Students hear talk on making ‘good choices’ _lowres

Photo provided by West Feliciana Drug & Alcohol Abuse Council -- Eric Searcy, center, gathers with West Feliciana High School students and staff during a recent visit .His talk on 'Making Good Choices' was sponsored by the West Feliciana Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council.

An LSU graduate whose dreams of playing college baseball were ended by a drunk driver shared his experiences recently with students at West Feliciana Middle and West Feliciana High schools.

The West Feliciana Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, the West Feliciana Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and Entergy Corporation invited Eric Searcy to tell his story.

Searcy grew up with a love of baseball, he told the students. He dreamed of being a pitcher at the College World Series.

After completing his first semester at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he learned that he had earned a position on the baseball team.

It was Dec. 5, 1998, when he got the news and he decided to celebrate with a few friends. After the celebration, he headed home.

One month later, he woke up in the hospital. He was paralyzed and had been on life support since a crash, he said.

He said he was told that a drunk driver smashed into his car.

Three vertebrae were broken in his neck and his spinal cord was severed. After many surgeries and years in rehabilitation, Searcy uses a wheelchair. He can move his head and he has regained much of the use of his arms.

He graduated from LSU and earned a master’s degree in 2008.

Searcy’s message is quite simple.

He doesn’t want anybody to feel sorry for him — he doesn’t feel sorry for himself, he said.

He said he has a good life, that he even loves his life, but he hates the way he has to live. It only takes one bad decision to lead to a bad outcome, he said.

There were five friends of the drunk driver with him at the bar that night, he said. None of them took the car keys away from that driver, Searcy said.

Searcy’s lifelong dream was stolen from him, he said. When the Ragin’ Cajuns went to Omaha to play in the College World Series, Searcy was in a rehabilitation facility to learn how to breathe on his own, he said.

Searcy told the students he wants everyone to understand the importance of making good choices, because good choices make good outcomes.

As he put it, “You read about it happening in the newspaper or hear about in on television, but you never think it’s going to happen to you.”