Danielle woke screaming as chills ran down her spine and sweat poured from her body, soaking her sheets as if she had messed the bed or just washed them. Her pulse raced like electricity shooting through her body as she recalled the memories of that night, and she felt as if she might have the same nightmare over and over again for the rest of her life.
She reimagined the windshield shattering that night as her small Ford Focus wrapped itself around the light pole. As she remembered how disoriented she had been that night as she lost control of her steering wheel, so she felt just as disoriented now as she felt she was losing control of her life and her mental well-being.
Get it together, Danielle! She screamed internally at herself. There’s nothing to be done about it now.
Even as she sat up in bed, her mind kept the tape rolling through her head play-by-play—the airbag inflating as her car made impact, her head slamming into it with enough force to break her nose, and her best friend’s scream from the passenger seat as she experienced similar trauma. Danielle thought about how fast everything had happened. One moment she had been cruising down the seemingly empty side-streets of St. Louis near Tower Grove Park, singing her favorite jams with Megan, and the next moment her whole life changed for the worst.
One night of celebration at having graduated from high school turned into a swirl of distorted drunken memories that had ended with three deaths and two lives forever changed in the worst way possible.
Danielle screamed again, unable to force the haunting memories from her mind. It had been her choice to get behind the wheel, knowing she wasn’t in any condition to drive. It had been her choices that left her best friend and the parents of the other vehicle she had forced off the road to lose their lives prematurely.
In this ultimate horror movie, she had to claim the role of killer. For Danielle, that meant years in prison and memories that would haunt her for eternity. For the two-year old child, it meant growing up without his parents.