WOODRIDGE, Ill. (CBS)— She never made it to the prom.
Five years ago, Leeslyee Huerta was struck by a drunken driver on the Stevenson and paralyzed.READ MORE: Business Is Booming For Paralegal Turned Cleaning Contractor, Thanks In Part To CTA's 'Building Small Business Program'
On Friday night, the Bolingbrook woman got a second chance. And as CBS 2’s Mike Parker, she’s giving the driver who hit her a second chance as well.
The Cinderella night began with Leeslyee and her boyfriend exchanging corsages. Then they headed for the limo that would take them to the Metea Valley High School Senior Prom, where she’s the invited guest of honor.
“I just want to enjoy the moment and feel like it was my prom,” Leeslyee tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker.
Five years ago, a drunken driver plowed into her van head-on. Her back was broken, and she remains paralyzed from the waist down.READ MORE: Police Investigating Multiple Break-Ins On Northwest Side, Suburbs
She was bitter for years. Then, a few weeks ago, that drunken driver, who was severely injured himself, got word that Huerta wanted to meet with him. Nick Chodzko counsels young people about the dangers of impaired driving.
The two met, and Leeslyee forgave him.
“It took me years,” she says. “I just thought about all the hate that I felt for him, because that was not even making me happy. I was just so depressed.”
“I thought she would never forgive me, and I was willing to accept it,” says Chodzko, who also provided a specially equipped van for Leeslyee. “I always carry that guilt around, but I know that she’s at ease with her life now.”
Leeslyee, free from bitterness, celebrated her prom on Friday night.MORE NEWS: Firefighters Battle Fire At Abandoned Warehouse On Northwest Side
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports