Caleb Trahan, a Success Story


The loud phone ringing woke her from a deep sleep, but the ring was not as piercing as the words she would hear after mumbling, “Hello?”, at 4:30 in the morning. “My name is Stephanie, I’m an emergency room nurse. Is this Laurie and do you have a son named Caleb Trahan?” With a shattered voice, the woman said yes. “I am calling to let you know that he was involved in a horrific car crash. I need you to get here as quickly and as safely as you possibly can.” This was the wake-up call that my mom received on Mother’s Day morning of 2017.

After racing to the hospital, a twenty-minute drive full of heartbreak, my parents walked into the emergency room lobby and were escorted by security back into an empty room with a table and one box of Kleenex. My father held my mom back as the door closed, he told her that everything was okay. However, inside, they both had the same feeling. When they were escorted to Trauma Room 3, they found me mangled, unconscious, medically sedated and intubated. There were blankets lying on the floor covering up my blood. They told me bye as I was being rushed into emergency surgery with uncertainty that I would be coming back.

I woke up five days later to find my mom leaning over me, hand on my head, and tears falling from her eyes. I was in excruciating pain, and I could see that my mom had it no easier. I asked her where I was, she told me “We’re in the hospital.” “What happened?” I asked. “You were in horrible wreck last weekend.” Even though I was afraid for the answer, I asked it anyways, “Did I hurt anybody else?” “No, you just broke yourself.”

I suffered from traumatic cardiac arrest, which nationally has a rate of less than one percent chance of survival. I had no heartbeat for several minutes during the extrication from my vehicle and in route to the hospital. I had nearly fifty total injuries, broken neck, several ribs, shoulders, collar bones, sternum, legs, and bones in my face. My liver was lacerated, both lungs collapsed, my chest was burned and I bled out. During transport to the hospital, the paramedics performed CPR, intubation and cut my chest open in order to release air surrounding my lungs.

I underwent about fifteen surgeries during my six-week hospitalization. My hospital room always had family and friends, my parents spent every day with me. The paramedics visited often and we became friends. I learned more about the story and what happened. I fell asleep driving home, I was running on fumes and minimal sleep. I ended up stopping for a drink at a local bar, that was around midnight. I didn’t drink much, but it definitely made me drowsier. I only had about a fifteen-mile drive home and thought I could make it, but seven miles into the drive I fell asleep. My vehicle left the road and struck a large pole, I was partially ejected from the vehicle because I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt.
We Save Lives welcomes The Institute for Safer Trucking as our partner in the campaign to save lives.

The Institute for Safer Trucking (IST) is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering collaboration between trucking industry stakeholders to provide the public with an understanding of truck safety issues and the data-driven solutions that can address them. They are a reliable resource for motor carriers and truck drivers to learn about safety improvements that can reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities, as well as for families of truck crash victims and survivors in need of help. Located in Washington D.C., they are committed to working with all shareholders to make trucking safer in the United States. We thank them for all they do and look forward to working with them in the future.

If you would like to partner with us you can contact us at through our partner page on our website.
A Message from our President

When Caleb contacted me asking if he could volunteer as a We Save Lives’ speaker, I was intrigued by the fact that he was an EMT. I thought his experience as a first responder when dealing with drunk, drugged and distracted driving crashes would be worth sharing to our audiences. However, after I heard his amazing story, I saw even more life lessons, especially for those who think they can drive when tired and who do not believe in seat belts. Although we focus on the 3 D’s we are a highway safety organization and we support many efforts to encourage people to drive safely. Caleb has offered to speak on our behalf and we think his story is worth sharing. Not just because he made mistakes that almost took his life but because he did more than survive, he thrived and is moving forward to help others. 

We still haven't reached our goal so can we count on you to help us protect you and your loved ones when travelling on our roadways? Please donate.

There are so many ways to give if you can't give a gift.

You can always:
  • share our newsletters,
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  • write the media an admonishing letter when they use the word accident when describing a crash,
  • share our website,
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  • sign the Courage to Intervene Promise,
  • sign our petition to stop marijuana - impaired driving,
  • drive responsibly and encourage others to do the same.

I would like to wish all of you a better New Year than the one we just had and please remember to wear a seat belt, and drive sober, awake, and focused. .

Thank you for all you do to keep yourself and others safe. Your safety is always our priority.

Candace Lightner
Founder, We Save Lives  

We Save Lives depends upon contributions and sponsorships to help fund our ongoing drunk, drugged and distracted driving campaigns. These include our Drop the "A" Word petition drive, Action Alerts, Legislative support, and our Celebration of Life program, honoring victims and survivors of drunk, drugged and distracted driving and boating. If you are interested in Giving Back to your community and saving lives please consider becoming a We Save Lives sponsor. You may contact us at
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