Rogers County Family Recovering From Being Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - A Rogers County mother and her two children were hospitalized after a crash involving a suspected drunk driver.
The family said they are still reeling from the effects drunk driving can have, all in a matter of seconds. It's a moment Cassidee Copeland said she'll never forget.
The mother of two was driving south on Highway 169 near Oologah with 4-year-old Jayden and 2-year-old Jaycee when, out of nowhere, suspected drunk driver Ronnie Epperly slammed into her car.
"It was the worst feeling a mother could ever have; is questioning herself, are your babies alive,” Cassidee said. “Because what if you look back there and they're not?"
Jayden suffered a broken eye socket, Jaycee two broken legs and Cassidee a knee injury.
Northwest Rogers County Fire Captain, Joshua Copeland - otherwise known as dad - was working the day of the accident and was first on the scene.
"No training in the world can prepare you for what I was dealt that day," he said.
"So when they saw him, they were like, ‘my safe havens here, my hero's here, my daddy's here, I'm going to be ok,'" Cassidee said.
The recovery process could be a long battle for the young family.
"The fractures on our 2-year-old Jaycee, they said, could affect her growth plates, so we don't know what the future holds, we don't know if that's going to stunt her growth, if she's ever going to run and play normal again that makes me angry,” Joshua said. “To see my sons face look like somebody beat him with a baseball bat is just I can't explain it to you, what I felt."
It's a feeling he and his wife said they are still coming to terms with, because of another's choice behind the wheel.
Epperly was arrested. Troopers said he ditched his car, and they found him hiding in a bush with his 13-year-old son shortly after the wreck.
According to online court records, Epperly has been convicted of DUI in 1997 and another time in 2009.
Outside the OHP Troop B Headquarters an ENDUI van has been set up to serve as a reminder that troopers are ramping up their efforts statewide to crack down on drunk driving.
Extra enforcement starts Wednesday and goes through Thanksgiving on to the weekend.