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2 Years Later: Juliana Ramos Speaks

Two years after the accident that nearly killed her, Juliana Ramos delivers an impassioned message to her fans.

It was the answer to the question that lingered for many in the back of their minds, but no one had asked.

, fiancée of , was intoxicated at the time of her car accident Oct. 2, 2009. Her blood alcohol content was .16—twice the legal limit of .08.

The family never asked to see her blood tests from that night. They were focused on moving forward. If you ask them, they will say a number on a piece of paper mattered much less than the girl fighting for her life in a hospital bed. They never asked, they say, maybe because they didn't want to know, but also because they felt they didn't need to. To each of them, what mattered most was the process to bring Ramos back to them.

In late April, the family decided to pursue the results as a formality for follow-up CT scans. Though the number offered her family some clarity on her state of mind, delving deeper into that night also raised more questions.

The accident report and police report from Hometown Fire and Police (the departments on the scene) reflect what they had already known from information trickling in that night. According to reports, a driver on the road behind her that night told police that she was driving at "what appeared to be normal speed" when he observed her car "spin around several times" before hitting the pole. It was raining, near dawn on Oct. 2, 2009.

The police report indicates that she was unresponsive and trapped in the car when units arrived on the scene; family had heard, and later read, in hospital intake reports that Juliana had gotten out of the car and collapsed.

In the accident report, police on the scene noted that she was not wearing a seatbelt; her stepfather, Don Barnes, recalls seeing the seatbelt cut when he saw her car the day after the crash.

The report also notes that the airbags did not deploy; her family had been told that because the passenger side of the car received the brunt of the damage, the front airbags would not have deployed.

The report includes the officer's interpretation of primary and secondary causes of the crash—primary noted as "weather," and secondary listed as "unable to determine." Officers on the scene categorized Ramos' condition as "had been drinking."

After her mother informed Ramos of her state that night, Ramos expressed a desire to speak out against drinking and driving. Ramos' fiancé Medina and Ramos' mother Janet Barnes have described her attitude as "adamant." The knowledge that she had been drinking has seemed to inspire an acceptance within Ramos. As shown in , her family and therapists have noticed a distinct shift in her mood and attitude. She has become an active participant in her own recovery.

Two years later, Juliana Ramos seems to have found acceptance—and motivation—in a number. Today, she shares her own story.

READ: Janet Spencer Barnes shares her thoughts on new information coming to light.

