Drunk driver hit Racine County parole officer

RACINE (CBS58) — A Racine County parole officer was critically injured in an accident on Sunday, June 19. She is still recovering at Fredtert Hospital. According to investigators, she and four other people were hit by a drunk driver.

The disaster changed Crystal Petri’s life forever. Relatives say that she does not want to drive a car, or even be a passenger. They have a very long road to recovery.

“I remember seeing lights. They were coming straight for us and I just remember thinking about my son. I was sure we were going to die,” Petri said.

Petri survived to tell her story. Petri and three other friends were leaving an event in Racine on Sunday. The road home was interrupted near Goring Road and Douglas Avenue in the village of Caledonia. Prosecutors say it’s all because of Carnell Williford, 31. The police say he was drunk.

“It really gives me insight into drunk driving,” Petrie said.

Two witnesses told police that Williford had been driving recklessly before the accident. They say his car completely crossed the center line and drove into the oncoming lane. It was then that he crashed into Petri’s friend’s car.

The officers contacted Williford, who smelled of intoxicants from his mouth, had bloodshot and glazed eyes, and spoke indistinctly. Williford initially said he fell asleep at the wheel, but then said he was looking at his phone to change music right before the accident. The criminal complaint states that he failed all sobriety tests at the scene.

“Why did you get into the car? There is so much talk on TV about not driving while intoxicated,” said Kimberly Bahena. She is Petri’s mother.

Petri is short of breath due to damage to his lungs and chest. She also has several broken bones and struggles to stand on her feet.

“She will survive. We are planning a rehab. We are not planning a funeral and I am very grateful for that,” said Bahena.

“I’m still so happy to be here, no amount of pain I’m going through right now can top my gratitude,” Petrie said.

Williford is charged with four counts of reckless endangering security in the first degree and an additional four counts of causing injury while intoxicated. He was released on $2,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 29.