What began this tragic story   Leave a comment

April 11, 2008 – my husband finished building the 1st regenerating power plant in a Southern Oregon lumber mill, a temporary position and was laid off.  April 16th, he had an interview at 2:30pm to get on permanently.  We were all really stressed out.  He left on our Ironhorse Custom motorcycle to go to the interview 8 miles away.  When he didn’t return by 5pm, I called his cell, and there was no answer, so I left a message.  At 5;45, my home phone rang and the caller ID said it was his cell.  I answered, and the voice on the other end said, “We have a man here in the ER with this cell phone.. is he your husband?  The number we called said ‘home’.”  I said, “Yes.”  The person on the other end then asked me if I would mind speaking with the neurologist on duty.  The neurologist said, “Your husband has been in a serious motorcycle accident.  He is unresponsive, and the only one of his pupils is reactive, indicating severe head trauma.  He probably will not make it.  Do you EVEN want me to operate?”  As I slid down the wall in my kitchen in shock, I said, “Keep him alive until I get there.”

My daughter and grandchildren were visiting, and it seemed like it took forever for us to even leave the house.  We finally got everyone loaded in the car, and she called her husband to meet us at the hospital where he was Life-Flighted to 45 miles away.  He met us in the parking lot, and took control of the kids, and the next thing I remember was entering the hospital Critical Care Unit.

When I got into his room.. he was moving quite a bit, which I later learned was called “posturing”.  He had an Intracranial Pressure Monitor in his head, and was on a ventilator.  From there it was a waiting game.  He had suffered what is called a Sling-Shot brain injury.  He didn’t have a scratch on him.  There was no police officer there to explain the situation – the details of the accident.  Apparently, they had already left, or had never even gone to the hospital.  We didn’t know why he had wrecked.  A nurse we were speaking to later that day mentioned something about him hitting a tree, and then covered her mouth, as if to indicate that she had spoken out of turn.

That evening we were sitting in the waiting room, me and my daughter, and we were approached around 8pm, by a lady who asked us if we were the family of the gentleman who had wrecked his motorcycle on Highway 199 earlier that day.  We said yes.  She asked me, “Are you his wife?”  I responded that I was, and she asked, “Then who was the hysterical blond woman at the scene?”  We never did find out who she was, the blond woman, and will never know.  The lady who approached us at the hospital, Dana, was the first person on the scene.  She relayed this information:   She had tried to use her cell, but couldn’t get a signal, and walked across the highway to a nearby house to use a land line to call 911, while her husband stayed with mine.  The people in the house ran down the hill to the scene as well, and the phone continued to have signal at the scene so that they could talk to the dispatcher while trying to take direction from them as to how to help him.  His breathing was labored, and 911 was giving them instructions to move him, to help him breathe.  Just then a retired paramedic who was traveling to a destination about a mile and a half up the road was passing by and stopped, preventing the people from making a fatal mistake under the direction of the dispatcher, by moving him.  He had hit a guy wire holding up a telephone pole on the side of the road, after skidding nearly 100 feet on the right side of the shoulder, trying to shoot for a driveway to avoid some road hazard and didn’t see it.  His head impacted the wire, and he was ejected from the bike, landing against a tree about 7″ in diameter.  She said she had come upon the scene from the opposite direction and saw it before the dust had even settled.  She said a black SUV was stopped several feet down the road, headed in the same direction as my husband was, and then it left.  We exchanged numbers, and she left us with her condolences, saying she would call us later to check on his progress.

The hospital said that the reason they had pressed “home” on his cell to contact me, was that his wallet and him had been separated somehow, and they couldn’t identify him any other way.  We found out later that it was because the police had confiscated it at the scene because they smelled beer on his breath.  His blood alcohol level was .074, and was determined by my “Bikers Against Motorcycle Manslaughter (BAMM)” attorney’s reconstructive analyst not to be a factor in the accident.  Josephine County Sheriff’s Department sent a letter to my house, before he died, indicating that they were intending on pursuing DUII charges, should he live.  BAC level for drunk driving in Oregon is .08.. however, the policy of the State of Oregon is that “.08 is NOT a magic number” and they could DUII anyone they found to be incapacitated, no matter what their BAC level was.

This was day one, of what I now refer to as “hell week”, and I go through it every year.

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Posted June 17, 2011 by Connected Threads in Personal Issues

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