Racine County parole officer struck by drunk driver

RACINE (CBS58) — A Racine County parole officer was badly injured in a crash Sunday, June 19. She’s still recovering at Froedtert Hospital. Investigators say she and four others were struck by a drunk driver.

The crash has changed Krystal Petrie’s life forever. Relatives say she doesn’t want to drive a car or even be a passenger. They’re expecting a very long road to recovery.

“I remember seeing the lights. They were coming directly at us and I just remember thinking about my son. I thought for sure we were going to die,” Petrie said.

Petrie survived to tell her story. Petrie and three other friends were leaving an event at Racine on Sunday. The car ride home was interrupted near Gehring Road and Douglas Avenue in the village of Caledonia. Prosecutors say all because of 31-year-old Carnell Williford. Police say he was drunk.

“It really puts drunk driving in perspective for me,” Petrie said.

Two witnesses told police Williford was driving recklessly before the crash. They say his car completely crossed the center line and drove into oncoming traffic. That’s when it hit Petrie’s friend’s car.

Officers made contact with Williford, who smelled of the odor of intoxicants on his breath, had bloodshot and glassy eyes, and was slurring his speech. At first, Williford said he fell asleep at the wheel, but then said he was looking at his phone to change the music right before the crash. The criminal complaint says he failed all sobriety tests at the scene.

“Why did you get in the car. There’s so much on TV about don’t drink and drive,” Kimberly Bahena said. She is Petrie’s mother.

Petrie has shortness of breath due to damage to her lungs and her rib cage. She also has several broken bones and struggles to stand on her feet.

“She’s going to make it. we’re planning for rehab. We’re not planning a funeral and I’m very thankful for that,” Bahena said.

“I’m still just so happy to be here, no amount of pain that I’m going through right now could surpass my gratefulness,” Petrie said.

Williford is charged with four counts of First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety and another four counts for Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury. He was let out on a $2,000 cash bond. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 29.

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