The Faces of Tragedy

Your Donations at Work

Since 1991, through the generosity of our donors, over $838,307.00 has been donated to families who are in a financial crisis as a result of uninsured and underinsured impaired drivers.  Below are some examples of families the AAIM’s Victims Assistance Fund assisted financially in the 2022 fiscal year:

October 2021, a mother was traveling with two of her three children when a three-time drunk driver struck them in an intersection at a high rate of speed. The mother died at the scene, and her 15-year-old daughter died a few days later. Her five-year-old son was in critical condition but has since recovered from his physical injuries.

The mother's cousin is now the legal guardian of her now six-year-old son. A surviving sibling, who is 21 years old, spends time with his brother every weekend. 

Before the crash, the cousin's adult children were supporting her. The extra expenses she gained since the crash has strained her financially. Her rent is subsidized through the "Scattered Base Program." Thankfully, she was not in jeopardy of losing her home. 

The AAIM advocate learned the child needed a bed, a dresser, and clothes. Her adult children helped with her financial responsibilities while she was waiting for disability for her physical and medical issues.  AAIM provided funds to purchase a new bed and dresser for her cousin's son and a Walmart gift card for groceries and school clothes.

January 2019, an impaired driver traveling over 100 mph rear-ended a 38-year-old man who was stopped at a red light, killing the man instantly.  The victim was the sole source of income for their household, as his wife hadn’t worked in more than eight years.  She was unable to afford funeral expenses, as they had no savings.  A Go Fund Me account was set up to pay funeral expenses.  She took a job part-time after her husband was killed until she would be able to work full time.  She is overwhelmed with grief and has started attending the grief group with her mother-in-law.  Her in-laws have been trying to assist her with daily living expenses the best they can.  She has been having trouble paying her utilities, as well as having money for daily expenses such as food and toiletries.  This has added a heavy burden on her, at a most difficult time.  The AAIM Fund paid for utilities for three months and provided a gift card for food and necessities.

February 2018, a 23-year-old woman and her boyfriend were struck by an impaired driver.  The victim suffered a crushed pelvis, lacerated liver, and a collapsed lung from the impact of the crash.  She was in a wheelchair for months, then used a walker and now walks with a severe limp.  She has been told she will always have pain and not regain her ability to walk normally.  She recently was told that she suffered neurological issues from the crash, causing her to have tremors in her limbs.  She was also told that she suffered from an undiagnosed brain injury incurred from the crash, which causes her to not comprehend even simple instructions. Her boyfriend suffered bumps and bruises from the crash and took care of her after the crash.  They are currently renting a house together.  She opened a cleaning business with her sister, but the physical toll left her in constant pain, and she had a falling out with her sister.  She has had a string of jobs and was feeling positive about moving forward prior to COVID-19.  Since the pandemic, she has lost her daycare and waitressing jobs.  She has a dream to get her GED, which would help her get a decent job.  She suffers from depression since the crash and needs counseling.  She’s struggling to pay rent, buy groceries, toiletries, simple necessities, winter clothes, is behind on utility bills and other expenses.  The AAIM Fund paid past due utility bills, car insurance, GED test fees, counseling sessions and provided gift cards for gas, groceries, toiletries and necessities. 

February 2019, a 33-year-old was on his way home when his car was struck by a vehicle that ran a red light.  The victim was injured badly with broken ribs, knee damage, loss of smell and taste nad he lost sight in his left eye.  Due to his injuries from the crash, he’s had to take extended time off from work.   get to her many doctor appointments.  Since the beginning of this summer, the victim   The AAIM Fund paid for physical therapy and gift cards for Uber for transportation. 

