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Teen graduates after surviving crash into I-17 guardrail

Jett Weinstein lost his leg after a deadly guardrail crash on I-17 in February. He walked to receive his diploma Thursday, with his two-day-old prosthetic.

PHOENIX — One of the 650 graduates of Mountain Ridge High School Thursday celebrated more than just receiving his diploma, but walking publicly for the first time since a deadly guardrail crash. 

Jett Weinstein has been recovering for months from the February crash on the I-17. Doctors at the time told Weinstein’s family he had a low chance of survival. Ultimately, Weinstein lost his right leg. 

The prosthetic Weinstein is now using he received just two days ago, but he planned to walk to receive his diploma long before that. 

“Just to show that I could push through this and have my strength and perseverance, you know, and show that I will be okay,” Weinstein said. 

It was near milepost 259 on I-17 near Cordes Junction in early February when Weinstein and his friend, Jaxson Elliot crashed into a guardrail with a controversial history. Elliot was killed in the crash. Weinstein went through surgeries and weeks in the hospital to recover enough to go home. 

RELATED: Guardrail ‘becomes a knife or a missile into the vehicle’ when struck, attorney says. Over 4,000 of them line Arizona roadways.

“No one really expected it after, like, the incident that happened, but he’s a strong kid, and coming out here and gonna walk across that stage is pretty cool,” Weinstein’s best friend Ryland Sands said. 

Sands stood on stage with Weinstein as he walked with a walker to receive his diploma. 

“Putting in everything that he’s overcome and all of the speed bumps and the journey and I’m honestly just mind blown and I’m so proud of him and so amazed by his strength and his will to fight every day,” Candice Mishler, Weinstein’s mother, said. 

On his recovery, Weinstein was grateful for his family and friends who have supported him along the way.

“He has the heart and he’s able to do anything he can put his mind to,” friend Cole Christopherson said. 

After graduation, Weinstein plans to go into business and DJ while working to continue his recovery. 

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