Reported yesterday by Houston’s KHOU, a 21-year-old man named Chance Bothe was sending text messages while driving and ended up plummeting off a bridge to crash in a ravine 35 feet below. Just moments before the crash occurred on January 24, 2012, one of the last texts he sent to a friend stated “I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel…” Bothe was driving home from college when the near-fatal accident occurred. When paramedics found Bothe, parts of the engine were in his lap and the roof of the pickup truck was completely crumpled on top of his head. Rescue workers were able to safely remove Bothe from the vehicle before the truck caught on fire.
Bothe was rushed to San Antonio to be treated for a punctured lung, broken neck and brain damage as well as multiple compound leg, rib and sternum fractures all over his body. In addition, Bothe’s face was significantly damaged to the point where the doctors thought he would be blind if he was able to recover at all.
Despite coding three times while undergoing extensive surgery, Bothe did slowly recover from the injuries over the past six months. Bothe had to undergo extensive physical therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston in order to learn how to walk again during his recovery period. Unfortunately, his brain injuries have directly altered his personality. According to Bothe’s father, his son has returned to about 80 percent of his former state.
However, Bothe wants to use his experience as a warning to anyone that wants to attempt reading or sending text messages while driving. In the interview, Bothe states “They just need to understand don’t do it. Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life. I went to my grandmother’s funeral not long ago. And I kept thinking, it kept jumping into my head. I’m surprised that’s not me in that casket. I came very close to that. To being gone forever.” In addition, Bothe’s father recommends that parents disable the texting function, if possible, on a high school or college student’s cellular phone.
When asked about the volume of driving injuries attributed to texting while driving, Dr. Jacob Joseph of the specialty rehabilitation program at TIRR stated “Unfortunately we’re seeing more and more patients here that had their brain injuries as a result of texting and driving. And unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to see a decrease in that anytime soon.”
In a related story, walking while talking on a cell phone was too distracting for a Philadelphia man. Released earlier this week, security cameras within a train station captured video of a man that plummets several feet off the platform to the track level while he was chatting on the phone. After falling onto the tracks, he was knocked unconscious and the station was completely empty. Fortunately, trains weren’t moving along that particular track at that time of night. He woke up later and climbed back onto the platform before leaving the station.