20 years after tragic accident, Brittany Cox proving she can live up to her motto “You Can”

Brittney and Richard Cox are ready to take part in the production "Oklahoma," at Eccles Theatre in Logan.

Brittany Cox continues to live after the model of her platform “You Can” that she used as Miss Wheelchair Utah in 2012.

Brittany Cox applies makeup in preparation of her performance in a Production of Oklahoma at the Ellen Eccles Theatre.

It’s been 20 years since she was involved in a head-on collision near 200 N. 1000 West in Logan. The incident killed her best friend, and seriously injured the driver. Brittany was in the back seat.

“The doctors didn’t think I would live more than five years after the accident,” she said. “Every now and then I run into one of the doctors that helped and they are surprised that I am doing as well as I am. I’ve surpassed anything the medical community thought was possible.”

“It was the 20th anniversary of the accident on Sept. 10,” Cox said from her dressing room at the Ellen Eccles Theatre. “Instead of visiting the grave of my best friend, like I do every year, I spent it in the Emergency Room because of an infection.”

Richard and Brittany Cox share a dressing room at The Ellen Eccles Theatre.

After being confined to a wheelchair at 16, who would have foecasted Cox’s accomplishments 20 years later.

Cox and her husband Richard have parts in the production of Oklahoma currently playing in the Ellen Eccles Theatre. She enjoys being in productions and the Cox’s try to do up to three plays a year, depending on health issues and whatever else they have going on in their lives.

After returning from a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Richard was asked by a friend to be in a play because they needed guys. After doing the play he caught the bug. He also got involved in music at the LDS Institute and that’s where Brittany fell in love with him.

“I had a huge crush on him and he was always helping me and taking me places,” she said. “Someone asked if we were a couple once and I wasn’t sure what to say. And that’s, I guess, when we became a couple.”

Brittany Cox exits her van after driving from Utah State University.

Since their marriage in 2011, they’ve been in a number of plays together. Richard has also music directed a few productions.

“Wheelchairs have been around for a long time,” Brittany said. “And there are some directors that have worked with me and know me and accept my chair”

Brittany has almost lived a magical life, considering she lost several organs and severed her spine as a result of the accident. She is in her final year at Utah State University’s social work program and is looking towards graduate school.

She has a van customized for people in a wheelchair. She can take her powered chair to the van, and using a remote, opens the door and lowers the ramp. Then she slides into the driver seat and away she goes.

If you see her behind the wheel of a van she looks like every other vehicle operator. Until, that is, she pulls up to a handicapped stall and let’s down the ramp. She has to find a stall that gives her enough room to use her ramp, which extends about a half a car length.

“Life has not been easy but it’s rewarding,” she said.

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  • Evan Hillman September 28, 2018 at 9:12 pm Reply

    After checking the original stories from the accident, I’m wondering which spelling of her name is correct – Brittney or Brittany?

  • Evan Hillman September 29, 2018 at 8:26 pm Reply

    Much improved – now almost half of the usages of her first name are spelled correctly!

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