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Crash Course. Our Motorcycle Accident.

Updated on October 25, 2013

We Crashed During a Three Week Vacation.

We crashed after the 1st day.

We rode from Indiana to Eastern Ohio the first day, then right when we arrived in the Washington D.C. area,

we crashed.

Entering a busy intersection, our direction of traffic was the only green light.

An oncoming car, not in a turn lane, took advantage of the pause between light changes, and made an illegal left hand turn just as we eased into the intersection, unaware.

We were two-up on a Honda Goldwing. (As in this picture)

I was thrown from the bike when we were t-boned.

My husband hung on to the bike, was spun around, thrown onto a car that had been in the lane next to us before the wreck, thrown over that car landing onto the hood of another behind the first one.

Laying in the street unable to move my legs for the severe pain, I heard sirens, the call for emergency help was almost immediate - or so it seemed. I guess I was knocked unconscious for a few minutes. I remember hearing ladies saying, "I'm a nurse, and another saying, I'm a nurse." Then I heard one say, "I'm nurse one, you're nurse two." From there they started managing the wreck site until EMT's arrived.

I could hear my husband asking about me, so I knew he was conscious. I could also hear a person crying, "What have I done, what have I done? I'm so sorry."

Two ladies shouted, "I'm a nurse."

Then one said, "I'm nurse one, you're nurse two."

Triage began.

Smashed 4.8 miles from #1 Trauma Hospital
Smashed 4.8 miles from #1 Trauma Hospital


The 3 week vacation was our 30th wedding anniversary.

640 Miles

4.2 Miles

3 Miles

.8 Miles

We had a very detailed trip planner from AAA, little did we know mileage would play such a role in our "vacation."

We traveled 640. {About 380 the first day and the rest on June 16, 1997.)

We had the accident 3 miles from that day's destination;

0.8 miles from the firehouse;

and 4.2 miles from the best trauma hospital in the US in 1997, according to a national news magazine.

That paper in my hand.

AAA helped us plan the entire trip. (This was before GPS, MapQuest, Google Maps, etc. were so common.) Our first stop was Washington D.C. area, The next stop was a homeless mission in New York City, at the invitation from pastor friend, then to Portland, Maine to catch an overnight cruise to Nova Scotia where we would spend our anniversary on the 24th.

We were scheduled to spend a few weekdays with my friend. In fact, I just happened to have her phone number (along with all our emergency phone numbers) in my hand because we were stopping at the next gas station to call her for more detailed directions.

(We were Pastors of a church in Indiana. In addition to family members, we had board members and staff who wanted a report from us as we traveled.)

I remember yelling to everyone, "I dropped my phone list. I need my phone list." Finally someone retrieved the piece of paper with 15 or so phone numbers written on it. Because I had that list, I was able to call my friend we were visiting, once I got to the hospital, and let her know we were involved in an accident. I gave her the hospital information.

(A few days later, I had to call the Portland, Main cruise and cancel the tickets to Nova Scotia. And because I had that list, I managed to keep in touch with family, church leadership, and call the New York pastor to cancel our visit to the shelter.)

Once our friend received my call from the emergency room, she called her pastor and told him her friends had just had an accident. The pastor from Arlington, Virginia came to our bedside, immediately.

He came and prayed with my husband before his emergency surgery, and introduced his assistant pastor to me. This was an amazing blessing, because she became my ride to and from the hotel and hospital, the ride for family members from the airport and my "anything I need" friend. We're very close still 14 years later.

After being transported to the hospital, by two separate ambulances, a third ambulance arrived and hauled the driver of the car This person was in shock. My husband and I didn't see each other again for 48 hours. We never knew what happened to the car driver. The bike was totaled. My husbands wallet disappeared in the confusion and never showed up, so I spent our "vacation" cancelling credit cards and replacing contents of his wallet.

How's that for being hit in the wrong place at the wrong time, but being in the right place at the right time for such an emergency.

Most of our injuries are healed 14 years later. Memories of that incident are sweetened by the treasure of friends who stepped up to help us through this horrific trial.

Now that we do a full-time motorcycle ministry, we are with the pastor who prayed with us in the emergency room a few times a year. He rides a motorcycle and wears the same ministry patch we wear. God certainly brought us together and we're grateful. We met by "accident."


Be aware, motorcycles are everywhere

The location of our accident. - It seemed like a huge intersection at the time.

Driving East on US 50 through Fairfax Virginia headed to Washington DC for a few days of memorials and site seeing, we were t-boned, hit from about a 90 degree angle by a car running a red light. We were 2 up on a motorcycle.

