Law students rally for classmate injured by suspected drunk driver

Published: Apr. 4, 2013 at 9:51 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM EDT
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Mike and Alan Martinez (Source: Mike Martinez)
Mike and Alan Martinez (Source: Mike Martinez)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - USC law students are rallying around one of their own.

Alan Martinez was almost killed by a suspected drunk driver late last year. He's been recovering since the crash and now his friends are pitching in to help. They hosted a party called All in for Alan Thursday at 701 Whaley to try to send some money south.

As an instructor at Skydive Carolina, Martinez has jumped out of a plane more than 1600 times.
But it wasn't hurtling toward the earth that nearly killed him: it was a driver going the wrong way down Interstate 77. The South Carolina Highway Patrol said that driver was drunk.

"They collided head-on," said Alan's brother, Mike. "And I guess he didn't see him until it was too late."

Mike Martinez was tailgating last September when he got the news.

The accident left his brother in a coma with injuries to his back legs and abdomen. He's been in and out of the hospital ever since and is now recovering at home in Florida.

"Some times you take a step forward then a step back," said Mike. "There are little complications here and there, but he's been moving forward ever since."

"He would talk to people and say 'Come skydive with me!' We'd say, 'No,the worse thing I'm going to do is law school!"

Andrew Johnson met Martinez last year. He said the Air Force Academy grad was magnetic. Just a friendly guy with a big heart. He founded USC's Animal Legal Defense Fund.

"It goes all the way down to animals," said Johnson. "He cares about the smallest of animals and the meanest of humans. He's just a really caring guy and it's easy to get along with him."

Johnson and more than 150 others are getting together to raise money. Martinez's parents have been at his bedside ever since and bills are stacking up.

His brother said anything helps.

"It's been great," he said. "It's really heart warming."

"When you realize that it happens to your friend, it puts it all in perspective," said Johnson. "It doesn't take much. It doesn't take it being your fault, it can happen out of the blue."

Mike said his brother has been doing a lot of work with occupational and speech therapists and is beginning to respond and communicate.

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