Anne Morrissey October 19, 2011 at 03:57 AM
I am very sorry what happened to Juliana and only hope for the best recovery I have thought of her often and her family and think what a awful thing to go through. Now that Juliana and family has gotten so much help. Now its time to reach to those that have suffered for so long that never asked for help. I hope when we take we give back.
Pamela K. Queen October 19, 2011 at 06:26 AM
Anne. what are you implying? I may have misunderstood but it a sounds as though you feel that Juliana and her family would be unwilling to help others in the same situation. There are resources out there and certainly someone in the same situation would do anything they can to reach out and ask for help in aiding their loved one's recovery, I know I certainly would.
margie October 19, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Juliana, you are so sweet. How could anyone be upset with you? I love that you said: "it's not as good as it was, or as good as it will be". This shows me the determination you have to reach your goal. As an outsider, when I look at your video and pictures, I feel as though I can see a bit of the old Juliana shine through. The fact that you want to help others in the middle of all this, shows us all what a kind, caring person you are. Yes, you have a lot of work ahead of you but, I have no doubt you can do this, and that you will walk down that aisle with Chris. There are still so many people who will continue to pray for you and your family, and support you, and I am lucky to be one of them. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us 'outsiders'. xxxx from NH
Julianne Paulsen October 19, 2011 at 06:25 PM
I'm just so deeply impressed of her. She deserves all the support i can think of, and never should she take the blame. She has tought me a good lesson, and i'm sure she has done the same with plenty of other people. Juliana will for ever have a piece in my heart, and i wish her all the best in her life and a happerly marrige. I will keep thinking and praying for all of you. A big bunch of hugs and kisses. From - Julianne in Norway <3<3<3
Lisa Stetler Insana October 19, 2011 at 10:17 PM
I didn't hear Julianna's story on American Idol. Truthfully, I'm not sure I first saw her story, but it touched me from the beginning. It was Chris' love and devotion that first drew me. I can't even explain how it makes me feel. The only thing I can even put into words is that I know my husband is that kind of man who would stand beside no matter what even though it would be one of the hardest things he had ever done. That being said, I, and my prayers, are here for the long haul. Borrowing from Chris' own words, What kind of person would I be if I left when she needed those prayers the most? She was drinking. The police never stated that as a cause for the accident. While I don't agree that "it's different because she didn't hurt anyone else" as Chris said (she could very well have and that needs to be kept in mind) I also know that she's young and everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Everyone may not make this particular mistake but everyone has made thoughtless mistakes. She is paying for her mistake in so many ways. In ways that a judge couldn't not make her pay. So many drunk drivers go unpunished completely. How many times do we see a repeat offender with 6, 7, 8 offenses who got nothing more than a slap on the hand? Reguardless of whether or not Juliana's drinking was a factor she will still pay for this for the rest of her life. I don't take on causes lightly. I also do not drop them lightly. Julianna, prayers and love coming your way. Keep it up.
Paula Lesso October 20, 2011 at 01:02 AM
You are brave to release the toxicology results. I suspect it was the water that caused her accident, not the drinking, but I support anyone who owns up to a mistake and sincerely does not intend to make the same mistake again. We have ALL screwed up in a way that could have seriously affected others. When I was a teen, I allowed a drunk friend to drive me (also drunk) a long way home. I've had a few near misses on the road when I looked down at directions or bent down to retrieve something that fell. That's no less culpable a mistake- it's still choosing to be unaware while driving. Juliana is a good person with a good heart. I'm staying on board, with respect and appreciation for this brave disclosure. Onward.
Tran Tu October 20, 2011 at 05:27 AM
Everyone makes mistakes. Some are saying they've never drank and drive and thus will not forgive Juliana. But mistakes expand beyond drinking and driving. Some mistakes are big and some are small. Luckily for Juliana, she did not hurt anyone but herself. I have never drank and drive, but I have made countless mistakes, some where someone could have been hurt or injured. Something as simple as forgetting to signal or look in my blind spot before switching lanes. What counts is remorse and trying to fix it, for we cannot predict what will happen with every action we make. No one is perfect and we will never know how big our actions, from the simplest daily activities to the biggest decisions, could have affected another until something actually happens. It's unfair to judge someone so harshly just because our own actions have not returned such a tragedy. Forgiving makes the world go round and it's how we all learn. She's not ashamed to admit what occurred and is using her situation to help others - can you imagine how much courage that must take? I know personally I would be embarrassed and would rather stay cooped up than go public with that kind of information and face the scrutiny and the "I told you so's." The ones people should be angry with are the ones who makes mistakes and continue to make them and really don't care about fixing it or themselves.
