Accident Survivors Bond After Driver Diagnosed With Epilepsy

Courtesy: Tyler Stewart, News and Tribune

Clark County Indiana–  Mark Peredo was on his way home from work on Interstate 65 in April 2015 when he was struck head on by a diver who was crossed the median.  While he survived Mark sustained multiple injuries that required several surgeries over the next year.

The driver Luke Hutchinson doesn’t remember the accident.  He finished his work shift and was on his way home.  The next thing he remembers is waking up in a helicopter and a police officer taking his license at the hospital.  Luke was eventually told he passed out behind the wheel of his car, crossed the median and struck two vehicles.  The accident left him with many broken bones and bruises.  Initial tests revealed no drugs or alcohol were in his system.

A neurologist ordered a series of tests which revealed two malformations in his brain.  The blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in his brain were tangled.  An arteriovenous malmormation (AVM) can form anywhere in the body, but are more common in the brain or spine.  The condition limits oxygen delivery to the brain and while they can develop in older people, AVM’s generally begin at birth and get worse as the patient ages.

In Luke’s case, doctors believe the AVM has been there since birth and has progressively gotten worse.  Luke had a seizure behind the wheel that night.  He had never had a seizure before and wasn’t aware of the malformation prior to that night.  He was in shock when he learned of the accident and the diagnosis.  Luke was diagnosed with epilepsy.  Since they know the cause and it’s caused by another medical condition, it’s considered symptomatic epilepsy.  He said, “I was in complete shock. Like, what just happened to me? And how did this happen to me?”

After a series of events, including the accident, Mark Peredo went through states of anger, isolation and wanted to give up completely.  He said, “I didn’t want to be here, I wanted to be somewhere else.”  Mark decided to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain as part of the healing process. When he started the walk he was still angry at the driver and needed to focus on himself. But, he began to notice his anger decreasing the more he walked.

After returning home from Spain in November of 2016 Mark decided he wanted to find the driver that caused the accident.  Was he OK?  What happened the day of the accident?  What caused the accident?  After doing some research he saw there was more to the accident than a reckless driver and contacted the drivers’ father to see if he could help arrange a meeting.  Both were nervous about the meeting, but Luke was afraid Mark was still angry but thought it was the least he could do to make up for that day.

The meeting went better than expected.  They have bonded and are now friends.  Mark and Luke are on now a healing journey together.  They are planning a trip to Camino de Santiago in Spain this October.  Luke still has guilt because of the accident even though it wasn’t his fault and Mark believes this will bring closure for both them and help them move forward.

We commend Mark and Luke.  Mark for helping Luke when most people would carry the anger regardless of the circumstances.  And Luke, thank you for being an inspiration for all of us living with epilepsy.  You show us that no matter what happens we can push forward and get through it!

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