Temple’s Lisa Beaudoin recovering after serious injuries in December crash

  • Lisa Beaudoin of Temple is now able to get around with the use of a walker, several months after a car accident which broke multiple bones and required multiple surgeries. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/27/2019 6:58:52 PM

The driver in a head-on collision that seriously injured a Temple woman is expected to spend 60 days in jail.

Lisa Beaudoin of Temple was severely injured, breaking multiple bones and requiring several surgeries after a Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Robert Sheridan, crossed the yellow line on Route 101 in Amherst, striking Beaudoin’s vehicle head-on on Dec. 19. 

Sheridan was convicted of vehicular assault, and sentenced to a year in jail, with all but 60 day suspended, meaning the remaining 10 months of his sentence will not be carried out should Sheridan remain on good behavior for the next two years. He was also sentenced to 500 hours of community service.

For Beaudoin, who has been virtually housebound due to her injuries since her release from the hospital, and is now burdened by heavy debt from astronomical medical bills, it’s not enough. Since her accident, she has been advocating the legislature for harsher penalties for distracted driving, which was a factor in the crash that injured her.

“It should be a felony to distracted drive,” Beaudoin said. “You can’t be killing people or taking months or years out of people’s lives and only spend 60 days in jail.”

Beaudoin has graduated from a wheelchair, where she has spent the majority of her convalescence, to a walker, and expects to be able to walk independently – and get back behind the wheel of a car – by July 1. 

While it will mark a significant milestone in her recovery, she still expects at least one more surgery and a total of two years recovery time – and even then, her orthopedic surgeon has cautioned her she may never have the full range of motion back in her right knee.

“While I’m recovering nicely, it’s a lot longer than I anticipated,” Beaudoin said. “I thought I’d be walking on my own by now, and I’m not.”

She admits she’s impatient about her own recovery – “It’s hard for a jackrabbit to go at the pace of a tortoise,” she joked – but she’s also attempting to use this opportunity to get a first had look at how the community of people with disabilities lives.

It’s particularly important to her, as a long time advocate for people with developmental disabilities and the Executive Director of the New Hampshire chapter of ABLE, which advocates for people with disabilities.

She thought she had a good grasp of the issues, as a mother of a son with Down syndrome. 

“I thought observing Forest and the way the world reacts to him gave me terrific insight on ableism and the discrimination he faces,” Beaudoin said. “Being the object of that attitude is an entirely different universe of awareness.”

There’s two sides of it, Beaudoin said – interactions with people and interactions with her environment. For several months, she did not leave her home unless it was for a medical appointment, simply because finding transportation that could accommodate her was difficult. There are shops and restaurants, particularly in Peterborough, that are not accessible to someone in a wheelchair. 

“I am more fierce than ever in my commitment to working toward belonging and inclusion regardless of perception of ability,” Beaudoin said.

Beaudoin was without medical insurance at the time of her crash, including during multiple surgeries, resulting in medical bills in excess of $600,000. On Aug. 4, friends of Beaudoin will hold a benefit concert at her home on 1090 General Miller Highway to assist paying her medical bills.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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