An Albury Thunder footballer and his best mate share their gripping story - in the hope it will change some of the region's drink drivers.MEG PIGRAM November 15, 2012 10:32am
An Albury footballer who left his mate in a wheelchair after a car accident five years ago uses his experience to change the attitude of other young drivers and highlight the dangers of drink driving.
Mark Walsham, who teamed up with Victoria Police as part of their Cool Heads project, has spoken to young people this side of the border about his experience in jail as a result of a car accident.
It was just over five years ago when Mark and his best mate Theo Jooz were having a few quiet drinks at Mark’s Albury home when they decided it was a good time to go fishing.
For Mark, who had been caught drink driving before and ‘‘always got away with it’’, it seemed nothing new to be drink driving.
Fast forward a few hours and Mark was forced to swerve to avoid wiping out a kangaroo but in doing so he rolled his car four times. He was lucky to escape serious injury with only a few cuts and bruises, however his best mate Theo wasn’t quite so lucky.
‘‘It was a real eerie feeling,’’ Mark told the Border Mail.
‘‘I knew he wouldn’t have left me.
‘‘I just didn’t know what was going on but I knew I would find Theo wherever he was.’’
He discovered Theo lying face down in a paddock, 5
Theo suffered multiple fractures and damage to his spinal cord which has left him wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.
While many friendships wouldn’t survive such a horrific ordeal, that of Mark and Theo did and they now talk to other young people about the impacts of road trauma.
Mark was charged with aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and sentenced to 10 months in prison which he says ‘‘made him grow up’’.
According to Mark life inside a cell was far from ideal — being fed the same food for five days.
‘‘It was hell, I wouldn’t let my dog stay there,’’ he said.
There are still a host of young drivers on our roads drink driving — and that doesn’t sit easy with Mark or Theo.
‘‘They saw what I went through and my family and Theo, but there is only so much you can say,’’ he said.
Mark and Theo have since used their experience in partnership with Victoria Police and the Cool Heads program which aims to change driver behaviour.
In recent times Mark and Theo shared their story with schools at Wodonga and further into Victoria as well as the television show Today Tonight.
Mark and Theo were expected to speak at Rutherglen Cool Heads last month but had prior commitments.
They welcome invitations to speak at different schools and share their story.
At the information day about the possibility of a drug and alcohol addiction recovery centre being established near Numurkah, News journalist Elaine Cooney met an inspirational Wunghnu woman who pulled herself from the depths of an ice addiction to become a better mother to her children
At the presentations located at the half-way mark of YMGCR's Lake Course, PGA Legends Co-Ordinator Andy Rogers said, "It's been a great three days.
Tatura’s rainfall for the last three months of 2015, 116.6mm, was marginally down on the long-term average for the same period, 120.8mm.
THE Mistress became the first locally owned boat in 26 years to win the Superclass in the Southern 80.
ROCHESTER has welcomed a new family into the community this year.
More of the districts newest preps
No end to V/Line's troubles
The Finley community will always remember the tremendous Trevor Hendy, who was friends with everyone.
TOOLLEEN Recreation Reserve Committee of Management presented three awards on Australia Day in front of 80 local residents.
%Cobram’s new, state-of-the-art library is a step closer to reality, with construction works expected to begin at the Punt Rd site within weeks.
World War II veteran Max Gunn reflects on town's historic recognition.
There’s been a big win for SPC and Australian tomato growers.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.