Tyi Leonard is one of my best friends. We would do just about everything together. We have built go carts together, stayed at each other’s houses, and always drove around in my car. We were like brothers. There was a time when I lived with him because my parents were always gone and his parents didn’t like me living by myself.
One night Tyi and another friend of mine, Kalyl, were staying at his house and they wanted to go to Paris. Kalyl was talking to a girl that lived in Bonham and she said she was going to Paris with a friend of hers. She said she would come by and pick Tyi and Kalyl up in Roxton so they could go to Paris. The girls finally showed up at about 11 or 12 and Kalyl asked her if she had her permit or anything because she was only 15 at the time. She lied and said yes. He also asked whose car she was driving and she lied and said it was hers, but she stole it from her mom. It had handicap stickers all over it. They went along with it because they wanted to go to Paris.
They were driving down Jones Lane out by Brookston and the girl that was driving was texting someone. One minute she looked down to text and the next she was almost in the ditch. She panicked and cut the wheel all the way to the left and the car flipped several times. Tyi was ejected out of the back window on the second flip and Kalyl was ejected out on the third flip. Tyi was care flighted to Dallas. Kalyl and the two girls went to the hospital in Paris. Both girls were fine, one of them had a torn ACL and the other barely had a scratch on her. Kalyl had a severe gash on his head and shoulder and the seat belt cut his stomach. He also had a concussion.
Tyi got the worst of the crash. He broke his hand, had scratches all over him, and was paralyzed from the waist down. The doctor told Tyi he was paralyzed later on that week but he had already knew. He had no feeling in his legs, it was obvious to him. This all happened on a Saturday night. My girlfriend heard over the police scanner that he was headed to Dallas and she told me that night. I was devastated. That Monday at school every one was crying. Our Spanish teacher started a fundraiser and she asked us what we should put on the posters. Another friend of mine said “Do It For Tyi.” That statement was on every poster that we made. Tyi requested to see me in the hospital but I was already on my way there to see him.
To this day we are still best friends. He is my brother from another mother. He is in a wheel chair, but nobody sees him as a guy in a wheel chair. They see him as a friend, a fighter, and a survivor nothing more nothing less.