Joshua Rallying Around Injured Teen

JOSHUA (CBSDFW.COM) – Sixteen-year-old Jaci Mitchell doesn’t remember the moment her life changed.  She caught a ride home with a friend from a basketball game June 6.

Family members tell her there was an accident.  “Jaci was ejected out of the back windshield of the pick-up,” said Brad Mitchell, her father.

The truck rolled several times, throwing Jaci about 25 yards.  Today, she is paralyzed from the chest down, but alive.
“She’s very determined to get better, and she’ll do it. She sets her mind to something, and she’ll do it,” said Mitchell.

A varsity softball player for Joshua High School, Mitchell has her youth, physical fitness, and a positive attitude on her side.  “I’ve seen close to miracles happen,” said Dr. Anthony Lee, her neurosurgeon at Texas Health Harris Hospital Fort Worth.  While the chances are slim, he believes Jaci could beat the odds and maybe one day walk again.

Back in her hometown of Joshua, there are signs encouraging the community to pray for Jaci.  Friends and classmates have organized fundraisers to help cover the cost of her recovery.

“The whole community is coming together. We’ve had more people than we thought help,” said 18 year old Shelby Stowe.

Visitors have also turning out at the hospital in large numbers, but no one as often as Tanner Matthews.  “I leave at midnight late at night, go home to sleep, and get back here in the morning,” said Matthews.

He was Jaci’s prom date, her childhood friend, and the driver that night of the crash.  “It just happened.  Just happened like that in a matter of seconds,” he said.   He’s now determined to be at her side throughout the long recovery.

For Jaci’s family, all that support has left them unbelievably grateful.  “I bawl like a baby. It’s just amazing,” said Mitchell.

The family has set up an account under Jaci’s name at Wells Fargo to assist in her recovery, and friends have set up a website they are calling Jerseys for Jaci.  They are also planning a softball tournament and family fun day in her name Saturday from 10-6 at Joshua High School.

  • Rick

    So she wasn’t wearing a seat belt?Usually if you are wear a seat belt you are not ejected.Not much details of why the crash happened either.

    • 2sister

      I agree that you should wear seat belts, but let’s show some compassion. People make mistakes. I have forgot to put my on before. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt.

    • kate

      Why do you want or need details about how the crash happened? That isn’t the point of the article. As so many people below have already said, it’s about how this great community is rallying around to support a good local teen that had something tragic happen to her and her life is now changed. But you seem to have missed that point for looking for all the gory details.

    • JB

      What the hell does any of that matter?? You really can’t be that much of an idiot.

  • Juana

    Rick, agreed. They wouldn’t be worrying about all this if they were belted. What a shame.

    • Megan Martin

      if she was wearing her belt she would have died. God knew what he was doing.

      • 2sister

        I agree that we should have compassion, but it isn’t necessarily true that she would have died if she had been wearing a seat belt. I know someone who rolled their truck in some small mountains or hills. They survived with minor injuries. They were just bruised up. Also, we don’t really know that she didn’t have a seat belt on. I guess the seat belt could have snapped.

    • kristy

      Rick and Juana – disgusting. I’m sure you won’t bother replying to any of these comments because you will have your tail between your legs in shame – as you very well should. We all make mistakes in life. I’m sure you both have never done anything you regret, have you? I’m sure that you have never once been in a vehicle without a seat belt, even for a minute? Holier than thou, have some compassion. Get off your high horses and see that there is a 17 year old girl that can no longer walk, and then repeat after me: “I will pray for you. I’m sorry that happened.” Ignorant, cold blooded, heartless, compassionless, sorry excuses for members of the human race.

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  • Gina

    Rick, Juana both of you sit down for a few moments and recollect back to your teen days and remember your “if only I knew then what I know now” that ” oh if I could go back for a do-over” or “WOW what was I thinking” ………. Got that memory yet???? Okay, well guess what, you can still walk!! NOW, try to remember the piece Channel 11 wrote above….it’s about a very close community coming together for a young lady, a best friend, a student, a daughter, a HUMAN BEING! Not sure of your human status, but to error is human.

    • aaaaa

      thanks for being nice atleast
      and i mean rick and juana are very lucky that there mistakes that they made did not end up as trajic as this one did!

      i love you jaci!!!!!

  • Eden

    She was not wearing a seat belt, but in this case, if she had been, she would have been killed, as the whole passenger side of the truck was crushed.

