SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- A San Antonio teen hit by an 18-wheeler and dragged by the vehicle nearly 40 feet down the road is talking only with KENS 5 about the accident and his recovery.
The morning of March 31, 17-year-old Cody Culp was walking to school and a friend offered him a ride to class. As he crossed the road, a semi-truck hit him and dragged his body down the road. Paramedics needed to pull him out from under the truck.
"It was really sad to see when we would tell him what happened. He would kind of freak out a little bit and like say, 'What do you mean I was hit by an 18-wheeler?'" said Mary Hudson, Cody's mother.
Cody has no memory of the accident but it is a day his mother cannot forget. She called him as he was walking to school.
"I don't know why but in particular, I said, 'I miss you. And I love you,'" Hudson explained. "He said, 'oh, I love you too mom. I miss you.' And I said, 'are you just saying that?' And he said 'no...Mom, I really do love you.'"
Hudson got the phone call from O'Connor High School staff about Cody's accident.
"I'm a nurse. And when I first got the call, I really wasn't sure if we were going to lose him or not. I thought if he did survive, that he was definitely going to have some neurological deficits," said Hudson.
But Cody escaped brain damage. He suffered broken bones and his skin was shredded in several places.
"They call it degloved. Where the skin and tissue completely ripped off. The first day he was in surgery for 12 hours. And then the next day, 10 hours," Hudson said.
The recovery began quickly for Cody. He wants to thank San Antonio, his classmates and school for supporting him.
"It feels really good that in such a large school and city, that so many people including strangers have stepped up to provide me and my family aid. Thank you. Everyday is a fight but I'm fighting through every one of them," said Cody.
Hudson said Cody got into a wheelchair for the first time this week and is now eating on his own. He also had a feeding tube. She said his speedy physical recovery is reflective of Cody's resilient spirit.
"He's like, 'I survived. I was hit by an 18-wheeler and I survived.' And I think he knows he's supposed to do something great. And that this is just a second chance for life. So, he said, 'Mom, I'm a fighter and I'm gonna make it,'" said Hudson.
Cody will be at University Hospital for several more weeks. He will undergo further treatments for skin grafting and will eventually, go into rehabilitation for his legs.
Cody's family is facing a mountain of medical bills. There are two funds set up under Cody's name if you would like to help. You can go to any Wells Fargo Bank and make donations in Cody's name.