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Young Family Faces Tough Road To Recovery After Near-Fatal Alleged DUI Crash

SACRAMENTO (CBS) - Tonight, CBS13's Tony Lopez went beyond the shattered glass to answer this question: "What's the true impact from a suspected DUI crash?"

Amai Marcel Martin was born the day after Thanksgiving at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento. At 7 pounds, 13 ounces, he was what every parent prays for: a health baby.

His young mother and father, Danielle and Deshawn, were overwhelmed and overjoyed -- filled with hope and focused on the future.

At 22, Danielle was one class away from taking the next step in becoming a pre-school teacher. Deshawn worked nights, stepping up to the challenge of being a young dad.

Nothing or no one could prepare them for the life-altering moment that would turn the happiest days of their lives into a nightmare.

It was Saturday, December 6, 2014, just after 12:30 in the afternoon.

An alleged drunk driver would cause a six-car pile-up at San Juan and Truxel Road in Natomas.

"I was looking down at my phone and all of a sudden we were just rolling and flippin,'" said James, Danielle's brother.

James was in the passenger seat of a white Honda and Danielle was behind the wheel.

"And I sit there and I try to look to my left to look for my sister and she's on top of me passed out," he said.

With six broken ribs and a collapsed lung, James couldn't move, but knew there was one other person in the car he needed to check on: 8-day old Amai.

"I'm just sittin' there saying: 'get the baby get the baby,'" he said.

An off-duty police officer who was near the accident scene reached in through the shards of glass and the mangled metal to grab the baby. Amai's car seat was cradled by the wreckage.

"The entire backseat just collapsed around him--protecting the car seat from any damage at all," said Cassie, Danielle's sister.

His only injuries were a scratch on his nose--and a tiny black eye.

"Thank God, you know. Like someone was watching over," said James.

Danielle's injuries would be far more severe. Her family's questions would go painfully unanswered.

"Just tell us that she's gonna live. Just tell us that she's gonna be okay. They just kept saying they didn't know," said Cassie.

The impact of the crash had broken her pelvis, cracked her spine, ruptured her spleen and lacerated her liver. After being checked out at the hospital, her baby would be going home, but without his mother.

"He was the first she'd ask about as soon as she'd wake up every morning. Where's Amai? How is he? What's going on?" said Cassie.

Amai was safely in the arms of his aunt, Danielle's sister Cassie, and his father, who helped took turns with him.

But they know no one can replace the mother-infant bond.

"It's the most crucial that they need to be together, and she is having to be without her child," said Cassie.

Danielle is still in intensive care, but recovering. She longs for the day she can hold her baby in her arms once again. For now, she has to settle for the next best thing: seeing Amai over video chat.

We were there as the young mother saw her angel via Facetime.

"He looks so cute," said Danielle.

"I know, we dressed him up today. The little shoes," said Cassie.

You can hear it in her voice. This young woman is getting stronger by the day. And the message she brings with her recovery is a bone-chilling reminder.

"I love you too and just please make it known that people should never drink and drive," said Danielle.

"We will. Don't cry. We're okay," said Cassie.

They are all going to be okay, but they'll never be the same. Danielle will need months of therapy to heal; James' aches and pains will linger, and baby Amai's rough start speaks for itself. The resiliency of this family speaks volumes.

No alleged drunk driver can crush their spirit, but what he's accused of doing can provide a life-saving lesson, one baby Amai will be told when the time comes.

"I think I can only tell him how much people love him and the impact of another person's choice -- how big it can be on his life," said Cassie.

"The driver accused of slamming into Danielle's car has not been formally charged. In fact, he's been in the hospital since the crash.

Danielle and her family will have to move out of their second-story apartment since she can no longer climb stairs.

But she can, and will, recover and finish school and be a mom to little boy surrounded by love.

The cost of moving and the medical bills are piling up for Danielle and her family. If you'd like to help, click here.

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