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Royal Oak man relives traumatic drunk driving crash nearly 2 years later

Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 19:41:56-05

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Matt Wickey was on Woodward Avenue near West 11 Mile on Dec. 15, 2017 when his life changed forever.

“It was actually my birthday. I was driving home from work," he said.

But instead of going out to celebrate, which he and his wife Lesa had planned, he spent the night in the hospital.

The crash was all caught on dashcam video. A driver with a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit, according to a report from Royal Oak Police Department, plowed into parked cars stopped at a light on Woodward.

Matt's car was hit and he suffered a spinal fracture and a brain injury.

"When I tried to move, I couldn’t move my left arm or my left leg," he said.

He was on the phone with Lesa when it happened.

“I was calling her to tell her I’m almost home, you should get ready," he said.

“The phone went dead, he stopped talking, and all I heard was the turn signal. I thought he was dead," Lesa Wickey told 7 Action News.

Lesa has Multiple Sclerosis. In the weeks and months following the crash, her condition worsened. Matt is her primary caregiver, and was worried about being able to provide for his family.

After hitting Matt, the driver plowed into a dermatology office on West 11 Mile Road, which was closed at the time.

In thinking about that night almost two years ago, Matt said he often thinks about who could have been with him in the car.

“My daughter was 9 years old at that time," he told 7 Action News. "Normally she rides in the back seat behind me. After the accident, the trunk was in the back seat. If she had been in the car, she wouldn’t have survived."

The driver was convicted of OWI. He pleaded no contest in August 2019, served two days in jail and was given probation and had to pay a fine.

Matt and Lesa Wickey are now continuing their fight in a civil court case against him in January.

“You can’t violate the rules that keep us all safe and get away with it," said their attorney Jim Rasor with the Rasor Law Firm.

Matt is back at work, but still has pain from the crash.

Lesa wants her family's tragedy to serve as a reminder, especially during the holidays.

"If you’re going to drink like that, don’t drive," she told 7 Action News.

Through its Holiday Safe Ride Program, AAA is offering a special towing service to get both you and your vehicle home safely if you've been out drinking. For Michigan, the Tow-to-Go program is available from Wednesday, Nov. 27 thru Sunday, Dec. 1. Click here for more information.