Mr. Cull, who was at the wheel and says he does not remember the accident, ran off the road, could not correct and crashed head-on into a culvert. The air bags did not deploy and an analysis of black box data later showed that the ignition had moved into the "off" position, their lawyer, Mike Andrews, said.
Mr. Cull suffered a head injury and fractured vertebrae and lost his right eye. Ms. Zollman is still undergoing facial reconstruction surgeries — she has had eight so far. They have not been able to work since the accident, and their relationship has ended.
Jacqueline Gilbert was 25 when she lost control of her Cobalt on a highway near Shippensburg, Pa., in May 2012 and ran into a pole. Doctors diagnosed a traumatic brain injury, along with broken bones. She was in a coma for several weeks.
Ms. Gilbert had been pursuing her second bachelor's degree, in psychology, but after the accident she needed intensive daily therapy to practice speaking, walking, assembling simple puzzles and making grocery lists. "I had to train my brain to do basic things again," she said.
She has since managed to finish her degree and has recently begun working at the very rehabilitation center in Philadelphia where she recovered. But, she said, "Two years later, I've gotten faster at remembering and putting things together, but I'm nowhere near functioning at a complete pace."
While Ms. Gilbert is working to get her life plans back on track, Jesse Fortner has had to put his plans of becoming a Marine aside. On an April night two years ago in Greenfield, Tenn., Mr. Fortner's Cobalt suddenly stopped working as he drove home from grabbing food at a Sonic Drive-In. "I lost everything — brakes, steering, everything just cut off," Mr. Fortner, now 21, said. "I just remember the sounds of tires and glass breaking."
The last thing he can recall of the crash, he says, is his car smacking into an embankment before it began to roll over and over, finally resting in a ditch, wheels in the air. His air bag did not deploy. Later, in a hospital, a doctor told him he would never walk again.