Accident Survivor and Motivational Speaker Speaks with Valley Teens About Consequences of DUI

Local News

A woman who has dedicated her life to teaching teens and young adults about the effects of driving while drunk, visited RGV students to deliver a powerful message. Drinking and driving will never mix.

Meet Sarah Panzau. A former volleyball star athlete. Full of life and joy. She lived her life like many young adults. Partying with friends and drinking. But it wasn’t until August 23, 2003, that she came face to face with the consequences of her poor decision making.

“13 years ago, I was a victim of my own drunk driving crash. I was out with so-called friends and I made some very poor choices. And I ended up driving home very intoxicated one night.”

Sarah ended up flipping her car four times on the highway, and crashing into a guardrail. She was ejected from her back window and was lying on the ground lifeless before she was transported to a hospital in Saint Louis.

“Along with the severed left arm amputation, I was completely scalped on the whole left back side of my head and degloved on the entire left side of my neck.”

Sarah spent a total of six weeks in the hospital, where she received almost 40 surgeries. It was then where she decided to become a living example of what happens when someone takes the wheel after a night of drinking.

“People ask me all the time, if I could do it over would I change anything from that night, and my response has always been ‘I’d go through it all over again if it meant that I would’ve impacted and saved as many lives as I have with my story the last 11 years.”

Sarah’s story became a blessing in disguise. For more on Sarah Panzau’s story or to book a speaking event, contact Sarah online at

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