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Special report: Overcoming the odds


It’s been six months since a rollover crash left one Bend man paralyzed, impacting his entire family.

The road to recovery for Nathan Severson, 21, is a long one, but faith is keeping him going

Severson now calls an assisted living facility home, his room decorated for a young adult starting life, words of inspiration and memories with his friends and family hanging on the wall.

On a cold rainy day, Severson is getting ready to head out to his physical therapy at St. Charles Bend.

Severson is working toward building strength — slow steps, but big progress for him.

“It’s helped me a lot,” he said recently of the physical therapy. “I want to get better and walk again.”

Severson celebrated his 21st birthday on Feb. 7 with his family and close friends, but he is still darkened by the summer night that changed his life forever.

“I got good days and bad days, where I wish I was not here anymore,” Severson said.

Stephanie Buchanan, his mother and best friend, has been by her son’s side since the crash.

She said getting the call from the hospital that Nathan was in a car crash was one of the hardest days of her life.

On Aug. 13, five people were injured in the rollover crash on Powell Butte Highway near Highway 20 east of Bend.

According to police, the alleged drunk driver, Shawn Seagraves Hall of Redmond, was going at a high rate of speed, passed a stop sign at Highway 20 and crashed into a ditch.

Severson and his friends were in the back seat, Nathan suffering a broken neck and badly injured spine, his friends also injured in the crash.

Severson spent 25 days in the ICU at St. Charles Bend, his family by his side. He tells NewsChannel 21 he’s thankful he was wearing his seat belt.

Severson says he had only met Hall a few times while hanging out with his group of friends. Since the crash, the driver hasn’t spoken to Nathan or his family.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said his office has asked a grand jury to indict Hall for the crash.

Hall has been convicted of a DUII before.

“This case is a strong case, from the state perspective,” Hummel said, “because we have witnesses who were in the car. We have the passengers who were along the journey, so they can describe the driving patterns, they can describe the crash at the end, they can describe the evidence of drinking that they observed, and we have medical evidence. So we have a lot of evidence, and we’ll present them all” to the grand jury.

The support for Nathan has grown on Facebook, with 700 people following his journey since the crash, sharing their stories and giving the family faith in the difficult times.

The special message has been helping Severson get through his day and providing encouragement which pushes him to the limit — never losing faith and staying positive, no matter what unexpected path life is taking him.

If you would like to help Nathan purchase gear to help with his physical therapy, you can donate at his GoFundme page.

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