Reporting Bill Hudson
(COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn.) – Day and night, help is just a phone call away. A nonprofit service in the north metro offers a safe ride home for those who’ve had too many drinks.
Nikkiey Martt should be answering those calls. Instead, she’s laid up on a bed in her apartment, badly injured.
“The last thing I remember is coming half conscious, in the ambulance,” Martt said.
Martt is dispatcher for Alpine Sober Cab in Fridley. In tragic irony, she was walking to catch a bus to work near 44th Avenue and Madison Street recently when a drunk driver struck her from behind.
The force of the impact threw her up onto the vehicle’s windshield, leaving her with a concussion, a broken leg, lacerated liver and a badly bruised eye. After being treated in the hospital, Martt is now back home, beginning her long and painful recovery.
“She (the driver) actually thought I was dead – she got out of her car and looked at me and then drove away,” Martt said.
Fortunately, Martt’s husband wrote down the driver’s license plate number and called police. Latoya Thrise Thompson, 36, later turned herself in and was arrested. Her blood alcohol limit initially registered as .283 with a breathalyzer, and she later consented to a blood test.
While being transported by police, Thompson made spontaneous statements that she’d made a mistake and expressed regret about the incident.
Julie Howe and her daughter Jaclyn Anderson started Alpine Sober Cab in 2011 to save lives. Now it’s one of their own employees who nearly lost hers.
“We were devastated,” Julie Howe said.
She added: “If that person would have called a taxi, or a service like ours, they could have prevented this whole thing.”
Out of work and with steep medical bills to pay, Martt and her family are struggling to get by. Though fortunate to be alive, she’s angry about those who drink and refuse to give up their keys.
“If I hadn’t had my husband there with me, I could have been laying there for a while by myself,” Martt said. “[Thompson] was just thinking about herself.”
To help Martt’s family with medical bills and living expenses, Alpine Sober Cab is organizing a benefit on Nov. 30.
It will be held at the Red Sea Restaurant and Bar, located at 320 Cedar Ave. South in Minneapolis, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
For more information on the benefit: http://www.facebook.com/list#!/events/409030502498703/