Woman Starts Talking 20 Years After Accident

A woman unable to talk since she was hit by a drunken driver 20 years ago has begun to regain her memory and form words, sending her father "from despair to joy."

Sarah Scantlin's (search) family and friends plan to celebrate the development on Saturday at the health care center where she lives.

"She's 100 percent Sarah again. The family is back together, and it's just simply a joyous situation," her father, Jim Scantlin, said in a televised interview.

Scantlin was 18 when she was struck while walking to her car in 1984. She had been aware of her surroundings but unable to make any sounds other than loud crying until a month ago, when she told staff members, "OK, OK."

"It just happened one day and nobody really knows why," said Sharon Kuepker, administrator for the Golden Plains Health Care Center (search).

She is now forming other words, counting and remembering people and places, staff members said.

"You condition yourself to be able to try to deal with something like this, and then all of the sudden, the world instantly changed from despair to joy because it's amazing how important communication is between human beings," her father said.

The driver who struck Scantlin, Douglas Doman II (search), served six months in jail after being convicted of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an injury accident.