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Victim In ICU After Police Say He Was Hit By DUI Driver

Reported by: Send eMail Stephen DiPietrantonio
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Also Contributing: Katelyn Sykes
Reported: Dec. 12, 2013 6:16 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 13, 2013 9:12 AM EST


DUI Crash
Eyewitness News Photo

Nitro , Kanawha County , West Virginia

A 28-year-old man from Nitro was fighting for his life Thursday night in a Charleston hospital.

Police said he is lucky to be alive after a drunk driver slammed into the car he was riding in.

Matthew Morris is in critical condition - His neck is broken, he has broken ribs, his face is beaten-up pretty badly.

There were even questions he might be partially paralyzed.

But before doctors heavily sedated Morris, his mother, June Morris, said she got signs her son is going to pull through.

"I touched his toe and he went like this,” Morris said, as she waved her arm back and forth. “Then I reached down and I said, ‘I love you, Matthew. You're still my baby boy!’ And hardly no response, but I'm sure he knows I'm there."

Morris has been running on adrenalin since early Thursday morning.

"It's not a call you want to get at 1 o'clock in the morning," Morris said.

She learned that her only son Matthew was critically injured in a violent car crash.

It happened at the bottom of the Nitro-St. Albans bridge, on the Nitro side, just before midnight.

Police said a car driven by Justin Miller, 34, of St. Albans T-boned the car Morris was a passenger in.

The impact knocked miller out of the car.

"It knocked his shoes completely off his feet,” she said. “So we haven't found his shoes yet."

Police shut the bridge down for about five hours. The other two people in the car with Morris we said to be OK.

"Good morning, Mr. Miller. How are you today?” a judge asked Justin Miller.

“I'm good,” Miller said. “Thank you, Sir."

Miller was not hurt. He was charged with DUI.

Nitro police said Miller failed all three field sobriety tests.

"How much do I have to come-up with to get out?” Miller asked the judge.

“$15,000 in cash," was the reply.

Miller's eyes widened when the judge told him his bail during his arraignment, but when he heard that Morris is clinging to life, his head dropped.

June Morris said her son is a fighter.

"I've just got it in the Lord's hands,” she said. “He'll take care of it and all i ask for is people to keep us in their prayers."

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in West Virginia, the number of people arrested for DUI so far this year is down from last year.

But last year, taxpayers shouldered about $437 million in subsidies for accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Morris is scheduled for surgery Monday, as doctors try to repair his broken neck.
Miller denied Eyewitness News’ request for an in-jail interview.

If convicted, he faces up to two years behind bars.

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