Teen not taking life for granted after fatal wreck - WSMV News 4

Teen not taking life for granted after fatal wreck

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Paxton Gilbreath Paxton Gilbreath
MOUNT PLEASANT, TN (WSMV) -

Paxton Gilbreath said he isn't taking life for granted anymore.

He has seen the vehicle he was in when it crashed and he realizes that no one should have walked away from that.

"I don't know how we made it out," said Gilbreath on Friday after being released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Sarah Graham, 17, who was driving the BMW, and Kyle Tate, 16, were killed in the accident on Wednesday. Gilbreath and Ronald Harris, 16, were seated on the passenger side, away from the impact.

Gilbreath suffered a broken collarbone and some broken ribs. He said he's thankful to be alive.

Mount Pleasant Police said that Graham did not stop at the intersection of First Avenue and U.S. Highway 43. The BMW was struck by a tractor trailer traveling north on 43. The driver, Patrick Howard, was not injured.

Gilbreath said he remembers Graham stopping in the intersection.

"I guess she froze and she stopped in the middle of the highway," said Gilbreath. "I screamed 'Go!' and I guess she didn't hit the gas fast enough and it hit us."

The next thing Gilbreath said he remembers is Eric Coble, an assistant coach for the football team who is also an EMT.

"I remember waking up with Coach Coble in my face talking about everything is going to be alright," said Gilbreath.

The Mount Pleasant High football player doesn't remember being flown to Vanderbilt, but he does remember seeing his mom at the hospital for the first time and crying his eyes out.

"He was lying there on the stretcher with a neck brace on," said Constance Gilbreath, Paxton's mom. "At that point all I could do was cry and thank God that he was still there."

At the hospital, Paxton asked to see his best friend, Harris.

"Before they took me up to the trauma room, I asked if I could go see him," said Paxton. "So they wheeled me down there so I could go see him. He was doing good."

"When they saw each other, all they could do was cry," said Constance Gilbreath. "They shook hands and Ronald said 'We're lucky,' and Paxton said 'God's with us.'"

Ronald Harris was discharged from the hospital on Friday.

Constance Gilbreath, Paxton's mom, said her heart goes out to the Graham and Tate families.

"To the family of Sarah and Kyle, my heart goes out to them," said Constance Gilbreath.

The gymnasium at Summertown High School was packed today for visitation and a prayer service with Graham's family. There will also be visitation from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home in Columbia. The funeral service is at 2:30 p.m.

Visitation for Tate will be held Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Baxter Brothers Funeral Home in Columbia. The funeral will be held Thursday at 1 p.m. at Mount Pleasant High School.

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