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Decatur man hit by car shares story of recovery

WAAY 31 spoke with Burton on Monday about his long road to recovery and what kind of changes he’d like to see.

Posted: Mar 25, 2019 8:27 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2019 9:41 PM

It’s been ten months since a young man from Decatur was hit by a car and seriously injured. Now, he wants to see some changes.

Cole Burton, 21, was doing a survey on the side of the road when he and another man were hit by the drunk driver. The other man passed away.

WAAY 31 spoke with Burton on Monday about his long road to recovery and what kind of changes he’d like to see.

“I don’t know why I can’t walk, why I can’t talk.”

Those were some of the thoughts 21-year-old Cole Burton had when he woke up in a hospital he’d never been in before.

After about three weeks in a coma, Burton’s parents had to explain to him what happened.

“She was impaired on multiple things. She ran off the road and ran into a group of 18 of us," Burton said. "Fortunately, she only hit two of us. Unfortunately, the other student that got hit passed away.”

Burton is a geology major at Auburn University and was with a class, studying rocks on the side of the road, when the accident happened.

Now, Burton says his eyes are opened to how often these kinds of things happen. He says he strongly supports the move-over law that requires any driver to move when they see flashing lights on the side of the road.

Burton also supports a bill making its way through the Alabama legislature right now that would make holding your phone in your car illegal.

“I think phones are a big thing that distract people," Burton said. "Even something as simple as changing the radio station is something very dangerous when there are pedestrians on the side of the highway."

It was a few months before Burton was able to walk and talk again. And, now, Burton is sharing his story in hopes of making a difference and keeping something like this from happening again.

“I’m not driving yet, but I pay attention and remind my driver, whoever it is, to watch out. It’s very important that they move over safely," Burton said. "I would tell other drivers not to only just get over, but to slow down and use caution.”

The driver who hit Burton has been charged with manslaughter, felony assault, and reckless endangerment. She is awaiting trial.

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