Lone survivor of DUI crash, changed Virginia law, has message for young drivers

Ray 'Sugar Ray' Dyke tells Heritage High students to always wear seat belts

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Jarring pictures from a 1993 accident in Roanoke show what was left of this car, that was hit head-on by a drunken driver.

"The block on the engine on my left leg. I was at an awkward angle they had to lift me out. They had to break it to get me out,” Ray "Sugar Ray" Dyke said. 

Dyke, the only survivor of the crash that killed three others, spoke with Heritage High students about the accident that left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. 

"If something like that was to happen to me. You know, I have my own aspirations in life, I kind of know what I want to do, I kind of know (what) I want to do (at) college that could all change at any moment," said 10th-grader Grace Steger. 

Dyke, who was 21 at the time, and his friend Jeff were wearing their seat belts when a drunken driver came speeding at 110 miles an hour, airborne, crossed the median on 581 and hit them.

Dyke says Virginia laws changed after their accident.

In July 1993 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made changes to the Commonwealth's impaired driving laws such as taking away driving privileges from those arrested for impaired driving, and habitual offenders faced criminal penalties.

"More people are being saved this way. It took our accident to get it to that point,” Dyke said.

Now 46 years old, Dyke wants his younger fellow Pioneers to know the importance of making smart and lawful decisions. 

“It was a great learning experience (as) it shows me like you know wearing a seat belt saved his life it could save mine too,” Tyler Coleman, a 10th-grader, said. 

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