Saturday, November 15, 2003

Heather French Henry relives pain on 'Oprah'

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Former Miss America Heather French Henry told Oprah Winfrey that she will never forget the day her vehicle collided with a bicyclist who later died.

"I saw her face, I saw her hand, I heard her scream 'no.' ... I did not think she would die. ... I was praying so hard," French told Winfrey in a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show that aired Friday.

Last month Henry, the wife of Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, was turning at a Louisville intersection when she struck Karola Stede, 44, a native of Germany who was crossing outside the crosswalk. Stede, a mother of four, died at a local hospital following the accident.

"I will always live with her every single day. Everyday I will probably think of her. I will think about the children," said a tearful Henry with her husband sitting in the audience. "It's a nightmare every single day."

Henry, who was Miss America 2000, and her 3-month-old daughter, Taylor, were wearing seat belts and were not injured in the crash. No criminal charges were brought against Henry.

Her story was one of three featured on the Oprah Winfrey show titled "Heartbreaking Headlines." It was taped Nov. 11. Winfrey billed the story as an exclusive with Henry about how she dealt with the accident and its aftermath.

"I'm hoping that by telling people about my pain ... it will help others," Henry said in a telephone interview Friday, before the show aired.

Henry said she decided to go on the show after receiving so many requests from media for interviews after the accident.

The Oprah Winfrey Show seemed like the best way to tell her story, Henry said, because it gave her more time to talk and explain what she went through. The show also reaches several countries, including Germany, she said.

"I'm hoping Karola's family will see it," she said.

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