LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) - A college student inspired by an accident that almost killed her continues to campaign for responsible boating.
Eight summers ago, Alex Otte was run over by a drunk boater, and she carries a reminder of that crash with her everyday.
On July 2, 2010, she was sitting on a jet ski on Herrington Lake when she saw a boat coming at a high speed. She was hoping he would steer out of the way.
"He veered to his left and never straightened up. He hit me at an estimated 60 miles an hour," said Otte.
She suffered a broken neck, traumatic brain injury, and lacerated liver. Both of her femurs were shattered and part one leg was amputated.
"It's not an easy story to tell. It's not easy to tell people about the worst day of your life. But at the same time, I realized very young, obviously at 13 years old, that I'm the only one that can tell this story," said Otte.
A story of perseverance, but also with a message that drinking and driving, on land or on water, can have life-changing consequences.
"There's nothing accidental about a man making choices. And made the choice to drink, made the choice to get in the boat. People made the choice not to stop him," said Otte.
Since her remarkable recovery, Alex has taken her story across the country. She spends many weeks out of the year speaking at Mothers Against Drunk Driving and boating safety conferences, including one this week in Lexington.
"If what happened to me means that one person will push away the beer or call for a safe ride home, or whatever that may be, then it's worth it," said Otte.
She is 21 years old now, and a journalism major at UK with a passion for sports photography.
In between classes, conferences, and games, she also spends time in Frankfort pushing lawmakers for tighter boating and drinking laws.
"I know that I have an uphill battle in front of me. But I think with support both nationally and internationally at conferences like this, I have the backup that I need," said Otte.
Despite her accident and amputated leg, Alex has never strayed far from the water, and hopes that no one feels the pain she still carries with her eight years later.
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