Chance Bothe Survives Near-Deadly Texting and Driving Accident
In the middle of sending a text, Chance Bothe drove off of a cliff and sustained serious injuries. He was sent to TIRR Memorial Hermann for rehabilitation, where he has recovered tremendously. Chance is taking part in AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign to share with others his firsthand experience of the dangers of texting and driving. His message can be seen on MTV and VH1 starting September 13, 2013.
Watch Chance's Story
Murphy Carrier: I’ve been friends with Chance Bothe since second grade… we’ve known each other forever, been best friends and everything like that. We were supposed to meet up… I had a dentist appointment to go to. I was running late, and I texted him about it. Right before he enters into Ganado – I think he said he was in Edna – apparently he was texting and driving. He got the text and was sending another one, and lost all control.
Jody Manilli: I was sitting at my desk doing paperwork and he called and said, “Jody, there’s been a wreck down here at the creek, I need some help.” Well, I ran out the door and ran all the way down here, and saw what was left of a truck. One of the ambulance technicians was standing on top of the bridge. She said, “Is he still alive? Is he breathing?” One of us said yes, he just picked up his head and tried to take a breath. She said, “Get him out of the truck, now.” I realized it was Chance Bothe. I’m very good friends with his dad, have been for quite some time. Immediately I thought, you know, I just helped pull his son out of a vehicle and he’s not gonna make it.
Bobby Bothe (Chance’s Dad): They took him to Citizen’s Hospital in Victoria. We walked in and there was somebody laying there in the deal, and they said, “That’s him Bobby.” I said, “No. That isn’t him.”
Jaime Rea (Chance’s Sister): He was covered head to toe in blood, had a tube out of every square inch of his body. I just covered my face and I just dropped and I just cried. We were in the ICU with Chance and my dad asked him, you know, don’t sugarcoat anything, just tell us. And the nurse told us, you know, there are people that come in here with a lot less injuries than this and never leave. You need to be prepared that your son’s not leaving this bed.
Bobby: We were prepared, ever how we got him back, we want him back. I want him back.
Interviewer: Tell me how the accident happened. How much do you remember?
Chance: I don’t remember it at all, honestly. Let me tell you real quick, I don’t remember it at all. In fact, almost a month I was in a coma.
Interviewer: So tell me what you do remember.
Chance: I remember TIRR. That’s when I started getting my memory back.
Bobby: When we left Kindred Hospital in San Antonio by ambulance to Houston, to TIRR, I knew we made it. I just knew we was gonna make it.
Jaime: We were ecstatic. We knew that they were the best.
Anne Thornton (Physical Therapist): Our focus is to get them back into the community and home with their families. We get him out of bed, we take him down to the gym, they see him starting to get his personality back and see him starting to interact with people the way he used to. So, I think it really just sparks that hope that things are gonna get better and things are gonna improve. That’s what TIRR did for Chance and for his family.
Bobby: TIRR made Chance. They made him. They didn’t just fix him, they made him.
Jaime: They would get him outside, and he would play basketball. We would go out and feed the birds, and we’d go downstairs and eat in the cafeteria. They made me feel like family. They made my whole family feel like family.
Mary Williams (Patient Care Assistant): I treated Chance just like I would do my son. We’d just become close like mother and son. He started calling me Momma Mary. “Momma Mary! Momma Mary! Mary!” That’s what he would call me when we were working together. We’d become really, really close.
Bobby: I came up there one day, one Friday, I got there at about 3:00. I said, “Where’s Chance at?” “He’s fishing.” I said, “What?” Behind TIRR, they had a rod and reel in his hand and had a plastic fish on the ground, and he was to cast and try to hook that fish and reel it in. It was teaching him hand-eye coordination. Little stuff like that – they did miracles with him.
Mary: I think he’s come a long ways. If anybody could’ve seen his truck – he showed me pictures – you wouldn’t text and drive. You wouldn’t text and drive. It’s scary.
Bobby: Chance came home in August… he had to take a test through the state to get to drive again. He’s driving. He’s taking an online course and we’re trying to get him back into college. He’s getting better and better each day.
Jaime: He hasn’t given up – and being told someone is only gonna die or be a vegetable to now driving again or being in college… it’s a pretty huge deal.
Murphy: Seeing him get to where he is now… that doesn’t even surprise me.
Chance: If I have it on my mind to do something… nothing’s really hard for me to do. I get it done, one way or another. It’s amazing that everybody came together… for me. I… I don’t even know why for me. I’m not special. I’m really not. I’m a normal human being like everybody else. I have no idea really how I could pay them back. TIRR…they taught me how to live again.