Gadsden man looks back on texting and driving wreck - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Gadsden man looks back on texting and driving wreck

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GADSDEN - AL -

" It says, pray, trust God, be strong and courageous,"

Those words, etched in Travis Stafford's prayer coin, are the very ones he says got him through two of the toughest moments in his life..

The first time was in Iraq, while serving in the military. Then two years ago, on his 24th birthday, when a text message almost cost him his life.

" I keep it on me everyday, no matter what. Honestly, having that is what I think saved me," said Stafford.

Stafford was heading to his fiance's house after a birthday celebration with some friends, in an instant, his night went from celebrating to survival mode.

Stafford said, "They say your life flashes right before your eyes, it pretty much does. I mean, it did for me."

He was driving on Highway 278 and had just turned on to Young's Chapel Road, when he looked down for a split second to send a text message.

"It slid for a little bit," said Stafford, "And all of a sudden it just took off and went straight into a ditch. The last thing I remember was going into the ditch with my hands on the steering wheel. The next thing I know, I woke up and the car was on me."

All alone, trapped in his car, Stafford mustered up the strength to find a way out..

"I panicked a little because I was like, I really don't want to die right here. So, I searched with my feet, just trying to find something sturdy enough that I could put it on."

He managed to get himself out from under the car, that's when neighbors nearby came out to help him out of the ditch and call for help..

"I have always believed in God and right then I promise you I was talking to him the whole time, just telling him to get me out of this, get me out of this. I think

the more I talked to him the more I calmed down, to where I could actually get some kind of leverage to do what I did, said Stafford."

Some may call it a miracle, Stafford said it was his lucky coin that helped him come out of the wreck with only an injury to his ear.

"I could have been still in the ditch laying there and my parents not even know what happened, where I was or anything like that. So, that right there is probably the scariest moment, when you realize that you are lucky to be alive, said Stafford."

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