Anne Morrissey October 20, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Hi Pamela, Sorry what i was trying to say is now all the facts are in two years later. She would be a great spokesperson to give back to so many that are going through the same or similar situation. By this latest news we can all learn from it and gain strength from her for her determination and bravery.
Dana Denise LaRue October 20, 2011 at 03:32 PM
God can and God will heal those that are broken on the inside as well as on the outside...I will follow for as long as you will have. God bless you in journey! ((hugs)) Dana LaRue Fairhope Al
April Good November 03, 2011 at 08:41 AM
hi my name is april i have a 2yr old son u really touched me and my hole house with ur music we love u and all together i have 12 ppl in my house my brother is going to court today so he dont lose his kids he loves them dearly and the mother is trying to take them away from him we hope she dont he dont get to see the kids cuz she never let my brother see thim at all i feel its wrong im sure u under stand wat im saying
heather November 11, 2011 at 02:17 PM
i am a tramatic brain injury survivor from a car wreck 6 years ago.... i still am dealing with effects and i have arthritis now which keeps me in pain but i am still getting better year by year we are seeing improvements !!! the brain heals , slowly but its healing!! i would love to send you my video if you would like..! ~Heather
Marta November 13, 2011 at 03:11 AM
I dont know why but I cant see the video, I tried to see it a few days ago, and i cant. Can someone explain me why? I really waited this video. Juliana, all my love and prayers are with you!
Lauren Traut (Editor) November 13, 2011 at 03:15 AM
HI, Marta, The video works fine. You need to be logged into the site to watch it. Give that a shot. Lauren
Marta November 13, 2011 at 06:09 AM
Yeah, i already logged, thank you so much Lauren. Incredible video, i really loved it. Juliana, all my prayers are with you. You will go through this, you will get better,
Lauren Traut (Editor) November 13, 2011 at 06:18 AM
Hi again, Marta! So glad you were able to view the video! And glad you liked it! Thanks for reading! Lauren
Bonnie Duncan November 20, 2011 at 05:26 AM
Without a doubt, when compared to drunk driving videos shown in high schools and DUI classes, this video makes so much more of an impact. I am impressed beyond words at the courage displayed by all three of these incredible people. I'm sure most people, including me, would agree 100% with her mother when she says she's suffered enough, I just wish the law could take things like this into consideration. The fact is, she will still have to face these charges and attend numerous drunk driving prevention classes. With what she's gone through, and lost because of this probably unavoidable, accident, she could actually be TEACHING the class. I wish Juliana, Chris, Janet, and Don all the best, no one should be treated like a pariah because of one mistake, nor should they be defined by it. Juliana is extremely lucky to have such supportive, loving, and nonjudgmental people surrounding her. God bless all of you, Bonnie...
Yula January 18, 2012 at 03:33 PM
My prayers and love be with you Juliana and your family always. You have a loving man and he devotes everything for you. May the good Lord be with you always. Your video have touched so many lives including mine. Thanks for your message. You will forever be in my prayers!
Sheldon Cooper January 31, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Maybe the same thing would have happened if she had been sober. And maybe it wouldn't. I don't agree with her mother that she's been punished for everything she ever did wrong, for everything her mother has ever done wrong and for everything her boyfriend has ever done wrong. I don't know that the law did to her in this case but whatever it was, THAT was her punishment. All that she has suffered since the accident and all that she will suffer for the rest of her life is not 'punishment.' The poor girl's life may be a terrible struggle from now on and that's extremely sad and a terrible shame. But it is not a punishment. It's a genuine tragedy, not just for her but for all those who love her. She is making the most of her life now and I hope that she reaches many people with her message. But drinking and driving is NOT something that we ALL have done. It isn't just a 'lapse of judgement'. It's a lapse of judgement that wouldn't have taken place if the person had been sober. Drunk drivers should lose their licenses. Too harsh? Maybe it would be best to leave that decision to all those out there whose lives are or were ruined or snuffed out not because THEY were drinking and driving -- but because someone else was.'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
Sue1 February 01, 2012 at 03:11 AM
I agree with your premise, however don't think it is effective. If someone is willing to drive drunk, which is against the law, what makes you think they won't drive because they don't have a license?
Sheldon Cooper February 01, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Oh, it'll stop some of them!!! Some people actually care about having a valid driver's license. But that's just a good first step!! As for the ones who flout that law, well, every time they get stopped, the punishment should be more severe than the last time. Right now, as it stands, a DUI on a revoked, suspended, no license, or no insurance carries the possibility of a 1 to 3 year sentence. Unfortunately, that's not the only option. They could, instead, get up to 30 months probation with either a mandatory 10 days in jail or 480 hours community service. Perhaps facing some actual jail time -- enough so that it will cost them their job and who knows what all -- will either 'drive' them to get help for their problem -- or at least keep them off the streets for awhile.
