SHUBENACADIE - The effects of impaired driving are deep and far reaching.
Jason Hoeg knows about it all too well.
The 38-year-old Athol, Cumberland Co., resident narrowly escaped with his life when he and his friend Bruce Miller were hit head on by a drunk driver May 16, 2004. Miller did not survive. He was 26.
"It was a horrific experience for me and my family," Hoeg said during a memorial golf tournament for Miller Monday at The Links at Penn Hills.
Both of Hoeg's feet were crushed in the crash and he suffered extensive injuries to the rest of his legs. After months of living in a hospital bed, he had to learn to walk again and still lives in pain.
"I don't think I'll ever recover fully," he said. "I'm in constant pain every day and you've just got to learn how to deal with it and work your way through it and try to live a normal life."
But the crash also damaged Hoeg mentally. He questioned why he lived and his friend did not, worried about whether he would walk again and what the rest of his life would be like. The emotional trauma ended up taking its toll on his family.
"It almost tore my family apart because you're going through things in your mind you can't explain and it backlashes on your family," he said.
That's why he takes part in the event every year, to raise awareness and make people realize the full consequences of their actions when they get behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs.
"When you start affecting people like that, you're taking a lot away from them."