"I think about the way my daughter was before, and my daughter actually died that day, and what God give me back, it tears you up sometimes," Mike Gaines said. "It really tears you up."
Michelle Gaines, the 26-year-old former Palestine homecoming queen and athlete, will never be the same.
"She sort of realizes all of that is gone now; she's gonna have to have someone with her most of the time to help remind her to take her medicine because she forgets to take her medicine," Mike said.
In 2006, a trailer-mounted oil rig hit Michelle. The truck was being transported from the Palestine area to Corpus Christi.
Court records show Benny Joe Adkinson's driver ran a stop sign and slammed into Michelle's car.
Michelle went into a coma for six months. When she woke up, she had brain damage.
Court records show Adkinson's driver was not licensed. A lawsuit states the truck, which had limited brakes, was purchased by and delivered to South Texas businessman Joseph Pritchett.
To top it all off, Michelle's attorney, Scott Clearman, said the rig's driver admitted, in court, to doing crack cocaine the night before crash.
"This rig skidded 100 yards before it hit Ms. Gaines; then it skidded 900 feet after it hit Ms. Gaines and it went straight up the hill," Clearman said.
The Gaines family filed a civil lawsuit against Adkinson for negligence because he put an unlicensed driver behind the wheel of the truck. The family also sued Pritchett he owned the rig and was also responsible for transporting it.
Clearman presented evidence in the trial of an alleged cover-up to distance Pritchett from the crash. He was seen as the one with deep pockets.
Clearman also said the rig mysteriously disappeared just before trial and there were a series of cash payments made to Adkinson from Pritchett. The total was nearly $100,000.
"And the judgment was in favor of Michelle Gaines," Clearman said.
The jury awarded Michelle $8 million, but that victory would be short-lived.
Pritchett appealed and the appellate court ruled in his favor. They said Clearman did not prove Pritchett was liable in the crash.
"I could not believe that the court, on a review process, did not look at the facts favorable to Michelle's case," Clearman said.
That put the Gaines back to square one: no judgment and $1 million in medical bills. Clearman is now trying to get the case heard by the Texas Supreme Court.
He said this is a reminder how Texas courts with tort reform have become so anti-plaintiff in civil cases.
"In this state, right now, you could be convicted of murder based on the same evidence that we used in this case to prove Michelle's case, but you can't get a civil judgment," he said.
Did I mention Adkinson and his driver were criminally charged in the crash? The criminal court ordered Adkinson to pay the Gaines $700,000 in restitution. At 80 years old, Mike said he's doing it in installments of $200 a month.
"That's another slap in the face," Mike said.
It's another slap in the face for a young woman who lost so much that day on the roads of Palestine.
Adkinson told FOX 26 he was guilty by association and did nothing wrong.
Pritchett's attorney said the court got it right: his client was not responsible or liable in the crash.