Father who turned to pizza delivery after losing job was hit by suspected drunk driver
Destrehan resident Dennis Mahler couldn’t have predicted that an ordinary evening on his pizza delivery route would ultimately leave him bound to a hospital bed for 41 days and counting.
On Jan. 4 at 8:30 p.m., Mahler, 49, was on the clock, delivering for Domino’s Pizza when his vehicle was struck head-on by a suspected drunk driver on River Road in Destrehan.
Darcy Cooper, who was later charged with vehicular injury while driving while intoxicated, slammed into Mahler’s car after she lost control of her vehicle and crossed into the opposing lane of the two-way road.
Accident reports indicate that both Mahler and Cooper were transported to St. Charles Parish Hospital.
After a few days in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Cooper was released and booked on all charges. It’s also reported that Cooper was talking on her cell phone at the time of the accident.
Mahler was transported immediately to University Hospital in New Orleans, where he remains in a medically-induced coma.
“His injuries are severe,” said Dale Brou, Mahler’s uncle. “The doctor’s are keeping him in a coma because the pain is just too much.”
Mahler’s injuries, both internal and external, are being kept confidential.
His doctors at University Hospital said Mahler was admitted to the hospital’s ICU on Jan. 4 after sustaining life-threatening injuries and that he remains in critical condition, adding that there has been no change in his condition since his initial admission to the hospital.
Brou says that Mahler had recently lost his job and was working at Domino’s Pizza to make ends meet.
“Dennis is a family man,” Brou said. “He was doing what he had to do to in order to take care of his family when the accident happened.”
Mahler’s wife, Cheryl, is a music teacher for Archdiocesan schools. His son, Joey, is a 2008 graduate of Destrehan High School and is currently a sophomore at Louisiana State University. His daughter, Sharie, is a senior at Destrehan High School.
Jambalaya and pizza dinners will be sold from 4:30 p.m. until all food is sold this Friday at St. Charles Borremeo Catholic Church in Destrehan and Holy Family Church in Luling to help the family.