Chance Bothe is the poster child for the dangers of texting while driving. The Texas college student sent the text, "I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident" moments before a crash caused him to suffer a broken neck, crushed face, fractured skull and traumatic brain injuries during the January accident.
Now Bothe, a resident of Ganado, Tex., is using his near-death experience to warn those who text while driving to put down their phones when they are on the road.
"They just need to understand, don't do it. Don't do it. It's not worth losing your life," Bothe, 21, told WAFF in Huntsville, Ala. "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 up in that casket. I came very close to that, to being gone forever."
It took Bothe six months to leave the Texas hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, where he was treated for his injuries after he sent the text moments before the crash.
Bothe had been texting a friend from childhood as he drove 40 miles from his college in Victoria, Tex., to Granado when tragedy struck.
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The two were fighting via text when Bothe didn't see a curve in the road, causing his truck to slide off into a ravine, according to Today.com. Bothe's truck then ignited.
Bothe had written a simple, three-word message right before the crash: "b right there."
Bothe's mother, Vicki Bothe, described the accident scene to Today.com and said her son was fortunate that other drivers saw Chance go off the ravine.
"I'd never seen so many first responders. There were so many lights. The whole town was full of emergency personnel. I knew at that time that it was not a good situation," she said. "Luckily [the accident] was witnessed. No one would've seen him if it hadn't been witnessed. It's so far down the road."
As part of his recovery, Bothe underwent two facial reconstructions.
"Most days he does pretty well, but there's a pretty significant change in his personality," his mother told Today.com. "He had to learn everything over again. He had to learn to speak with proper voice inflection. He had to learn how to convey emotion. Prior to the accident, he was an extremely intelligent child. He painted, he played music, he was a math whiz."