  • Ryan

    It doesn’t matter if she was wearing a seat belt or not. Mistakes are made. And sometimes they are life changing. Don’t sit there and act like you didn’t make mistakes when you were 16. She is someones daughter, sister, friend, grandaughter, neice, or cousin. And they love her no matter what mistakes she made. Have a little heart Rick and Juana. Because what you have just written is pretty heartless. I bet you wouldn’t be this hateful about it if it was your daughter’s life that changed.

    Jaci, Mitchell family, and Matthews family–Don’t lose faith. Everything will be okay. There are thousands of people out there praying for not only Jaci, but Tanner as well. Everything happens for a reason. And for God to trust Jaci and Tanner with a task this big, they must be some pretty special people! I know that it may be a hard pill to swallow, but it will be okay. Jaci is a beautiful young lady, who will come out of this running, not walking! I have faith in you Jaci, as well as a ton of other people! Never give up! And Tanner, sweetie, be there for Jaci, y’all are each other’s support system. She will come out of this stronger than she went in, and the same goes for you! Y’all are very special, beautiful children, and God obviously has some really special things for both of you to accomplish in your young lives!

    “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”
    Don’t lose faith Jaci, the Mitchell’s, and the Matthews! You have a huge support system with people willing to help you anytime anyone needs it.

    Don’t listen to Rick and Juana, they are just bitter people who don’t understand how so many people could care about 2 amazing young teenagers.

    I love you both!!! Keep faith and stay strong!

  • Kevin Miller

    Rick and Juana, those comments really disgusted me. Just think, her friends will probably be reading this (I go to school with both Tanner and Jaci), and they will probably agree with me. Gina and Ryan both have some wise words here.

  • Megan Martin

    Kevin, I agree. If Rick and Juana even knew these kids they wouldn’t have said anything like that. Seat belt or not it happend.. We can’t change it even though we want to. These families need encouragement not negetivity. They need all the support they can get, I’m still praying Jaci.

  • Renea

    No one can predict why things happen, the just do, I am the result of the exact same accident 27 years ago and have been following this story since it happened. If I had been wearing a seat belt I would be dead, Instead I was thrown from the truck and am paralyzed from the waist down, However, I still have had a very full and happy life with a husband and children. Dont be negative about the situation, this family needs positive thoughts and prayers not finger pointing and why was she not wearing a seat belt. Be happy she is alive and has a chance to recover. Good luck Jaci during your rehab, be strong.

  • Aspen Smith

    She is such an amazing girl. Michell family, trust in the lord for he knows the plans he has for you. She is so strong willed, and i know she will pull through out of this all. Prayers your way sweetheart. Stay strong and keep the Faith!<3

  • kassadi

    jaci is one of the strongest girls i know! she has an amazing additude and will do everything she can to pull trough this!! none of us know why this happened to such a sweet girl but it didand god has a plan! i am deermined that jaci is going to come out of this with a testimony of how miricles can happen :) and tanner, just stay srong buddy! we are paying for you just as much as we are praying for jaci. i cant imagine what all is going through your head right now but stay strong and have faith that things will get better. yall have known each other so long and im sure this is hhard to believe but you both have a lot of ppl praying for yall…and for the two people that just cant seem to criticize jaci for not having her seatbelt on…the entire passanger side of the truck was crushed all the way over to tanners side…if she wouldnt have been thrown from the truck she would have died instantly! im just thankful that shes alive and now on her road to reovery! we love you jaci, the mitchell family, and the mathews :)

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  • kass

    the entire passenger side was demolished…it was smashed all they way to the drivers side…tanner had his seat belt on and just has minor bruising…but his side of the truck was fine…as for jaci’s side there was nothing left..and they dont know if she was wearing it or not bc she doesnt remember the wreck…they said she could have been wearing it and it broke on impact..either way they said she would have died on impact if she hadn’t been ejected.

  • Chris

    I know the Mitchell family. They are wonderful people. Jaci is a beautiful young lady. For people to run there mouth about if shouldd have had her seat belt on or not. As everyone has said. That does not matter. Use you thoughts for good and prayer. She will show everyone what she can do. Oh she will do it. So dont be ugly. Pray . Jaci needs love and support. And if you cant do that, then stay off the computer and pray nothing happens to you. We love you Jaci and we are praying for you so much. You mean to so much to so many. God Bless you Jaci. I know you will show evreyone what you can do. I know it

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