The Day Life Changed For Quadriplegic Ashleigh Justice

Editor’s Note: As a 15-year-old new driver, Ashleigh Justice of Phoenix, Arizona, was driving her family vehicle when tragedy struck and changed her life forever. Part 1 of a 5 part series.

Ashleigh Justice endured a life changing car accident that drastically changed her life.

Ashleigh Justice endured a life changing car accident that drastically changed her life.

Justice: I remember as a new driver, driving back with my family from a vacation in Texas. We thought my driving was relatively safe on the open highway, because there were very few cars on the road from Texas to Phoenix. On the open road, there was a semi tractor trailer that I needed to pass. As I started around him, he moved over into my lane. To complicate matters even more, there was a crosswind blowing across the highway. I tried to avoid him, and when I attempted to get back in my lane, I lost control of the car. The car went off the road as I tried to steer back, and my tires slipped on the shoulder of the road. Our car rolled over several times. I had my seatbelt on, and I wasn’t speeding. When the car started rolling over, my sister was thrown out of the car, because she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.

She landed about 40 feet out into the desert from where the car eventually stopped. The roof of the car caved in on my side and caused a compression fracture in my neck and a brain injury. My sister and I were airlifted from the scene of the crash to the hospital. That’s where they discovered I had a spinal cord and brain injury. I went into spinal cord shock, at least that’s what I was told. My head hit the car so hard that I didn‘t remember anything from 30 minutes before the accident. The first time I could remember anything was 3 days later when I woke up in the hospital. I was told that my sister went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, but the paramedics brought her back. Although she sustained a broken collar bone, shoulder blade and had torn the muscles away from her spine, thankfully she was able to walk out of the hospital the day after the accident. I stayed in intensive care for 10 days and didn’t know what the future held for me.

Before the accident, I was a normal teenager. I was in the marching band at our high school, and I played the cymbals. I was also very active in drama. I wasn’t an actress, but I loved to build things and worked with the set designer, building the props. I was a free spirit. I went wherever I wanted to go and did whatever I wanted to do. If I didn’t have a ride from where I was to where I wanted to be, I’d figure out a way to get a ride. Nothing could stop me mentally or physically. I was an A/B student and had planned to go out for the softball team the year after the accident. I was dating a guy before the accident but not very seriously. I wanted to be an attorney. I liked being able to prove a point and then defending that position. I liked the exchange between two opposing viewpoints. I also wanted to be a marine biologist and was fascinated by the creatures of the ocean, especially the ones you couldn’t see. I was an international baccalaureate and an honor student. I also really enjoyed writing and poetry. My sister was a star student, who’d always been on the honor roll. I really had a bright future in front of me before the accident.

About Ashleigh Justice
As a 10-year veteran of SCI and TBI,  Ashleigh has lived with her injuries (the result of a rollover car accident) since she was 15 and has overcome many challenges, including most recently, becoming a parent. She has spent many years mentoring other people with SCI and has discovered that with the right attitude and the right amount of knowledge, nothing is impossible. Today, Ashleigh writes a blog for brain and spinal cord injured individuals (quadriplegia mainly) called The QuadFiles, sponsored by AdvisaCare.  It’s a compilation of resources, stories and motivations – see for details. 

Next: Ashleigh Justice Wakes Up And Isn’t Prepared For Her New Life

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-841-1233.

4 Responses to The Day Life Changed For Quadriplegic Ashleigh Justice

  1. thequadfiles says:

    Great write-up 🙂 Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with you and your readers!

  2. thequadfiles says:

    Reblogged this on thequadfiles and commented:
    Check out my story on Hometown Heroes! Thank you UroMed, LASCI, and John E Phillips for the opportunity to share it 🙂 You guys rock!!

  3. Liora says:

    Ashleigh is an amazing person is every way, before the accident and after. I had the pleasure of going to high school with her and can attest to her strength of character, optimism, and inner beauty.

  4. Maureen Lynette Walker says:

    Beautiful Smile, and very healthy attitude! Inspiration to all those in trauma andn or spinal cord injury! Wow, GOD love you!

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