Blind Strength: Derek Martie's story of recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Blind Strength: Derek Martie's story of recovery

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(KWWL) -

Three lives changed all because of one bad decision. A drunk driver drove his pick-up into a motorcycle carrying Derek Martie and Katlyn Leekley. 
Leekley died in the accident. The driver, Bryan Cornwell was sentenced to 32 years in prison. As for Martie, he is severely injured and now trying to make the best of his life.

“I just want you all to know that I’m sorry for everything with all my heart, I mean it, said Cornwell in court during his sentencing. "I know nothing that I do will ever make this right."

Leekley and Martie were leaving the movie theater in Waterloo and were just a few miles from home before they were struck by Cornwell.

“I remember waking up and I heard everybody in my room in ICU and I was like what are you guys doing in here with the lights off?” said Martie. 

That accident left Martie blind, but he didn’t lose his fight to keep going. Martie still has a love for cars, just like he did before the accident. In fact, he is still working on cars every day, but how he works is different now.

“I can see maybe ten percent out of my peripheral view out of my left eye only,” said Martie. “That’s it. Completely blind out of my right eye.”

But Martie didn’t let his circumstances define him.

“At first it was experimental, let’s see if I can do this. Start out with little things and then me and a buddy started doing engine swaps and doing a little bit of everything.”

Martie says he would give anything to be able to see again. That’s why he’s decided to head to Germany, to try a doctor and procedure there. It’s a chance to restore his vision.

“It’s a two week process. I’ve got therapeutic sessions where they are going to basically shock my nerves,” said Martie. 

Martie says the recovery rate is 30 to 70 percent, a risk he is willing to take. 

“I don’t have nothing to lose at this point,” said Martie. 

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