WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 19, 2013, 09:05 PM

A follow up story, 30 years later, about the "comeback kid"

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- A follow up story. Really!! A follow up story about a young man we first told you about "30" years ago.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- A follow up story. Really!! A follow up story about a young man we first told you about "30" years ago.

His name is Carter Evenson. And it was back in 1983, the 18-year old from Kindred was badly burned over most of his body, after his ultra-light got caught up in some power lines and burst into flames. His survival looked grim, hospitalized three months. Reporter Kevin Wallevand talked with Carter 30-years ago, and then again this week , as he gets ready for a "tri-athalon."

At the downtown YMCA, Carter Evenson, gets one more day of laps in. Preparing for an upcoming Tri-athalon in Bismarck. His first. The fact Carter has come this far is what makes his story so amazing. It was back in 1983, that Carter was flying an ultra-light near Kindred, it crashed into power-lines, caught fire. Months later, he would describe the accident.

Carter: "My clothes caught fire and so did the plane and so i managed to get out and i jumped 30 feet down and after i hit the ground the plane fell on top of me and i got pinned underneath it."

Carter was burned over 60-percent of his body. Few expected him to pull through. Very concerned even about his survival.

Dr. David Todd/WDAY Archive: "The late renowned burn surgeon Dr. Dave Todd of then St. Luke's Hospital in Fargo, saved his life."

"Just an incredible person, he really saved me."

Carter would endure months of recovery and rehab. Learning to walk again was tough.

We would meet up with him in 1984, months after the accident, as he was in physical therapy at St. Luke's. Long and often painful days that would be life changing.

Carter: "I went through stages of my rehab where i was angry for awhile at myself for what i was putting my family through, you were stuck in that position where either you did it or you didn't."

Today, Carter, besides his Tri-athalon training, teaches Tae Kwon Do to dozens of young people. He will be going for his 5th degree black belt. Amazingly, He got his first black belt just a year after his accident. A feet featured in a national magazine. What should have limited his life, instead has Carter, now 47, striving and determined to achieve monumental life goals.

Carter: "Unquestionably not to take any day for granted and it really changed my outlook on my time here, i try to make every day count."

Carter still maintains contact with those medical professionals who saved his life that day, including the family of Dr. Dave Todd, who often had Carter over for dinner.

Dave Todd/Son of Dr. Dave Todd: "My dad will always be remembered for being a great physician but his legacy will be the relationships he had with the patients and their families."

In a few days, Carter will run, swim and bike his tri-athalon. But what a race he has already run.

A survivor, who beat the odds and now celebrates life.

"I look back now and I am VERY grateful for all those people who helped me."

Carter's Tri-athalon is June 15th in Bismarck.