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Valley man back in the driver's seat after he was paralyzed in car crash

Marcos Castillo gets new car
Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 23:26:11-04

CHANDLER, AZ — Marcos Castillo is driving today, something he wasn't sure he'd ever do again.

Castillo was injured when he was just 18 in an auto accident nearly two decades ago, leaving him with no use of his legs and very limited use of his arms and hands.

Unable to drive but operating a car again wasn't out of the question, thanks to United Access in Chandler and his driving instructor from Driving to Independence.

"Sometimes you don't get picked up, sometimes you get picked up late, sometimes you're stranded somewhere and it always comes back to but if I had my own vehicle."

Now Castillo will have his own vehicle and everything in his new ride can be controlled either by his hands or his head. A head rest that lowers in from the ceiling and hand controls near the wheel will allow him to operate all functions from gas and brakes to steering and windows.

"He's a skilled driver so he cognitively knows the rules of the road, can handle the vehicle, can handle situations. It's just making sure he can drive from 25 miles an hour up to 70 which is freeway speeds," said Castillo's driving instructor Jill Sclease.

Castillo and his family had to raise nearly $14,000 and take out a loan to help pay for the vehicle. Along with completing about 20-30 hours of vehicle and driver testing. Castillo will still need to drive with his instructor for about another 20 hours before he'll be issued his Arizona drivers license.

Once complete, his goal is to drive his girlfriend and three kids to Yosemite National Park in the summer of 2020, a place Castillo says he's always wanted to road trip to.