Kenworth vs. BMW - Guardian angels

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by HellSickle, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    First, I apologize for lack of pictures. I have not signed up for a new photo hosting service after photobucket resorted to extortion.

    On Monday, Sept 17 my wife (Paula/Prairierider) were coming back from a 4 day Colorado back roads fall color tour. This year was a memorial ride for our dear friend Graywolf. We were scattering some of his ashes at his favorite spots. We tried to do as much unpaved back roads as possible. Starting in Fort Collins, we went as far South as Lake City. On Monday, we had just come off Ute Pass onto highway 40 west of Hot Sulphur Springs. On the way into town we got behind a semi truck in a twisty canyon. He was going a bit slow in the canyon, so when we hit the 65mph zone on the other side of town we passed in a long passing zone. I discovered then that he must have been empty, because he was accelerating hard to make it harder to pass. Warning sign #1. Not far down the road Paula noticed that he was gaining on us on every straight section. Warning sign #2.

    At the end of one straight section was a high speed sweeping corner. Just around the corner a school bus was stopped with it's lights flashing and stop sign extended. It was coming from Granby. We stopped in a hurry, just in front of the bus (pointed towards us). Seconds later we heard the truck horn blaring and tires squealing. We were stopped side by side in our lane. I immediately gassed it, dumped the clutch and headed forward and to the left. We were talking on our headsets at the time. I heard Paula's bike rev for 1 second before I heard the sound of the impact. I was hearing everything she heard in her helmet. Looking in my mirror I saw Paula hit by the left front of the truck on the right side of her bike, and her being sent into the air. At the same time the truck was plowing right down the center of more than 250 feed of guard rail. Shattered timbers and dirt filled the air and I lost sight of her. Hearing her sobbing in my helmet still haunts me.

    EMTs and Nurses must have been stopped for the bus, as they were on Paula in seconds. It took 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. I got her helmet off, as her neck and back seemed fine. They cut off her jacket and pants. We all helped lift her onto a carrier that was then put on the gurney. I grabbed her tank bag and wallet, hopped on my bike and followed the ambulance to the Granby medical center.

    She was stable when I got there. She never lost consciousness. She had what appeared to be a broken right leg and a broken right upper arm. The medics thought that it might be a broken femur. The CT scanner was broken, so they couldn't do a good assessment for internal injuries. Given the unknown injuries, and the fact that she was a motorcyclist hit by a semi, it was an easy call for a helicopter ride.

    I headed back over Trail Ridge Road at 6pm. I texted my grown kids when I was in Granby and asked them to head to the hospital in Loveland. When I got to Estes Park I called my daughter on my helmet comm and she let me know that the two main injuries appeared to be a broken fibula and broken humerus. I started breathing a bit easier, but still had another hour to ride in the dark.

    After 3 nights in the hospital and one surgery, Paula has a plate and 8 screws in her arm. The humerus broke near the middle, so there shouldn't be an joint issues. The fibula isn't weight bearing but isn't displaced, so it should heal just fine. Paula is home and mobile. She is able to use her arm to type and lift anything that doesn't weigh more than a glass of water. It's simply amazing and we feel so blessed. She could have easily been killed, lost limbs, been paralyzed, or be a vegetable. It's a small miracle that no major joints were injured.

    We've selected an attorney through Law Tigers and have the expectation that we will be fully reimbursed for all expenses plus pain and suffering. Given that the guy could have also taken out a bus load of children, it's a given that his ass is cooked and he is facing serious charges and is now unemployed. It turns out he was the owner/operator of the trucking company that consisted of 2 (now 1) trucks. He had insurance through a reputable insurance company, so we don't expect that litigation will be required.

    We're taking things one day at a time right now. As the major injuries start to heal, other aches and pains are making themselves obvious. We are keeping journals of all medical and legal details. I'm not a guy with a lot of extra mass. I lost 7 pounds over the first week due to stress. I have a hard time discussing the incident, and will probably pursue some counseling. Seeing and hearing your wife tossed by a 60mph Kenworth is not something I would wish on anyone.

    Prior to the accident, Paula was essentially an agnostic. This is causing her to reexamine some of her beliefs. While it was a terrible situation, so many things lined up that made this much better than it might have been. I'm a big believer in guardian angels. This also made Paula very aware of how totally insignificant most things in life really are.

    One lesson that was driven home was to avoid being in front of an aggressive driver. If you see one in your mirrors, pull over, take a few deep breaths, and pray that he doesn't take out a bus full of children.
    #1
  2. PurpleTiger

    PurpleTiger Been here awhile

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    Wow...God bless your family!!!
    #2
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  3. nwbobber

    nwbobber Adventurer

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    Glad she's going to be OK. Glad also that you were able to get out of the way. Being a caregiver is not an easy job. Did they blood test the truck driver?
    #3
  4. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    No idea. We're going to try and drive over for the court date. It would also be a good excuse to go soak in the hot springs. Full witness statement and accident analysis won't be available until then. He did get an attorney.
    #4
  5. brando4905

    brando4905 Been here awhile

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    Man.....I rarely read this part of the forum, I guess fear of the truth. My wife and I just got back from a Colorado two up trip. She is a brand new rider, learning the right way with instruction from experts, not me, has her own baby GS. She’s not comfortable on her own yet. I’ve been pushing her to get comfortable. I’m wondering if I should just stop that after reading this.

    So sorry to hear of your wife’s pain and your haunting of the sound from your com system. Thank you for posting this reality. Man, it hits home for me.
    #5
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  6. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    I'm glad for both of you that she's healing well. I also hope you get made right through the lawyer.

