Scout group campaigns to help woman who lost legs in crash

November 26, 1996|By Katherine Marks | Katherine Marks,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sherry Gray always wanted to be a police officer. But a driver who police believe was drunk shattered Gray's dreams in an accident that made her a double amputee.

Now Gray's goal has changed from walking a beat to just walking -- and the Howard County Police Department's Explorer Post 1952 is trying to help her.

Last week, the youth organization -- to which Gray belonged for six years -- began a cookie-dough sale to raise money to help pay her medical bills. Although she has insurance, it won't cover all of her costs, particularly waterproof prostheses so that she can stand up in the shower and go swimming.

Post members are selling 3-pound tubs of dough through Sunday, and they also are accepting tax-deductible donations on Gray's behalf, said Officer Mary Levy, associate adviser to the post.

For every $12.50 tub sold, the post will donate $4 to Gray. Those interested in donating can call Levy at 313-2276.

Gray, 21, who lives in Guilford near east Columbia, joined the Explorers when she was 14 and dreamed of a career in law enforcement. The group, an offshoot of the Boy Scouts of America, is designed to teach teens and young adults about law enforcement.

About midnight Sept. 13, life changed for Gray. She and her boyfriend, Robert Drayton, 22, pulled Drayton's disabled Ford Aerostar minivan onto the shoulder of Interstate 95 north near its intersection with Route 32.

The couple called Drayton's father, Daniel Selke, for help. After he arrived -- while Gray stood between the two vehicles -- a car slammed into the back of the rear vehicle, pinning Gray.

Alcohol was listed on the Maryland State Police report as a contributing factor in the accident. No charges have been filed.

During the next two months, Gray was hospitalized in the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and Kernan Hospital in Woodlawn.

But even after numerous operations and painful physical therapy, Gray, 21, has stayed involved with police work.

She agreed to be interviewed from her hospital bed for "You are Responsible," a Howard police videotape for local high schools.

The program tries to show teen-agers the effects of drunken driving. Gray also spoke with juvenile offenders required to tour Shock Trauma.

Police Cadet Karen Slack, 21, who has known Gray for seven years through the Explorer post, said it's hard to accept that Gray will be unable to be an officer.

However, "she's looking to what she can do, not what she can't do," Slack said.

Pub Date: 11/26/96

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