese Gardens. (Penticton Art Gallery)
Penticton has been yarn bombed

Penticton Art Gallery is hoping to yarn bomb even more trees around town but needs your help

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Okanagan man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; Vernon man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read