Woman Who Cheated Death, Disability Resumes Classes At Ohio State

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UPDATED: Wednesday August 29, 2012 7:27 AM

One woman's return to The Ohio State University campus Tuesday was five difficult years in the making.

You would be hard-pressed to find a co-ed more excited to return to class than Monica Durban.

"Oh my God, I'm going into a school building mom, this is really happening," Durban said.

In 2008, a drunken driver, who prosecutors said was drag racing along Interstate 70, struck Durban, a junior at Ohio State.

"We were met with news like, 'We might have to take her leg, we may have to take out her eye, we may have to let her pass,'" father Lee Durban said. "Each day we were greeted with news like that, for weeks."

Monica Durban suffered a shearing brain injury and lay in a coma for weeks.

"It was so horrific, the devastation and the calamity, that I will tell you, that both of us thought our hearts were going to explode," said mother Marta Durban. "We didn't think we were gonna get through it."

Then, slowly but certainly, Monica Durban began to defy expectations. She transitioned from a coma to something of a second infancy and continued to improve.

She said that going back to school became a dream. Nearly five years after the tragedy that sidelined her education and everything else in her life, Monica Durban returned to The Ohio State University campus.

"When I first stepped on campus this morning, my heart just stopped beating," Monica Durban said. "I've not been on campus in four years and here I am as a student, not just some random person. I'm actually a student."

Monica Durban re-entered Ohio State as a junior, pursuing a theater major. Her crash inspired legislation to toughen penalties on illegal street racing. The bill died in the legislature.

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