CIO Alan Boehme had a typical business continuity and succession plan, but one terrible moment on a California highway revealed its weaknesses

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This past February 2, at 5.15pm, Alan Boehme, 47, VP and CIO of Juniper Networks, left his office and climbed into his black 2004 Infiniti G-35. He pulled out of the company parking lot and began the 90-minute drive to his home in Half Moon Bay, a coastal town in Northern California's San Mateo County. Boehme's work had been going well. In December, he had completed an ambitious restructuring of the $US2.5 billion networking company's IT infrastructure, globalizing its operations and laying the foundation for its future growth.

Boehme took California Highway 280 to Highway 92, a two-lane road about 10 minutes from his house. A few seconds later, a drunk driver in Boehme's lane hit him head-on.

"The person in front of me swerved off the road because he saw the guy coming," Boehme recalls. "The next thing you know, these headlights were coming straight at me. We hit headlight to headlight. I remember thinking, my wife and son are going to lose their husband and father."

The old question is: "What if someone gets hit by a bus?" Well, we know the answer to that now

Danny Moquin, VP of IT operations and infrastructure Juniper Networks

They didn't. But the aftermath was ugly.

"I felt blood just gushing down my face and I was in a state of panic and shock," says Boehme. "Somehow, I was able to get the seat belt off, kick the door open. I got out of the car and just started yelling: 'Help me, help me.'"

A person who witnessed the crash helped Boehme to the side of the road. An artery in his nose had been severed and he was bleeding profusely. "I had broken bones in my face, and my nose was turned sideways and crushed," he says. "I ended up with a contusion of the skull and a fracture at the base of the skull, along with, we found out later, a series of injuries to the left side of my body, including my knee, where there were torn ligaments and a crushed kneecap, as well as a broken finger and torn muscles in the shoulder from the seatbelt."

Boehme lay on the side of the road as EMTs attended to the drunk driver, believing his stomach wound was more life-threatening than Boehme's injuries. "I was very upset that here's this person who for all I knew had ended my life, and at minimum had dramatically impacted my life, and they're rushing to save him," he recalls. Feeling cold and abandoned, Boehme asked the man who had stopped to grab his BlackBerry. He called his wife, Alisa, who arrived 20 minutes later with their 11-year-old son, David. They found Boehme lying on the roadside, still waiting to be taken to the hospital.

Later that night, at Stanford Medical Centre, doctors monitored what they believed was a fluid leak in Boehme's brain. They stitched up his face and put IVs in both arms. Boehme drifted off as the painkillers did their work. He awoke on Saturday morning to find his BlackBerry by his side.

"I don't know if my wife picked it up or if they put it on my person," says Boehme, "but I e-mailed Danny Moquin [his VP of IT operations and infrastructure]: 'Been in a car accident. You need to take over.'"

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