Mom Partially Paralyzed After Texting While Driving: 'Just Drive'

BOISE -- The Just Drive campaign is close to Ashley Zumbrunnen's heart. Back in 2010, she was partially paralyzed in a car accident, that happened because she was texting while driving.

While typing a text message, she crossed Highway 55 into oncoming traffic."I was on my way to work, I took out my cell phone, and I wanted to say 'I love you, have a good day' to my husband," Ashley told us in a story late last year.

"I over-corrected, I lost control of my vehicle," she said. "I felt like I was in a washing machine. Then all of a sudden, I flipped and flew in the air. I felt my body flying in the air."

"I had people running all around me and all I could say is I'm paralyzed, I'm paralyzed."

Ashley broke her neck and had to re-learn how to do even the simplest tasks. It's been a tough four years, but since we aired her story last year, much has changed.

"It's amazing," she said recently. "I've been able to walk without my forearm crutches. It's only ten feet, but ten feet means a lot to me. So, I'm getting there."

Even though Ashley is regaining strength, she says her 8-year-old daughter Valerie is the person most impacted by her decision to text and drive that day.

"I miss running with her she used to play tag with me do all that kind of stuff," said Valerie.

"It's hard, it's very hard and frustrating that I can't do that with her," said Ashley. "Sometimes she's a kid and she wants to play tag like any other kid."

Ashley comes up with creative ways to play, but she's determined to play tag again one day.

"I've never thought I could get there, but I am getting there."

She recently took part in Just Drive event at Idaho State Police headquarters in Meridian, and she watched people attempt to text and drive.

RELATED:Just Drive Challenge shows dangers of distracted driving

It was emotional for her.

"They lived my life, they drove around those corners really fast, I went in with one of the officers and it was a flashback for me," Ashley said. "Those kids got to experience what I went through. It's not easy to do, and so many things can happen in a flash."

She is spreading her message to as many people as she can through speaking engagements, and she's also sharing her story in a very public way, for all to see - a full-sized billboard featuring Ashley and Valerie that reads: "Texting and Driving? Me too, before the crash."

"Because you know where you are going and you can focus on the road because friends are not important, the roads are important," said Valerie.

Ashley and Valerie are encouraging everyone take the Just Drive Pledge - to put away your phone and focus on the road.

"I feel like I'm here to get it out there."


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