Ashanti Blanchard

It is now four long years since my son, Ashanti C. Blanchard was rear-ended by a drunk driver while stopped at the red light on 105th and Vincennes Avenue in Chicago. As a result of this crash, he is now a quadriplegic. On May 9, 2006, Ashanti had stopped at a red light as he continued to his next job site. Ashanti worked for the City of Chicago as an Operating Engineer, so he travelled from job site to job site. While waiting for the light to change, he was rear-ended by John Lockridge, who was driving drunk. The force by which he rear-ended Ashanti's car sent him into oncoming traffic. Bystanders stated that Ashanti had to be cut from his Chevy Camaro and rushed to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. He remained in Christ Hospital from May 9, 2006 to June 30, 2006 and later transferred to RML Specialty Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and the Rehabilitative Institute of Chicago. After three years, he was able to return to our home, where he is currently residing.

Ashanti continues to receive rehab services such as the Assistive Technology Device, wheel chair operations and speech therapy. He suffers from urinary tract infections, and breathing difficulties. We are back and forth to Northwestern and Christ Hospitals. But we are seeing slight improvements. Although the doctors stated that Ashanti would not be able to talk again, through much prayers and persistent encouragement, Ashanti is speaking words now.

Our family hearts are still broken. We truly realize that life goes on. It does not wait for you to get yourself together. Our faith teaches us that sometimes God does not solve the problem or heartache that you have, but he will change you so that you are able to accept the circumstances or condition. This is where we are now. Ashanti's sisters, LaTasha and Laurita and his brother Albert are a good support system for our family. Ashanti's sister, LauRita got married on August 14, 2010 and Ashanti escorted me (his mother) down the aisle. Ashanti has a newborn niece that is now nine months old. Ashanti has a friend girl that has been a constant in his life, and that makes him happy. Some of the old friends are beginning to come back into his life. As I stated earlier, life goes on.

Oh, by the way, some of you have asked me what happen to the drunken driver, well he received only five years, but with his being under house arrest during the court process, he only served nine months of jail time. Is that justice or what?

Again, our sincere thanks and support goes out to the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists victim advocates for remaining a constant force in our life. Thank you so much Lorraine Wesolowski, Twyla Blakey and Dave Perozzi, you three are a godsend.

Edna M. Blanchard (Ashanti's mother)

This tribute sponsored by the Huizenga Foundation

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