SCHERTZ – An Allison Steele high school senior is not letting his near-death experience stop him from reaching his biggest goal, which is to walk across the stage for graduation.
Zachariah Gibson is a successful young man who has his own landscaping business, is training to become a personal trainer and is set to graduate early that this Tuesday, May 25.
On Sunday, May 16, he got in a serious motorcycle accident.
“I was riding with six of my friends,” Gibson said. “It was a chill ride. I was going about 65 to 70 mph and came under the bridge at 1604 and 35. I got behind this truck and as soon as I got to IKEA, I went to make a pass to my right side.”
Gibson said that is when his life flashed before his eyes.
”I looked over and saw my buddy, so I didn’t pass but by the time I looked in front of me, the truck had slammed on his brakes,” Gibson said. “When I hit, I slid all the way across 35 and hit the concrete wall and then slid all the way back to the left side of 35. They said I slid almost 300 feet.”
He said he felt every broken bone he sustained but his biggest concern was getting hit by another vehicle.
“When I had stopped sliding, I stayed calm,” Gibson said. “One of my buddies, who is a big man, came to me. It was something to see a grown man cry when he saw me, so I knew I looked bad.”
Shaina Webb, his mother, said she was devastated when she got the call.
“I was at home and we were already closing up for the day,” Webb said. “I got an odd number on my phone and at first I wasn’t going to answer because I don’t usually answer odd numbers but something told me to answer this call.”
She said once the lady on the phone started talking, she already knew the bad news involved her son.
“I was crying and freaking out,” she said. “When I got there, all I could think about was if my son was going to die. He was very calm on the phone when I was speaking with the first responder, so I started to think he was striking out. I spent 14 years as a paramedic and when it is your kid on the other end of the receiving call, it is hard to keep that state of mind. I thought at 18, he is supposed to graduate in a week. I didn’t think I was going to see that.”
Fortunately, Gibson pulled through but did sustain several injuries, including 80% of his body being covered in road rash.
“I broke my hip in two places, I broke both collar bones, the top of my nose and scapula and I have reconstructive surgery on my eye,” he said.
“The lower eyelid was ripped almost completely off,” his mother added.
No matter his injuries, Gibson made it a point to start walking and healing up so he could be ready for his graduation.
“I spent too many hours, and too much hard work to not walk the stage,” Gibson said. “It is something I have been looking forward to a long time.”
Gibson plans to roll his wheelchair to the stage since walking is still a struggle for him, but he plans to take to the stage on foot.
“I am just glad I can walk,” Gibson said. “First I am glad that I am alive because there is no way I should be, but I am glad I walked away with what I did and that I will be able to walk.”
He hopes his story serves as a reminder to others to watch for motorcyclists on the roadways.
He also said he hopes his passion to walk and continue riding his motorcycle encourages others to cherish life.
“Tomorrow is never promised,” Gibson said. “I was having a great day. Nothing was wrong but I could have been gone right there. I want people to know to live every moment to the fullest.”