SPARTANBURG — Tragedy can strike when we least expect it, suddenly turning a normal day into a devastating memory. That day was Jan. 30, 2012, for Dave Sayre. Before leaving for work, Dave and his wife Shirley fixed a Crock-Pot of vegetable soup for dinner that night.
“She said we’ll have some homemade vegetable soup when we get home and I said, ‘That sounds good. I’m looking forward to that,’” Dave said.
But Dave and Shirley didn’t make it to work that day, nor did they get to enjoy their soup that night.
“Shirley was drinking her coffee and said ‘Watch out!’ and those were her last words. That was it. That was the last thing she said to me and never again would she talk to me.”
The Sayre’s car was struck on Drayton Road in Spartanburg, SC, by a woman driving under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. After the accident Dave reached over to touch Shirley and make sure she was ok when he realized her air bag had not gone off.
“I wanted her to be alive,” Dave said. “They had to cut me out of the car, and I kept telling EMS not to worry about me, I wanted them to help her. Shirley was most important.”
Shirley was killed instantly. Dave sustained a fractured rib, broken wrist and finger.
“But the biggest injury was psychological,” Dave said. “It’s been three-and-a-half years and I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt. My life was just devastated.”
Both Dave and Shirley were brought to Spartanburg Medical Center. Dave’s pastor came to his hospital room and sang hymns with him until the sheriff and coroner brought the news of Shirley’s death.
“That probably was the hardest thing for me to hear,” he said. “You can’t imagine what it’s like after 34 years of marriage to walk in the door and have no one there.”
God, his church family and his Shih-Tzu-Poodle, Princess Anne, helped Dave get through the last three years, but a day doesn’t pass that he doesn’t miss his wife. After his horrifying experience, Dave shares his story to encourage the community to be safe and focus their full attention on the road when driving. He doesn’t want anyone else to suffer the kind of pain he has to endure.
• Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs before or while driving. A driver is legally impaired when their blood alcohol content is at .08 percent or higher. It can take two to three drinks for a female and three to four for a male to reach the legal limit.
• Put electronic distractions aside. Don’t use cell phones while driving except in absolute emergencies. Never text, email, play games or use social media while driving, even if these features are built into your vehicle.
• Get organized before your trip; make sure you have directions and adjust seats and mirrors before leaving.
• Pull off the road and stop in a safe place to take care of a distraction that can’t wait, such as a phone call or text.
• If you are drowsy, pull off the road. Don’t take medications that will make you drowsy while driving.
• Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them.
• Eat meals or snacks before you leave or after you get where you’re going, not while driving. Avoid messy foods.
Learn how to protect your family at SpartanburgRegional.com/Trauma.
Spartanburg Medical Center
Part of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS), Spartanburg Medical Center (SMC) is a research and teaching hospital licensed for 540 beds with more than 500 physicians on staff. SMC offers state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for residents in the five-county area in North and South Carolina. SMC’s services include Level I Trauma Care Emergency Services; Level III Neonatal Intensive Care; Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute; Heart Center; Hospice; Josey-Bearden Center for Breast Health; Women; and Children. U.S. News & World Report named SMC the best regional hospital in South Carolina for 2014 and the hospital earned high-performing status in nine areas: cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery; geriatrics; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology.
About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through three hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center and Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout the state of South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.