Woman who was hit by a drunk driver warns you not to drink and drive

Ruth Heath (left) and her granddaughter Julia Shipp (right)

MAYFIELD, Ky. — Don’t drink and drive. Police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers, especially during the holidays.

It’s more than putting yourself in danger. You can put someone else’s life in danger.

Ruth Heath knows this from first hand experience. She and her granddaughter Julia survived a crash when a drunk driver hit them.

You might recognize her by her last name. Her husband is Representative Richard Heath.

Last year, she made headlines when she and her granddaughter Julia were hit by a drunk driver. “After we were hit by the vehicle, Julia was unresponsive, but I could hear her choking and I could do nothing to help her,” Heath said. “The pain that I was suffering at that time was horrible, but I was scared for her life and I did the only thing I knew to do. I cried out to God to help us and help us he did. He saved her life.”

Heath’s car after the accident.

They were both flown from the crash to the hospital. Julia suffered severe brain and physical injuries. She went from being a three time world champion in Taekwondo to being confined to a wheelchair and learning basic skills.

“She wants to be normal, but we’ll have to find a new normal because our lives are never going to be normal like they were before,” Heath said.

Heath had to have surgery and a year of physical therapy on her shoulder. She says the driver made a choice that day.

“The choice he made that day impacted everybody in that pictures life,” said Heath.

Robin Tucker was convicted of DUI and other charges related to this crash.

The driver is Robin Tucker. He was sentenced in December 2018 to 10 years in jail for DUI and assault charges because of their injuries.

Graves County Chief Deputy Devant Ramage said if you drink and drive you’ll start your new year in jail. “It’s really not worth what it costs you. A cab ride is much cheaper than a defense attorney, or paying a fine on a DUI,” Ramage said.

“Please don’t drink and drive because it ruins lives and if it doesn’t ruin them it changes them forever,” Heath said.

Julia is walking again, but she still is learning how to be as strong as she once was. Here is a story we did on when she met the first responders who saved her life.

Make your plans for how to get home safely ahead of time. Designate a sober driver or schedule a cab service.

If you have a smart phone, you can download the Lyft app. You can call a ride on demand in some areas using that service.

For more on this story and others, like Leah Shields on Facebook.