‘Don’t Do It!’ Paralyzed 12-Year-Old Warns Against Drunk Driving

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FORT WORTH -- Drink responsibly. Have a designated driver. Drink.  Drive.  Go to Jail. We hear messages like this all the time.  Still, it's all-too-easy to forget that things worse than going to jail can happen when you drink and drive, and not only to the driver.

Take Xitclalli Vasquez as an example.  Don't worry if you have trouble with her first name. She goes by Chilli.

Chilli is 12 years old.  In July of 2011, three days before her 8th birthday, she was in the car with family members when their vehicle was struck head on.  The driver, 20-year-old Jeremy Solis, was drunk.  His blood-alcohol level was .23, nearly three times the legal limit.

Solis pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxication assault and has been in jail serving a 10-year sentence ever since.

Chilli's spent that time in a wheelchair, and her sentence is even longer.  She's paralyzed from the chest down. She refuses to live a victim's life though, and stays remarkably positive.

But that's not to say the life of a pre-teen paraplegic is easy.

"Seeing people stare at me and seeing stuff that I used to do, I can't do it anymore. That's what hurts me the most," Chilli said.

She also said she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, "After seeing them taking care of me, it inspired me to be one of them."

In the meantime, Chilli is lending her story to the Texas Department of Transportation as they try to curb impaired driving leading up to the Labor Day holiday.  TxDOT says last year, 50% of the accidents over Labor Day weekend were DUI-related.

The message of the campaign is simple.

"If you're gonna drink, stay in that one place or call somebody," said Chilli. "But if you're gonna drink and drive, don't do it."

It's good advice, y'all, no matter how many times you've heard it.