by Janet Dabbs
A horrible accident caused by a 24-year old drunk driver 2:02 p.m. Saturday, June 7, 2008 is the reason Pete Stack is now an Uber driver. “I made it my mission to help drunks get home safely,” Pete said. “Not only them, but everyone else on the road.”
Pete was on his way to a barbecue, as a passenger, with a friend on Route MM in Sunrise Beach. He had just hung up from talking with his wife Jen, who was going to meet him at the barbecue with their daughter Emma. A female drunk driver came over the crest of a hill, ran off the side of the road, over corrected, and slammed into them head-on.
“She came out of the ditch and went airborne,” Pete remembered. “It was all so surreal. Her car came through the windshield.” The air bags did not deploy because the sensors are in the front of the car. “She T-boned us in the air,” Pete said.
Pete took the brunt of the hit. His friend’s door would not open, he was trapped. “I hit my door with my elbow and crawled out under the Helen is Sellin’ billboard,” Pete said. Pete and the passenger of the other car were taken by ambulance to the hospital in Osage Beach. The other passenger sustained serious, life-threatening injuries, including a broken neck, and was air lifted to Columbia. Pete sustained a broken back, cuts and bruises.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol report, the driver of the other car was over the legal alcohol limit. “The highway patrol came to the emergency room to get the report right,” Pete said. “We were not drinking.”
Pete was inundated by lawyers to sue. He chose not to litigate or sue.
“God kept me alive,” Pete said. “I am in the exact place he wants me to be and I need to be an example of his saving grace.” Pete was put in a body cast. After six weeks, the doctors could not even find stress fractures.
Ten years ago, there were no Uber drivers. “Some people don’t even know we are here,” Pete said. “I will pick up a couple from their house, who you can tell have had a few drinks and they want to go out and have a lot more, but they want to get home safely. So, they call an Uber.”
He is not judging anyone. “I once was a partier, right in the middle with the best of them, not too many years ago. But, I have been born again, through Jesus. That means I am a new person and old things have passed away and all things are becoming new. I have not only been healed physically, but much deeper. I have been spiritually healed.”
Another Uber mission is driving the home-bound and handicapped, or people who can’t get to their doctor’s appointments or home from the hospital. “We have the OATS bus, but it only comes by twice a day, at certain times,” Pete said.
Pete is a former member of the United States Coast Guard. “I am going to get my US Coast Guard license, too, because Boating Under the Influence, BUI, is just as dangerous as Driving Under the Influence, DUI, and there have been an increase in alcohol-related deaths on the Lake of the Ozarks,” he said.
Pete drove some of the kids who were attending a funeral of a friend that was killed by a BUI driver. He was deeply touched by their sadness but encouraged that there is a solution to this problem.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, the average offender will drive drunk 87 times before they are finally caught and arrested for DUI.
“This is also for Mr. and Mrs. Joe Innocent who want to go out to dinner and have a nice celebration. Now, they are on their way home and some drunk kills them. They didn’t ask for that. The more we can get people to know Uber is available, the more opportunity there will be for more Uber drivers and for safer roads.”
“People who get in the car are so thankful for Uber drivers,” Pete said. “The younger generation really gets it, because they are adept with the smart phones. They can split the cost of the ride between a bunch of friends, too. The older generation doesn’t get it. Would you rather pay for a $20 ride, or get pulled over for a DUI and pay $15,000, or possibly kill an entire family?”
Pete has given 1,054 rides in the past year. “A lot of people are surprised, and they say this can’t be the only thing I do. They don’t understand, I have a heart for these people.” Pete’s Uber profile tag line is “A stranger is simply a friend not yet met.”
He used to be a professional golf pro. Because of pain, his golfing career is over. He has a new mission, to get people home safely.