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New Jersey Man Hopes Near Tragic Spring Break Experience Will Save Lives

TEANECK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey man is warning parents to be careful when they send their kids on Spring Break.

Steven Benvenisti told CBS 2's Jessica Schneider that when he went on Spring Break 25 years ago, he almost lost his life.

It should have been the time of his life, but at the age of 21 Benvenisti was left lying in a hospital bed with a brain injury and broken bones.

Benvenisti was a senior at The College Of New Jersey at the time, and was 6 weeks away from graduation when a drunk driver crossed a double yellow line, jumped a curb, and almost killed him as he walked down a Daytona Beach Street.

"He crashed into my legs, my head smashed through his windshield, and my body was thrown about 70 feet," Benvenisti said, "People who were asleep in nearby hotel rooms actually called police because they heard a loud explosion sound. Turns out that sound was my head smashing through the windshield."

Benvenisti's two-and-a-half year fight to walk and talk again turned into a lifetime crusade to warn students and parents about the risks of Spring Break and the dangers of drinking and driving.

"The message is, promise if you ever have too much to drink and if you're of legal drinking age, that you will not operate a motor vehicle," he explained.

Benvenisti wasn't drinking that night, but another man's decision almost cost him his life. Now, he is using his remarkable recovery to teach others a life lesson.

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