Vinny’s Story

Candace Lightner Speaks at the Institute for Personal Leadership
November 28, 2016
Heather’s Story
November 29, 2016

Vinny’s Story

It was a bright, sunny and warm Friday afternoon at about 2:00 pm.

The other vehicle came around this very curve heading straight at me at great speed. 

How would you react?  

Go in the other lane?

I assumed the other driver was looking at me.

I had nowhere to go.  

The other driver never hit her brakes. Her car plowed head-on right into me at full speed.

My car ended up on top of the guardrail to my right going in the opposite direction.

The police established that the other driver was on Snapchat, but they could not prove the precise time with regards to the crash. She ended up with a simple ticket for being in the wrong lane.

A ‘crash’ is not the same thing as an ‘accident.’

An "accident" is when something happens that's out of our control and beyond our ability to foresee and prevent; playing with your smartphone while driving does NOT fall into this category.

I was in ICU for five weeks.

I could not move… anything.


  • a blood clot
  • artificial shoulder
  • artificial hip
  • an artificial left elbow
  • partial right elbow
  • 20 broken bones
  • I broke bones in my neck, but not my spine.
  • Ten blood transfusions
  • I died twice and had to be resuscitated- once on my way to the hospital and then on the operating table.
  • My wife had five broken ribs and two fractured ankles.

I woke up with seeing pins in my wrist and rods coming out of my arm and leg to hold them in place.

There was nothing left of my right knee. My surgeon said it was like sand.

I came very close to losing my left leg and left arm.

My bones - what was left of them - were so mangled they literally didn't know which way to grow back.  Some of them ended up growing in the wrong direction and actually had to be killed with radiation beams like a cancerous tumor to stop their growth.

Alive but never the same.

I was at Gaylord Rehabilitation Hospital four months lying on my back.

Three months after the crash… my first step.

The next two years were filled with more surgeries and continuous painful rehabilitation.

32 procedures in 26 surgeries in a two year period.

I hope to return to teaching in September 2017, two and a half years from the crash. That time has been stolen from me forever.

Even if I can go back to work, I can no longer take my students on geological digs.

I have used The Starlab Portable Planetarium since 1997 with my students.

I can no longer use it.

Will I ever play golf with my boys again?

Will I ever be able to go for a walk on the beach with my wife?

What are you willing to give up?

Just how much is that text message/tweet/selfie while you're driving worth to you?

You've all heard plenty about not drinking and driving; now you should add texting and driving too - it's actually many times MORE dangerous.

Be Part of The Solution - Sign The Petition - Just Drive: Enable Airplane | Drive Mode

Signatures: 915

1 Comment

  1. […] Despite serious injuries and a long-term recovery, Vinny Carbone continues to speak out against distracted driving. We want to thank him for his commitment to educating young people about the dangers of distracted driving. You can read about Vinny’s story here. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *