Victim, now 12, puts face on DWI consequences


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist Chris Shadrock

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 3 at 7:01 PM

AUSTIN -- Jessica Huber is 12 now.  KVUE first introduced you to her in 2005.  At that point she'd been healing for three years. Her mother ran a red light on Highway 290 and collided with a truck.  Jessica was hurt so badly doctors told her father they would not be able to save her. She was just 19-months-old.

Since the accident she's undergone numerous facial reconstruction and brain surgeries.  Yet her father still calls her a miracle child and a child who wants to put a face on DWI. Wednesday her courage was rewarded.

In many respects, Jessica Huber looks just like any other 12-year-old.  Then you notice the leg brace, and scars around her head and face and you realize she's traveled a much more difficult road.

"This is a prime example of what can go wrong, but here's a miracle too," said Mark Huber, Jessica's father.  "She is the exception to the rule."  

Court documents showed Jessica's mother was under the influence of alcohol and painkillers when she ran the red light and collided with the truck.  She got 10 years probation after pleading guilty to injuring a child.  Doctors told Huber not to get his hopes up.

"Nobody ever gave her a chance to survive -- let alone talk, walk, and relearn all those things," said Huber.  

"It was horrible," Jessica said.

"I've learned more through her eyes in the last ten years than anything else my entire life," said Huber.

Wednesday, Jessica waited by the food trailer that bears her name.  APD Chief Art Acevedo came bearing gifts -- namely tickets to Disney World.  It's a trip her dad says she's finally physically ready to take, and she can't wait.

"I've waited four years," said Jessica.

Acevedo hopes the very real story of what Jessica and her father have had to endure will help dissuade people from drinking and driving.

"This is not about statistics," said Acevedo. "This is about real flesh, real bones, real bodies.  This is the face of what can happen when we make those poor choices."

After everything he and his daughter have endured over the last 10 years, Huber agrees.  He says there's simply no excuse for driving under the influence.

"We talk about the people who've passed away, and God bless their hearts," said Huber.  "But it's the living -- these kids and these adults-- what they go through every single day.  They wake up to it.  They go to sleep with it.  Their harm never ends when they were injured like my daughter was."

Huber says Jessica's medical bills have reached $2 million.

He says insurance doesn't cover it all.  If you'd like to help the family you can send a donation to:
Jessica Huber's Special Needs Trust Fund
PO Box 2008,
Leander, TX, 78646