GUNTER, TX -- A Gunter man is warning of the dangers of "huffing" after he was critically injured in an accident nearly three years ago while high on fumes.
"Huffing" is the term for inhaling chemical fumes through the nose or mouth. Some say it gives a mental high, but it is a high that can come with dangerous even deadly consequences, and that is what Michael Elliot wants to prevent by telling teens about the crash that almost killed him.
"Just a matter of minutes have changed my life forever. I'm in this wheelchair. I can't walk," Michael said.
Around 10:30 on the night of December 12, 2011, Michael Elliot, then 19, says he and a friend were huffing in the car when he passed out behind the wheel, hit a tree and then crashed into a ditch along Hunt Road just outside of Gunter. Unlike his passenger Michael was not wearing a seat belt and was critically injured. Michael says he had to be revived four times before making it to the hospital.
"I was put in a coma for three and a half weeks," Michael said.
"Shocked, numb, disbelief," May said.
That is how Michael's mom Cindy May said she felt when she found out about the accident.
"Heart wrenching. I mean to see your child laying there with no life and they're fighting for his life," May said.
Even though it did not seem likely Michael survived, but now is dealing with the effects of a traumatic brain injury.
"It's been a real long process, and it's been hard and it ain't worth huffing," Michael said.
Michael says he believes God spared his life for a reason, to let others know about the dangers of huffing.
"Huffing ain't worth it. You'll end up like me in a wheelchair. You can possibly die," Michael said.
"God's got a plan for him. God gave him a story to tell about huffing that's not really talked about and discussed" May said.
"I want to go out there and save one person's life. Just one person," Michael said.
Michael is currently living in a nursing home and going through rehab. His mother is hoping he will be able to come home next month, but he has a long road ahead of him.