By Maggie Cooney
In a matter of seconds, a 23-year-old’s life was forever changed.
Gabe Hurley was a simple man who drove a nice car, went to the gym, played in a band, and did everything a normal man would do until one car accident changed it all.
On the night of July 18, 2009, Hurley was driving to a CVS to get supplies for his trip to Las Vegas. While, driving home in his Ford Mustang, he made a left turn onto Oak Tree Road in Middlesex County, New Jersey .
Seconds later, at approximately 11:15 p.m., a 17-year-old male driving a Toyota Celica slammed into a bridge underpass, ricocheting into Hurley’s car. From the teenager’s car, the air conditioning compressor smashed through his windshield, destroying both of Hurley’s eyes and leaving his facial bones shattered.
After three weeks in a medically induced coma, two months of rehabilitation, and 12 surgeries, you could say that Hurley’s positive spirits are a miracle.
“I lost my sight, but I also lost parts or all of four of my five senses,” Hurley explains. “My chin split in half and seven teeth were lost. One of them ended up in my lung cavity, which doctors had to remove later on. As a plastic surgeon would later say, my facial tissue was completely destabilized.”
Throughout New Jersey, Hurley has been giving speeches about his accident, his recovery, his new life, and about driving safety, Since his first speech, Hurley has given more than 60 talks throughout the state to juvenile delinquents, traffic safety professionals, and middle and high school students.
On February 12, 2015, Immaculate Heart Academy’s freshman and sophomore classes had the privilege to hear Gabe Hurley’s story. Many students asked questions and all were inspired.
“Gabe Hurley was an inspiration to us all,” IHA freshman, Rebecca Jarrett, explains. “His determination to continue living his life is truly amazing. I am really glad that I attended the assembly and got the chance to hear all of his extraordinary things he has done since his accident.”
Students also got to hear some of the tunes that Hurley performed on his electric guitar. The students were enamored with him being able to play while being blind. They clapped and hummed to some of the familiar tunes he played.
“I enjoyed his music. I was very interested in how he could play the guitar while blind, and how he could learn other songs, also,” another IHA freshman, Colette Petric, says.
The purpose of Gabe Hurley’s presentation was spread awareness about distracted driving and encourage safe driving.
”Right now my mission is to prevent tragedies such as mine from happening to other people and their families,” Hurley says. “That’s my immediate goal.”
Categories: News@the Heart