    Now, are there any take away lessons you or you two could learn to better avoid the same outcome in a similar scenario?
    #6
  7. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    Takeaways:

    -Pull over and let aggressive drivers in front of you.
    -Plan an escape path when stopped and watch your mirrors.
    #7
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  8. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Hellsickle -
    A few thoughts:

    First this is amazing - I’m so glad you and your wife came through that as well as you did (and, as you said, that the truck didn’t go into the bus of kids!). Years ago, when we lived on the Alaskan tundra, while snowmachinig my wife broke through the ice on a stream - I was up ahead/just out of sight around a bend. We had comms on and I got just a taste of what you had - I heard a scream in my helmet and then cracking splashing rushing water. She was fine, but that first moment of sounds was terrifying.

    Second, the advice to never be in front of an enraged (or otherwise impaired!) driver is excellent. I worked in traffic safety ten years and this is a huge lesson to learn. Often we think it’s smart to pass that drunk or aggressive driver to “get away” from them, but the best way is to let them go first. Much easier to keep track of them and protect yourself with them in front of you.

    Third - I realize you are just posting facts as you know them, and that they seem totally in your favor, but think carefully before posting anything related anywhere. You say you’ve got an attorney - ask them. If I were in your place I’d consider deleting my posts in this thread even.

    Best wishes going forward and especially for a speedy and thorough recovery for your wife!
    josh
    #8
  9. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    Thanks. I did ask our attorney about posting on social media. Everything I've posted is pretty much what I put in the accident report. His primary concern was social media postings most often done by someone 18YO. Things like posing with a bong and a lot of party scenes. I'm 60YO, my wife is 55YO. My wife doesn't even drink, so that's never going to be an issue. When I've posted updates on FB, I'm careful to not overstate her recovery. It's clear that as the major injuries start to heal, others are beginning to surface. We won't be settling until she's +90% recovered. While she doesn't have major spinal injuries, her first visit to the chiropractor showed quite a bit of misalignment, so he's doing a complete reevaluation. In addition, we are maintaining a daily log to record her physical progress.

    My attorney thought the other side would have to be pretty incompetent to try and pin anything on us. We were doing the speed limit and stopped for the school bus. The truck might have been speeding (waiting to see witness reports of the driver behind the truck). Several other drivers were witness to the crash.
    #9
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  10. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    One of our friends in Granby works with the mother of one of the children who was on the bus. Through her, we've been able to contact the school to let them know she's alive and the prognosis looks favorable. The school has made counseling available to the children who were on the bus. The school asked for our address so that the children can send us something. Part of their therapy seems to have been making drawings. It sounds like we will have some new refrigerator art to make room for soon. :-)
    #10
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  11. IronButt70

    IronButt70 You don't have to be crazy to do this but it helps

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    Thankful that her injuries don’t seem to be physically life altering although the emotional part can sometimes be tough. Will send up a prayer for her and all your family. Did the truck hit the school bus?
    #11
  12. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    No, the bus was not hit. However, some of the kids saw the whole thing are it is likely that they will have some trauma to work thru.
    #12
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  13. IronButt70

    IronButt70 You don't have to be crazy to do this but it helps

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    Good to know. Depending on age, kids with proper counseling, usually get through these things. Knowing that they didn’t witness a fatal accident will help reassure them. At some point your wife may be able to visit with them so they can see that she is OK.
    #13
  14. Florida Lime

    Florida Lime Long timer

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    As stated and not often enough in Robbinsville, NC
    First, I'm glad things weren't more serious - being hit by a semi and being alive to tell the story is not that common. You have a very tough wife. :thumb

    Second - if you have pictures, and want to post them, you don't need a photo hosting site. You can download them straight from your phone or computer now.
    #14
  15. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    Very sorry to hear about this! Please pass on best wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery to Paula. Also glad to hear that she didn't have a bad broken leg. It seems like I see too many of those here.
    #15
  16. ozmoses

    ozmoses . Supporter

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    Just so I'm clear, did the semi lose his brakes or was he actually trying to run both of you down ??

    The school bus would have been collateral damage in that plan ?
    #16
  17. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    He left some long skid marks, so I would say his brakes were working. I'm sure the vehicle inspection will be performed prior to his court appearance.

    The bus stop was marked 300 yards earlier. The bus was just around a corner on a 65mph road. IMO, he was driving far too fast for the conditions. Our bikes could stop much faster than a huge truck. Being a local, you would think he should know that road very well. It was 4:30pm on a school day when all the buses were out dropping off kids.

    When I heard his horn and saw him in my mirror, I immediately reacted to try and escape toward the bus on the left. My wife heard the horn, but didn't have time to check her mirrors. She had just started to try and move to the right shoulder, assuming that the truck was going to be coming down the middle of our lane. One second later and she would have been directly in front of the truck, as he was also moving to the right.

    Not sure if the truck was totaled, but I'm sure the undercarriage is a mess. He was leaking out a lot of oil across the road.

    For a bad situation, so many things went right.

    upload_2018-9-26_14-9-16.png
    #17
  18. CycleKnut

    CycleKnut Adventurer

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    Recovery can be slow, and new injuries can surface as pain meds are decreased. My wife's mild / moderate TBI was undiagnosed for months after an accident due to masking by meds, and our preoccupation with other injuries. So glad this turned out without greater injuries.
    #18
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  19. avocadofarmer

    avocadofarmer Fruit Coot

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    Unreal. Glad to hear your wife came through ok.

    Just can't believe someone would drive a semi truck in that manner. Hope he gets nailed to the wall.
    #19
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  20. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    Happier times. The day before the accident.

    upload_2018-9-26_14-25-58.png

    Broken arm:
    upload_2018-9-26_14-26-54.png

    upload_2018-9-26_14-28-37.png

    Leg:
    upload_2018-9-26_14-27-29.png
    #20