ABC11 Investigates

Crash victim questions charge against driver

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Darin Brett says he finds every day a challenge after an accident last September left him fighting for his life.

According to police, Brett was on foot in the parking lot of the public library on Liberty Street in Durham when driver Jean Reese lost control of her car while backing into a handicapped spot.

Reese's car travelled 93 feet in all - hitting Brett as it careened over a curb, a sign, and through two brick planters before coming to rest against a wall.

Investigators estimated Brett was dragged 26 feet by Reese's car.

Reese told ABC11 right after the crash that she hit the gas pedal when she intended to hit the brake.

"I was trying to get in that parking space, and instead of hitting the brake, I hit the accelerator and I ended up all the way over there," said Reese on September 13, 2011.

While Reese told police she panicked, her family told ABC11 she was on medication.

"She's on [anti]depressant medication," said a woman who identified herself as a family member at the scene of the accident.

Brett suffered major injuries. He was in a medically induced coma for weeks and remained in the hospital for months.

Meanwhile, Reese continued to drive. When asked by ABC11 last November what medication she was taking at the time of the accident, she mentioned a blood pressure medication, but couldn't say if she was taking an antidepressant.

Durham police have now charged Reese with misdemeanor careless and reckless driving.

Brett said he's not satisfied with the charge.

"A misdemeanor is nothing. It doesn't mean she can't drive anymore," he offered. "She just totally demolished me."

Brett said he suffered broken bones, a fractured skull, missing teeth, scars, and brain damage which add up to a lifetime of therapy.

"I take one day at a time, and take one medicine at a time," he explained.

And though he said he's forgiven Reese for the accident, he said he can't help thinking it could happen again to someone else.

"She shouldn't be driving at all. She should be pulled off the road permanently," said Brett.

Durham police wouldn't talk to us about their investigation, or why more serious charges weren't filed.  

Jean Reese didn't return our calls.

ABC11 did confirm Reese's insurance company reached a financial settlement with Brett.

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durham county, accident, abc11 investigates, kelli o'hara
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