RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of the N.C. state House of Representatives were stunned to see Rep. Larry Womble show up at Tuesday’s legislative session.
“I’m feeling well,” Womble said.
Womble, who uses a wheel-chair to get around, is in recovery after being critically injured in a head-on car crash last December. The accident killed the driver of the other car, David Carmichael.
But Womble didn’t show up to the legislative session to talk about the wreck. For the most part, he’s been at his home in Winston-Salem recovering. He missed last week’s legislative session, but said he couldn’t miss the public hearing for the Eugenics compensation.
“This is my personal bill. Had a lot of sweat, blood and tears invested in this bill and I’ve been working on it for 11 years and I wanted to see it through. I couldn’t just let it go without being here to help push it,” Womble said.
The house Judiciary Committee passed the $10-million compensation package to pay the victims who were sterilized against their will, by the state’s former eugenics board program, from the 1930s to the 1970s.
“We need to do the right thing. It was horrendous. It was atrocious. It was an atrocity — the things they committed on children years ago,” said Womble.
Legislators and victims personally congratulated Womble for coming to the meeting, giving a speech and for all the hard work he put into the bill.
Womble wouldn’t say when he’ll be back to the floor again. He just hopes the bill will pass the house in the short session.
“I’ll do whatever it is I need to do,” Womble said.
According to Winston-Salem Police, Womble crossed the center line and hit Carmichael’s car in the deadly December crash. Toxicology reports show Carmichael had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit. Womble did not have any alcohol in his system.
No charges have been filed, although police are still investigating.