February 2017, an impaired driver ran a red traffic signal and struck two vehicles.  The 20-year-old victim was in the second vehicle.  Both the victim and offender had to be extricated from their vehicles.  The victim was taken to the hospital, where she later died from her injuries.  The victim left behind a two-year-old daughter; whose father didn’t want custody of her.  The victim’s mother and brother were living with the victim who was helping to pay rent, utilities and daily living expenses at the time of the crash.  The victim’s mother had just gotten married and was getting ready to live with her new husband and son, but the crash changed everything.  She is now single and has full custody of her granddaughter.  She applied for social security and food stamps for her granddaughter but was denied.  Her granddaughter’s father was paying for daycare but decided he doesn’t want to pay any longer.  She is working full time to support her family and trying to do the best she can.  Her granddaughter can’t start kindergarten this year, due to her birthday being in October.  The government pays a portion of the daycare, but there still is a portion left unpaid.  The AAIM Fund has paid for the portion of the daycare costs for 12 months that the government doesn’t cover. 

September 2019, a 17-year-old-young man who had autism, was walking home and while crossing the street was struck by a vehicle that didn’t stop.  Witnesses saw the vehicle hit the young man and called 911.  Meanwhile, a second vehicle struck the young man causing him to die at the scene.  The young man lived with his grandmother, who was his legal guardian and caretaker.  She had adopted him and received money for his care from the State.  His grandmother is disabled and unable to work.  She has lost half of her income since her grandson’s death and was unable to pay her monthly rent in its entirety, get housing assistance or get her car repaired.  Due to this, she has decided to move out of her apartment and move in with her mother to help ease her financial burdens. She fractured her leg and was unable to continue packing and moving boxes.  The AAIM Fund paid to have her car repaired, new tires, gift cards for necessities and packing and moving expenses.

March 2019, a 32-year-old woman was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated driver.  The driver was driving at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle.  The 32-year-old-woman died at the scene and another passenger in the backseat was badly injured and had to have her leg amputated.  The 32-year-old’s mother was extremely depressed after losing her daughter.  She was unable to work for four months and at the time of the crash her husband was on leave from work due to a broken leg.  She had no money coming in and his salary was reduced to 50%, causing them to fall behind on bills.  They also had to pay her daughter’s funeral expenses out of pocket.  The AAIM Fund paid for past due utility charges.

March 2018, a 36-year-old woman was walking across the street in a crosswalk, when the offender ran a red light, striking a car that had the right-of-way, then striking her and lastly a traffic signal pole.  The victim suffered head, neck and leg injuries and was taken to the hospital.  The victim has been in physical therapy, but her injuries to her leg and knee weren’t getting any better.  She got a second opinion and it was found that she had additional injuries to her leg that had not been seen previously.  She had surgery on her knee and leg, but unfortunately, she couldn’t pursue her dream.  Prior to the crash she had finished nursing school and moved back to Illinois to pursue her dream of nursing.  She lost her nursing job shortly after her surgery, as she couldn’t be on her feet for long periods of time.  She got a part-time job to try to get caught up on her bills, but her doctor limits her to how many consecutive hours she can work.   Her job hasn’t been accommodating to her constraints and so they let her go.  She moved in with her mother, but that isn’t working out and she’s trying to find someplace else to stay.  She is behind on her phone bill and is fearful of it being shut off, as it is her lifeline for trying to find a place to live and a job.  The crash has taken a toll on her mentally as well.  She is currently seeing a counselor for anxiety and depression as a result of the crash.  The AAIM Fund paid the past due phone bill and provided a gas card.

February 2007, an 18-year-old woman was asleep in the backseat of her aunt’s van when they were abruptly struck head-on by a wrong way impaired driver.  She survived the crash but continues to battle many health problems.  She is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the crash.  She lives in her home with her daughter.  Due to the crash, she has lost the ability to work.  The minimal settlement that she received is in trust for her long-term medical care.  She is driving a van with 100,000+ miles, and it recently needed extensive repair work.  Due to the cost of the repair, she was faced with the possibility of losing her independence of being able to drive, take herself to doctor appointments or even drive her daughter to school and events.  In 2019, The AAIM Fund assisted The Y-noT Project who donated a large amount of funding to cover the purchase of a new used handicap van for this young woman. The Y-noT Project is a non-profit organization honoring Tony Borcia who was killed by an impaired boater; the group is dedicated to stopping intoxicated boaters. ynotproject.org 

August 2019, a 40-year-old woman was driving her cousin’s vehicle and had four passengers in the vehicle; two of the passengers were children under the age of seven. A vehicle driven by an impaired driver travelling at a high rate of speed crossed the solid yellow line and struck the 40-year-old woman’s vehicle head-on.     One of the passengers died, the owner of the vehicle was taken into surgery, the children were taken to a trauma center, as well as the woman driver.  The woman driver missed work due to the crash and lost her job.  She has no health insurance and is behind on paying her tuition.  She wants to attend counseling, but her situation is making it difficult.  She is currently working part-time.  The AAIM Fund has paid for counseling sessions.

