In our Easter special, we highlight the touching story of Jon Wilhite, the sole survivor of the drunken driving crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two friends, who lives on to share their memory.
For California Angel fans, the month of April and baseball season may bring back painful memories of a tragic accident on April 9, 2009.
It’s been a long road to recovery for Jon Wilhite, former Cal State Fullerton baseball player involved in a car accident that killed three of his closest friends; Henry Pearson, an aspiring sports agent, Courtney Stewart, a student at Cal State Fullerton, and Nick Adenhart, who pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim just hours prior.
Wilhite was rushed to the UCI Medical Center where it was deemed that the crash left him internally decapitated. 95% of people who suffer internal decapitation die immediately.
Wilhite was in and out of consciousness for four weeks in the hospital until he slowly rehabilitated himself to where he is today.
“It’s good to be able to walk into a room and not have everyone look at you and go, ‘What happened to that guy?’- It’s good to be able to blend into a room and be able to walk- sort of normally.” – Jon Wilhite.
Wilhite says he feels so noticeable pain and is off all medication. His life is slowly turning back to normal, but his scars are a reminder of that fateful night in April.
“There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about what happened, or Henry, Courtney, and Nick.”– Wilhite.
To this day, Wilhite can’t bring himself to go near the crash site of Orange Thorpe and Lemon. He goes out of his way to avoid the exit on the freeway, but the memories of his best friends lives within him.
Wilhite still ca’t turn his neck, but he aspires to get back into baseball in some kind of capacity, whether it’s coaching or in the front office.
“It’s definitely tough and they are three great people, but I just do my best to try and honor them in every way I can. I try to live everyday like they would.”– Wilhite.