Jared Estes told Marion residents he did not want to give advice, but let his story paint a picture of how drinking and driving affects even the least expecting of people.
Part of a Marion County town hall meeting Tuesday sponsored by the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Estes spoke about his recovery after a drunk driver crashed into him, killing his wife and injuring other passengers in 2005.
Estes met his wife Paige at Bucklin High School as a homecoming candidate his senior year. Paige was a junior cheerleader that happened to be announcing the names of the candidates.
Jared had actually won, but Paige announced the wrong name.
The two got to know each other afterward, which Jared then asked her to the dance, and much later, her hand in marriage.
Estes told those in attendance about his years of surgery after the accident, and his sympathy toward the friends and family of the man that caused the accident.
He was in a coma for weeks after the accident, and did not learn of his wife’s death until he woke up.
He suffered burns to 50 percent of his body and lost his right ear. He now wears a glove and sleeve that covers his right arm, as well as a hat that covers burns to the right side of his head.
At one point, calcium had formed over his inner-right elbow to the point he had to get surgery, where his arm had to be broken so he could bend it.
Estes spoke about the lows of re-learning how to walk and eat, while grieving for his wife and waiting for his burns to heal.
Afterward, members of Marion law enforcement presented information to give a better awareness of underage drinking and substance abuse.