The victim of a red light runner in 1996 has died. Andrew Evans, however, lived longer than many thought was possible and inspired people along the way.
One listen inside Sue Burgess' home Wednesday night and there's just silence -- no medical equipment running -- no television audio drowning out the machines. "We've passed death real close several times. He was so resilient that even on his bed this morning I said you're going to bounce back."
Andrew Evans, who was on a family trip, died at a Kansas City hospital at the age of 21.
"I've never watched someone die before -- especially my best friend," said Burgess, his grandmother who has been by his side as caretaker ever since the Christmas morning crash in 1996.
They were headed to church and 6-year-old Andrew, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was paralyzed when a red light runner smashed into them.
An airbag broke Andrew Evan's neck.
What Andrew Evans' body couldn't do -- his mind more than made up for it.
You could tell the perseverance during his early rehab work in Georgia in 1997.
You could see it in his eyes when he graduated from Millard South in 2009. "It feels great to prove them wrong," remarked Andrew that day when asked about his naysayers.
He was set to graduate from Creighton University next year -- studying to be a personal injury lawyer.
"He was my inspiration in life and he'll be my inspiration in the afterlife," said Roger Holthaus -- the attorney who fought Chrysler over the airbag deploying.
Strangers found inspiration too.
"I don't know what it was but he had a calling," said his grandmother. "He wasn't a priest but he sure was a goodwill maker. If I was chosen to do anything, I'm glad it was to hopefully extend his life or give him enough love to feel useful and wanted and he was."
Andrew Evans often pointed to a photo that was taken when he met Christopher Reeves -- aka Superman -- who had a similar injury.
Experts say the average lifespan after this injury is 10 years.
Andrew made it 16 years.
Visitation is set for Friday night from 5-7 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Millard, 5801 Oak Hills Drive. Rosary will be at 7pm.
Mass is scheduled for Saturday, 10am.