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Clarksville junior Elijah Dowell, who plays No. 1 singles for the boys’ tennis team, was seriously injured early Sunday morning when the car he was driving was hit head-on by a man who has been charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

CLARKSVILLE — A drive home with a friend ended in a nearly-deadly crash for Elijah Dowell, a junior at Clarksville High School.

As he recovers in the hospital, he shared his terrifying experience exclusively with WAVE 3 News.

“I couldn’t move, I wanted to get out because I didn’t know what was going on, to be honest,” said Dowell, who plays tennis and basketball at Clarksville.

Dowell and his friend C.J. said they were driving home around 2 a.m. Tuesday when they noticed a car heading toward them. He said the driver crossed the median into oncoming traffic and hit his Honda Civic head-on.

“There was so much adrenaline, I didn’t hardly feel anything,” Dowell said. “But there was a big, huge gash all the way down my leg. You could see my bone out. It was pretty bad.”

Both teens were trapped in Dowell’s car until help arrived, WAVE 3 reported. First responders rushed them to Norton Children’s Hospital. Dowell has several serious injuries: a shattered heel and knee cap, dislocated collar bone, along with cuts and bruises.

“He was just in excruciating pain,” Dowell’s mother, Breana Dowell, said. “But we were thankful he was alive.”

Dowell’s friend received minor injuries and was released from the hospital that day, according to investigators.

Indiana State Police arrested 29-year-old Billy Wilson from New Albany. His charges include operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, attempted battery on a law enforcement officer, and disorderly conduct.

Court records revealed Wilson was charged with a DUI two years ago in Floyd County, according to WAVE 3. This year, he has also been pulled over for speeding and driving without a seatbelt.

“It’s just very infuriating that somebody could be so selfish,” Breana Dowell said. “I hope something like this changes that person and I hope this brings awareness for others to not drink and drive.”

As the Dowell family faces thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills, their friends created an online fundraiser to help. For more information, go online to https://www.gofundme.com/f/elijah-dowell

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