A marker -
Chain Bridge Road and US Route 50, fairfax virginia
get directions

If you're going to have a wreck

... the best place to do it is 4.2 miles from the #1 trauma hospital in the USA!

3 weeks in hospital bed - needs some humor
3 weeks in hospital bed - needs some humor


... so many to list

We were both admitted to the hospital. I was on 48 hour observation, he was kept for 3 weeks. 1 in ICU, 1 in "Step-down" and 1 in what we all called a "real" room. I lived in the waiting room on each of these wards, as we were 650 miles from home.

I would have people come in and tell me I should go home and I'd have to re-train them, "I don't live here, I'm from Indiana."

Here is a list of the immediately treated injuries.


closed head injury (yes we had helmets on)

broken clavical,

shoulder broke in two places,

all ribs on left side,

ruptured spleen (this required immediate surgery and blood transfusions)

cuts and bruises throughout

drug induced coma for 6 days.

collapsed lungs


hips dislocated

closed head trauma,

deep tissue wound to left leg (smashed between car and bike)

facial lacerations with bloodied nose for 48 hours

The long term results of the injuries I'll be talking about further down this article.

We had wonderful care givers.
We had wonderful care givers.

Dislocated hips

... on the street the EMTs were guessing I had a broken femur

Once I was rolled into the Emergency Room it was determined (via mobile xRay) that my hips were dislocated. Still waiting for a Doctor to see me, I signed off on my husband's blood transfusions and immediate surgery to remove his spleen, while they were taking care of him they added a tube to open a collapsed lung, and another to drain fluid from it.

A portable X-Ray revealed my hips were dislocated. After the hospital administered morphine, the EMTs who brought me in took action. One stood at my head and one at my ankles. On a signal I missed, they each pulled - one from under my arms and one had my very painful ankles, I remember flinching and asking them to stop just before the tug to place my hips back into place. The long term results of them being out of place any length of time is ligament and blood vessel damage. I've been told the two EMTs were heros to perform this right away.

My husband had emergency surgery to remove his spleen, and I was wheeled in to see him 48 hours later in ICU. He was in a drug induced coma. When he woke he still had the feeding tube, so he couldn't communicate, and he was horribly confused about where he was and why.

He had no recollection of the wreck.

We both have lingering symptoms 14 years later, but are so grateful for our healing and the progress we've made with some of the best care-giving out there and some amazing prayer warriors keeping us lifted up in prayer.

Ever had a "life changing" incident like a wreck?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. In 2008 my husband and I were riding with friends in Big Bend National Park, also the first day of our vacation. I was on my own bike, and following him, when he got into deep gravel, and had to either lay the Ultra down, or be decapitated by a park sign. All I could do is scream No God! God was so awesome and had us at a place in this desolate park that just happened to have EMT's visiting and heard my screaming. They were truly God sent angels, and took care of him till we could transport him to the hospital 90 miles away. He suffered 4 broken ribs in the accident. I can't tell you what a horrible thing it was to see the person you love the most almost die.

      Through the tests conducted at the hospital, we also found that my husband has cardio vascular disease, and were sent to a cardiologist as soon as he was able. The doctors, nurses, and administration at the Big Bend Regional Hospital in Alpine Texas were absolutely wonderful and ministered to us in ways that they will never know.

      God makes all things work together for His glory.

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      WinWriter 5 years ago

      Oh my goodness, I got chills reading about your accident. Angel Blessings to you and upon your motorcycle ministry.

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      Graeme 5 years ago

      Beautiful story! I've never crashed before, but it's always a worry. A life threatening incident like this really puts life in perspective, helps you remember what is important. Glad to hear that you were both ok.

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      bikerministry 6 years ago

      @julieannbrady: Thank you for visiting. The crash was life-changing. I was between jobs, was to start a new one after vacation. I never took that job, my husband needed care for several months, then I became his secretary at the church where he was Pastor. Now we do this ministry full-time. Funny how things work out, but like yous pointed out - we're still here and we are so grateful for the healing. I remember being frightened on the back of his bike and praying for safety!! He's a great rider, I was just timid. Now that I ride my own I'm even more nervous on the back of his, because he doesn't prepare to stop like I do, or for that matter ride much like I do - so we don't ride together often.

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      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Oh my dear, I am so sorry to hear of your crash, but thankful that you are still alive. Honestly? I've had a Harley Sportster "fall" on me when the driver entered thick gravel and came to an abrupt stop. Thank God I never crashed -- always on the back seat -- I did pray to God the last times I was on the back of the bike -- behind my now ex. He has a tendency to day dream!!