OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — As Ana Wakefield watched the driver who nearly killed her get sentenced to prison, she forgave him.
In October 2017, Sequoyha Storck was driving under the influence when he crossed over the center line on Highway 212 and hit Ana’s car head-on, and then took off. He wasn’t arrested until June 21, 2018.
Ana spent two weeks in the ICU following the crash. Her family didn’t know if she would survive. Her entire left side was paralyzed for 2 months. Since then, she’s had 5 brain surgeries and now has has titanium rods in both legs. She had to learn to walk, talk and eat again.
But Tuesday, as Storck was sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison for assault, failure to perform the duties of a driver and DUII, Ana Wakefield forgave him.
In court, Ana spoke clearly and directly.
“Sequoyha, I carry and still carry the weight of your mistakes that day, but my dad teaches me to seek justice, love and mercy,” she said.
Storck cried as she spoke.
“We are imperfect people, I want you to know that I have forgiven you. I will carry the scars of your mistake everyday for the rest of my life, but if you ever need the care and support of a faithful friend, I will always be there, ready to listen and help.”
Ana is still recovering from her brain injury. “But I said today that the courtroom was really good for brain healing because I got all of those emotions teased. It was so happy to get everything done, but so heartbreaking to hear everybody’s perspective and things. So I got a lot of the emotional toll, the ups and downs of the journey.”
She explained why she forgave the man who nearly killed her.
“I know that God has forgiven me though Jesus Christ, so I know that I need to forgive Sequoyha,” she said. She had that realization “for a year-and-a-half,” she said, “but by the time when we actually made it into the courtroom was ready and forgave him.”
Her dad, Dave Wakefield, said he was proud of his daughter being able to forgive Storck and has also forgiven him.
“I’ve already forgiven him and I have to move forward because what I’ve always said to other people: You’re either bitter or better. And I want to be better,” Dave said.
Following emotional victim impact statements and before Judge Thomas J. Rastetter handed down the sentence, a video showed clips of Ana before the crash — a college basketball player, a top student, friends and family — and after the crash — using a walker, re-learning just about everything.
“I just want to say,” Storck said, “I’m ashamed and sorry and I pray for Ana everyday.”
Dave Wakefield thinks “justice was served in its form,” but said “there will never be enough years of times that could ever be given to make up for what my daughter’s had to go through and will continue to have to go through.”
By the time Storck, 21, gets out of prison, Dave Wakefield said he hopes Storck “gets some things positive going forward where he can be productive, too.”
It’s been a difficult journey, she admitted, “and it’s hard to realize that I won’t be the same person. But I also know I was unconscious for a good majority of the heartbreak.”
Ana said people should keep hope in their life.
“Know what you’re living for and keep pushing and fighting for that because you don’t want to waste a day, waste a moment,” she said Tuesday. “When you do say goodbye to people, always say goodbye like it’s the last time you will see them because you don’t know. You never know when your day is coming, so always make an impact with your last move.”