Kaden Taylor was driving into town on the crisp morning of Oct. 25, 2008, to take his ACT test in an old model pickup truck during his senior year of high school like any other student.
He only made it a half of mile down the rocky, dirt road from the farm he grew up on near Forgan, Okla.
Kaden's father, Kris, found his then-19-year-old son tossed aside in a tall bed of grass not far from his flipped over pickup truck.
"I remember his first words were 'I can't feel my legs,' " Kris recalled.
Kaden swerved out the way of an oncoming vehicle at an intersection, losing control and drove the vehicle into the broadside of a ditch when the truck flipped and ejected Kaden.
An ambulance arrived shortly after. The driver of the ambulance was the mother of Kaden's then-girlfriend in the town of 500 in Forgan. She bent over and took a deep breath when she realized she was coming to the aid of the mangled body of the boy she saw as her son.
A helicopter was needed and it soon landed in the field and airlifted Kaden to Amarillo, Texas. He was placed into a medically induced coma for three weeks, where he remained in the intensive care unit for five weeks, in the hospital for an additional three weeks. He then went through a rigorous month long physical therapy in Denver.
Kaden's right shoulder was shattered. The shoulder joint was completely busted into shards of toothpicks, he described. He has 54 screws in his right shoulder and a metal plate.
But it was his legs, they were numb.
"It's all foggy," Kaden said. "I don't know if the doctors really told me, I kind of just knew. I knew as soon as I wrecked, something was wrong with my body. I remember just kind of knowing."
At 19, Kaden knew he lost mobility in his legs. The wreck left him as a T7 paraplegic after the October 2008 crash.
He returned to Amarillo on Sept. 27, 2017, the day he won the Weekly Sprint Car Race Route 66 Speedway.
Kaden had been racing in the modified division two years prior to his wreck. Nine years later, Kaden is still driving, but this time in sprint cars. He returned to racing 11 months after his near fatal car crash.
"Sprint car racing is probably the most addictive sport there is," Taylor said. "It's like a drug. Once you get in, you can't really get out. My love for the sport is why I still do it. I'd like to continue to do this for the rest of my life, but I don't think my body will hold out."
Taylor's white gold, 700-horse power No. 6 sprint car hit the tracks for the first time at the 62nd Hutchinson Grand National Auto Races at the Kansas State Fairgrounds Friday. It's a proud moment for his father Kris every time his son races, let alone breathe another breath.
"I was thinking he wasn't going to make it," Kris said. "Nine years later, we're still doing it. I was pretty nervous about it at first, but it's what he lives for now. He loves it. It makes me feel pretty proud."
Racing is the final step, but getting in the vehicle is the first.
Kaden has to place his feet inside the vehicle and Kris boards the other side to guide his son's foot to the floor where the drive shaft goes through the torque tube. Kaden has to lift himself while his father continues to place him firmly in the seat.
Getting out is a little bit tougher, Kaden said. A strap and a bar goes around him and they have to have someone lift up Kaden, sometimes it's his sister when she is able to make it to a race. Kris guides Kaden's legs out and he slides out the car into his wheelchair.
The process was lengthy at first, but after nine years, the process is only 30 seconds to get Kaden in and out of the vehicle.
Then it's driving. Kaden has a long, metal lever to the left of his steering wheel, which is his breaks. The gas pedal is actually on his steering wheel and he uses his thumb to give the vehicle gas. He said he basically drives with one hand because he is constantly gripping the break lever with his left hand.
Kaden, 28, was all smiles Friday at the Fairgrounds. He and his father lightheartedly joked about Kaden's first sprint car crash in a March Wichita race this year. Everyone from his hometown freaked out when they found out about the crash.
"I told them he's fine," Kris said with a grin. "It's not his first crash."
Kaden doesn't know how long his fast and furious driving is sustainable, but he won't let time stop him.
"You can't let it get you down," Kaden said. "Life will throw all kinds of crap at you. You have to live your life and do what you love and have fun because life is too short."