$2,500 raised for motorcycle crash victims and their families - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

$2,500 raised for motorcycle crash victims and their families

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -

Hundreds of people got together to share a message about the dangers of drinking and driving on Saturday.

They did it to honor Derek Martie, a man who nearly died after being hit by a suspected drunk driver.

On June 22nd, Martie and his girlfriend Kate Leekley were riding a motorcycle.

Investigators believe 22-year old Bryan Cornwell of Oelwein was drunk and swerved over the center line and sent them into the ditch.

Leekley died from her injuries.

Martie has been recovering in the hospital since the crash, and doctors say he will likely never regain his vision.

Still, Martie is grateful to be alive.

"It's been quite a long road," he said.

"It's been a long battle. I still got a long ways to go though, but keep my chin high. Still got quite a fight left to go before I'll be able to get on my two feet again," he said at Saturday's benefit.

Friends organized the benefit to show their support for Martie and his late girlfriend.

"They've always been there for us, so I felt it was something I needed to step up to and be there for them," said organizer Marcus Lee.

Lee and his friend Dwight Fratzke spent weeks organizing the fundraiser in partnership with a riding group, Throttle Junkies.

Through free-will donations, more than $2,500 was raised.

Lee said half will go toward Martie's medical expenses, and half will go to Leekley's family.

Friends said it was the least they could do.

"It was just one of the hardest things to deal with, and to actually realize it's true and everything is just way hard," said Colby Derr.

But those attending also hoped to share a message about drinking responsibly.

"It can change your life in a blink of an eye. You never know what could happen," said JoVonne Corcoran.

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