GUNTER, TX - A Texoma father has a warning for teens who engage in "huffing" after a tragic accident last week left his son fighting for his life.
John May was notified by Gunter police last Monday night that his son, Michael Elliot, had been in an accident. He couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the 19-year-old in a hospital bed at Plano Medical Center.
"The saddest thing I've ever seen my life was a mother crying over her son while her son is fighting for his life, and it just happens to be my wife and my son," May said.
On December 12 around 10:30 p.m. the car Michael was driving, hit a tree and then crashed into a ditch along Hunt Road just outside of Gunter. Michael's passenger was wearing a seat belt and wasn't seriously hurt. But Michael was not, and he was critically injured. Even a week later you can still see the tire treads that leads to the ditch where Michael was found the night of the accident.
Gunter Police Chief Bryce Kennedy was one of the first at the scene. He immediately performed CPR to clear Michael's airway before first responders got to the scene. Michael's passenger described what happened.
"The passenger had fallen asleep and when he woke up, they were going off the road and crashed before he could do anything."
But after the accident, the young man riding with Michael made a confession.
"He told us that they have been huffing aerosol while driving coming back from Sherman on 75 on 121 and taking the back road going around Gunter so they wouldn't get stopped," Kennedy said.
Kennedy says this is the first accident he's seen that was caused by huffing.
"You may get away with it, and you may not. And if you don't get away with it, something tragic like this could happen where you're in a hospital in a coma and you may not make it."
May says the best thing parents can do is talk to their children.
"There's nothing you can do to stop them from doing it. You can just instill your morals and beliefs in them, and they're on their own. But it's dangerous," May said.
"He was passed out before he drove off the road and he's still out now.. He's in a coma."
If you would like to help Michael's family with hospital bills an account has been set up at the Landmark Bank in Gunter under "Michael Elliot." They will also have a fundraiser in his honor Saturday, December 30 at the Gunter Fire Department.