August 2019, a 37-year-old woman was a passenger in her vehicle that her cousin was driving and had 3 other passengers as well in the vehicle; two of the passengers were children under the age of seven.  A vehicle driven by an impaired driver traveling at a high rate of speed crossed the solid yellow line and struck the vehicle head-on.  One of the passengers died, the driver of the vehicle was taken to the trauma center, as well as the children.  The 37-year-old woman was taken into surgery suffering from broken bones, fractures, dislocated hand/wrist and had an operation on her abdomen.  She was attending school on a visa specifically for working towards her master’s degree.  She was able to work part- according to the limitations of her visa prior to the crash.  Since the crash, she has lost her job and is unable to find one to satisfy the work limitations of the visa.  She is without a vehicle, unable to finish her current course for school and still owes her school fees for semester.  She is currently renting a room, but is unable to afford groceries, cell phone bill and the rent.  She wants to attend counseling, but her situation makes it difficult.  The AAIM FUND has paid for rent, cell phone bill and counseling.

January 2019, a 38 -year-old man was sitting at a stoplight when he was rear-ended at 100mph by a drunk driver, killing him instantly.  His parents assisted his grieving wife by using their savings to help with household and auto repairs while she was looking for a job.  They also paid for their son’s funeral expenses.  They were dealing with crippling grief in addition to the financial strain.  The victim’s mother was unable to work due to her emotional state. The father had to have a kidney transplant and was unable to work.  Unfortunately, they both contracted COVID.  The father lost his job and benefits; the mother wanted to be near her husband when he was in hospital, so working was sporadic.  The mother recovered, but the father was in the hospital on a ventilator.  Sadly, he passed away.  She is needing help with her mortgage and utility bills.  The AAIM Fund was able to pay her mortgage for three months and her utility bills.

June 2010, an 18-year-old woman went out with friends to celebrate her 18th birthday.  She and her three friends went to see a movie.  The driver of the vehicle stopped to buy a bottle of vodka after seeing the movie and headed to the beach.  On the way home he crashed into a tree killing two passengers. The mother has had a struggle ever since her death, living on limited income and supporting two other daughters.  Her oldest daughter lost her job due to COVID and isn’t able to contribute to household expenses or rent.  They are currently living in a hotel, which another family member is paying for weekly, since they got evicted from their last apartment.  She has found an apartment where the landlord is willing to work with her on the rent, let her move in early at no extra cost and even provide her with furniture.  They need help with rent and purchasing two new beds.  The AAIM Fund was able to pay two months rent and purchase two queen size beds.   

August 2006, A young father delivered newspapers and was headed to work at 4:45 A.M on. He was in front of his apartment when his car stalled. He went back to get his dad so he could jump-start his vehicle. He and his father were working on the car when a two-time drunk driver came around the corner. The young father pushed his dad out of the way but he was unable to avoid being hit. His leg was crushed. He has diabetes and never completely recovered from his leg injury. In addition, he suffered infections in his foot that never completely healed. In 2012, they had to amputate part of his foot. His kidneys were damaged in the crash, which also caused complications in healing, and was put on dialysis. On May 30, 2022, he was hospitalized and put on a ventilator; his organs failed. He passed away on June 22, 2022, at the age of 49. after a long 16-year journey of treatment, setbacks, and healing. 

Since the crash his wife has been the sole provider for her family. They had two children their A daughter  now an adult, and son who just turned 17 years old. The grandmother, who lived with them and helped pay rent, and she passed away three months earlier. Family and friends helped financially until she could get back on her feet. The ripple effect continues to plague this family.  

The AAIM Fund was able to pay one month rent, utilities, auto loan and insurance and groceries.   

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