NewsSarasota, Manatee County


19-year-old survivor of terrifying rollover hit-and-run crash makes miraculous recovery

Posted at 5:12 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 14:16:44-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — A terrifying hit-and-run crash nearly killed 19-year-old Jackson Kelley, and doctors say his fast recovery is like nothing they've ever seen.

"Even though I saw the video, my brain just couldn’t process it. It was too much," said Kelley after watching nearby surveillance video of the crash.

Kelley says he was heading to class the morning of February 28 when a van crashed into him, causing his vehicle to roll over multiple times.

"I remember waking up on March 19 in the hospital," said Kelley.

Kelley was in a coma for 20 days. He had two fractured vertebrae, injured organs, bruised lungs and severe brain trauma. The doctors said there was an 80% chance of him being brain dead. But not even three months after the crash, it almost appears like it never happened.


"I’m not supposed to be this normal I guess," said Kelley, "I’ve been called a miracle several times."

Aside from being permanently deaf in one ear, and having a gnarly scar across his head from two brain surgeries, Kelley is close to complete recovery — and doctors are baffled.

Kelley says the incident has changed his outlook on everything.

"I’m just a lot more appreciative of life because you don’t realize how easily it can be taken from you," said Kelley.

As for the man who hit him and then fled the scene, Kelley says he has no resentment.

"He panicked. That could’ve been me in his shoes and sometimes you make bad decisions. He was arrested and will have to pay for what happened," said Kelley.

Zachari Brock, 24, was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury and driving with no valid license involving a serious injury. His court date is set for late May.

Kelley says he wants to thank everyone for their support and prayers. He plans to attend Florida Atlantic University in the fall and major in computer science and pre-engineering.