Student warns others after texting, driving accident

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

GANADO, Texas - A student is warning others about what can happen when a person tries to text and drive at the same time.

Chance Bothe is finally back at home in Ganado, Texas, after six months of multiple surgeries and rehabilitation.

In January, the truck he was driving took a nose dive off the road, over an embankment, and crashed 20 feet below.

"Honestly, I don't remember anything," Bothe said.

His mother, Victoria, said, "Chance never hit his brakes. He went right off the edge ... (and) within seconds from pulling him from the wreckage, (the truck) exploded."

His family later learned Bothe had been arguing with a friend through text messages while driving home from college.

One of the last ones he sent read, "I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel?"

Among other injuries, Bothe explained, "I broke my ribs, my sternum, my neck, my face."

He also suffered a traumatic brain injury.

After multiple surgeries, he came to TIRR Memorial Hermann for rehabilitation.

"Chance had to learn to breathe again," his mother said. "He had to learn to eat again. He had to learn to speak with proper voice inflection."

The brain injury also affected his personality.

Dr. Jacob Joseph with TIRR's Brain Injury & Stroke Program explained, "Often times we have that the frontal lobe is affected, and that can deal with a lot of issues such as behavior, someone's memory, also controlling emotions."

The story of this "second chance" gripped his hometown Ganado, southwest of Houston.

Family and friends created a foundation in his honor called to raise awareness about distracted driving.

Victoria Bothe said, "Chance's accident was avoidable. I don't want any other person to go through what Chance has had to endure, you know, his mental pain and fatigue, his physical pain. It's just been enormous and he's committed to move forward, but it didn't have to happen this way."

Chris Bothe added, "For some good reason, God didn't take my life away. He left me here. But, I like to tell everyone do not text message and drive. Do not drink and drive or else you'll be in the same situation that I'm in."

Chris Bothe will continue outpatient therapy to help him reach his goal of returning to school and leading a normal life.

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