JAMES DANIEL February 06, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Juliana! i m not very good in english if not i can say more! so i just want to say God bless you and don't forget you have a really good man! i'm malagasy and i'll tell all of mty friend to pray for you! don't forget dat we love you! keep smile! you are still beatifull!
Griselda Herrera February 15, 2012 at 04:18 AM
This is an amazing story of hope and second chances. Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back at what has passed and you will ask yourself... "How did I get through all of that?” You defeated death and were given a second chance in life to reach out to all men and women about drinking and driving. You are a miracle. Continue with that same passion and preseverance of getting better and you will get there. My prayers are with you and your family. God bless...
Nicole Rueckert February 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Keep up the good work Juliana, you have come a long way. Don't give up. Don't blame your self for what happened, everything happens for a reason.
Nick Swedberg (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 02:57 PM
See how far Juliana has come ... She threw out the first pitch for the OF Park District Girls Softball season earlier this summer: http://oakforest.patch.com/articles/juliana-first-pitch
Jeremiah Sellers August 03, 2012 at 07:54 AM
This is incredible...I think of Juliana periodically and I think she's one of the bravest people out there. When I first saw her back during Chris's audition for American Idol, I really felt something for her and Chris. She's been in my prayers and I know that she can make a difference, and I really hope things do get better as she already knows it will.
Mary Hayworth September 29, 2012 at 06:55 PM
All have fallen short of the Glory of God! ALL!!!! My sister had been drinking and had a choice and chose the wrong one the night she died in the streets. I'll save all the sickening details, but she paid the price for drinking and making a bad decision. Would I love her less if she had survived? NO way!!!! I would love to have my sister back here today, I miss her so much!!! I'm sure that everyone (or most everyone) who supports Juliana and her family, have had a bit too much to drink and driven home. If everyone was honest, they would have to say, they have done just what Juliana did at least once in their life. Juliana is going to encourage everyone to not take that chance ever again. God bless you Juliana!
Sheldon Cooper September 29, 2012 at 07:23 PM
"If everyone was honest, they would have to say, they have done just what Juliana did at least once in their life." That is not true. Too many do. But the fact that you think it's true of everyone or most everyone minimizes how serious, dangerous, wrong it is, and makes no reference that any steps should be taken to try to reduce the number or people who drink and drive from making the choice to do so or have that choice made for them. If drunk drivers had much more to lose, it would stop some of them from doing so. Obviously, the solution is NOT to 'not drive' after drinking. Good judgment can fly out the window after alcohol has been consumed. The choice should be to not drink in the first place, if you are going to be driving any kind of vehicle. That in no way helps the great sense of loss that you feel or means that you should love her any less. I can't even imagine the heartache you must feel and I in no way feel that your sister 'deserved' losing her life. I'm sorry that she did. I wish she had survived and totally recovered. Her death has almost certainly forever changed the lives of all who loved (and still do love) her. I am truly very sorry for your loss. I wish you still had your sister. (((((Hugs)))))
Mary Hayworth October 03, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Sheldon, how in the world would I EVER EVER minimize how serious and dangerous AND wrong it is? I believe my sister and Juliana have both lost plenty and to elude to the idea that these young women didn't pay a price for the choice is ridiculous!!!!
Sheldon Cooper October 03, 2012 at 02:51 AM
I'm very sorry for any hurt and anger I have caused you. This is a small point, but the alert I just got in my Email inbox -- and that I came here to respond to -- is not the one that I now see above me here. The Email alert I got says 'Sheldon, you should re-read my post. My sister died as a direct result of drinking and jumping on the hood of a car and being drug down the street under the car and then backed over again. I know how important it is to educate ALL about the horrifying consequences of drinking and driving. MY POINT was to state that even though she had made a wrong choice I love her just the same and I would not judge her or turn my back on her.' Even now, that post is not here. I never saw it, outside of my Email inbox. If it seems like I didn't read your post carefully, perhaps it's a Patch glitch. Apparently, I'm not getting all the posts. I'm sorry if I didn't take the right meaning from what you wrote. And I'm sorry that the meaning you are taking from my post is that I don't think these young women paid a price. I can't see where I alluded to that at all but can assure you that It was certainly not what I was trying to say. I think the price they paid is beyond measure and I'm sorrier than I can say that all the lives affected by these tragedies have to now live with this for the rest of their lives. You have my deepest sympathies. (((((Hugs))))
courtney June 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM
where is the video at?

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