Kearney man crosses major milestone after losing both legs in car crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Rodney Batesel returned Wednesday to his Kearney, Mo., home after spending 11 months in the University of Kansas Hospital and two different rehabilitation centers. Batesel lost both of his legs and was burned on 65 percent of his body during a fiery crash in April 2013 at I-35 and Choteau Trafficway.

"I've had 35 surgeries," Batesel said. "It hasn't been easy, but I remember that my father raised us to work hard and never quit.”

Batesel explained that he is surprised at what he has accomplished. Because he's a double-amputee, Batesel has had to learn several new skills to be able to do some things on his own.

"There were times when I would think that I couldn't do something. Then I tried it and accomplished it so I'm more willing to try more new things," he said.

Batesel said he is motivated by support from his friends, family and the love of his life Sandy. The two were married in the burn unit at the University of Kansas Hospital following the crash that left Batesel with no legs and severe burns.

"I'm the luckiest man alive," Batesel said.

He will come back for more skin treatments as his burns heal. He'll also return to get fitted for his prosthetic legs.

"I was 5-foot-10 before the crash and I'll be 5-foot-10 again," Batesel said smiling. 

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