Brianna Wood: Three years after horrific crash, college student has bright new outlook on life

PENDLETON COUNTY, Ky. - Three years ago, Brianna Wood was just starting to write her great comeback story.

After a serious car crash, the college student spent months in therapy, relearning the most basic skills.

Today she's a new woman with a bright new outlook on life.

"I was in Maysville playing golf when I got that phone call," her mother remembers.

Nancy Wood is a public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Part of her job is promoting traffic safety.

It was Aug. 6, 2011, when Brianna's life changed.

"It was sunny a summer day," Nancy Wood says. "She was near home, about a mile away from home. Perfect conditions. There wasn't any rain or … "

But within moments that picture-perfect day turned dark and frightening.

A distracted driver crashed into the small car 18-year-old Brianna was driving on U.S. 27 in Pendleton County.

"Her best friend walked away from the crash and the driver who hit her also walked, but she was extracted and had to be AirCared to UC (Medical Center)," Brianna's mother remembers.

Brianna had severe head trauma, a broken jaw, fractured vertebrae and a broken collarbone.

She was hospitalized for three weeks after the accident.

And there were setbacks.

Just before being released, a cheerful Brianna talked to WCPO and joked that all she could think about was eating, even though her mouth was still wired shut.

VIDEO: Watch Brianna's interview from Aug. 26, 2011

"I've got so much food on my mind. Spaghetti and breadsticks. And pizza. And cereal. Chipotle. Frisch's. And it goes on and on. That's all I think about 50 percent of the day -  just food that I wanna eat," Brianna said while sitting outside Drake Center with her mother, grandmother and family friends

But four days after going home, she was suffering from brain bleed and had to be rushed to a hospital.

Now, 21-year-old Brianna lives a relatively normal life.

She has a job and goes to class, but she's not the same girl who went out for a drive on a sunny August day.

"Today I'm kinda grateful that it did happen because it changed my whole perspective on life," Brianna says.

"I was just all about me, me, me, and today I'm not. I'm much more thankful for life. Everyday's a great day - rain or shine."

"She's learning to live with her new normal," her mother says,  "and I am so proud."

Brianna says that she hopes to become an occupational therapist so she is able to help others overcome similar situations.

VIDEO: Watch Cierra Johnson's interview with Brianna Wood and her mother in the player above.

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