- Associated Press - Sunday, May 11, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - At age 14, Tevin Reams was in a rush.

His mom didn’t want him out. He knew he had just enough time to grab a soda from the gas station and meet a friend to skateboard before she found out he was gone.

Reams watched the walk signal change from red to white on the corner of 12th and Beverly streets in Casper. He stepped off the curb.

He doesn’t remember the driver, who was 16, running the red light. He doesn’t remember the car striking his left side. He doesn’t remember flying 25 feet from the point of impact or slamming into the pavement in the middle of the intersection.

Now, eight years later, Reams‘ brain works in spurts. Often it gets stuck. Sometimes, it makes him mad.

Few scars hint at Reams‘ trauma. He doesn’t walk with a limp. His words don’t slur together like doctors thought they would.

But there’s a mark shaped like a railroad track curving behind his left ear, where doctors twice inserted body fat to stop a spinal fluid leak. Asphalt is still buried beneath the skin near his right cheekbone and hip - reminders of where he landed after impact.

Then there’s a scar of his own making, the tattoo he got two years ago depicting a half-man, half-skeleton holding ice in one hand and fire in the other. Inscribed below the fearsome image is the date of Reams‘ accident, May 15, 2006.

At age 22, Reams has relearned most of the functions he lost after his accident. He still forgets names of people and items, and it takes him longer to process information. Twice, Reams dropped out of Natrona County High School.

On Saturday, he will walk across a stage at Casper College to accept his high school equivalency certificate from the school’s adult learning program.

It’s a walk he always wanted but sometimes doubted he could make.

Lisa Reams, 43, was finishing payroll at her job when her cellphone rang in 2006. A police officer’s voice was on the other line.

Mrs. Reams, Tevin is all right,” the police officer said to Lisa. “He’s been hit by a car, and he’s at the hospital for a routine checkup.”

Lisa hustled to find her keys to the office, thinking she would return to finish payroll after checking on her son. She drove herself to Wyoming Medical Center, where she found her son’s friend and the friend’s parents, hysterical.

The friend had seen it all happen. Lisa’s son just happened to step first into the crosswalk.

Story Continues →