Dale was put in a lower paying position at work. A pay cut of nearly $3/hour is really significant when you're trying to live on one income.
A few days later we began looking for other jobs - starting in Chico, Sacramento, even SF and LA and San Diego. We looked out of CA and on March 12 he was offered a position in North Dakota which he accepted.
On Wednesday the 14th, he worked his last day at his job here.
He was set to leave on Saturday the 17th and would report to his new employer on Monday the 19th.
On Friday the 16th, he took his motorcycle from the mechanic to get gas (and one last short ride before heading out to ND) and in less than a 4 mile trip, everything changed.
Because it's an "open" case - meaning we have not settled with the insurance and haven't seen the police report - I'm not going to go into too much detail. The facts are, as I understand them, that the two lanes of traffic headed in the same direction that Dale was going, had stopped to leave an open spot. Dale was getting into the left turn lane. A guy driving a Toyota Tundra decided to take the open spot in the lanes and did not see Dale, striking him fully head on with his pickup, essentially he T-boned the right side of Dale and his bike.
The bike is totaled. Dale has 4 broken bones in his right hand, a brake in his ulna and 2 hairline fractures in his right tibia. He also has a floating piece of bone in his right ankle - which may or may not be a result of the accident. If it isn't from the accident, it's a severely aggravated old injury. Regardless, he's in a lot of pain.
On Saturday the 17th he had surgery to pin two of the 4 broken bones in his hand, the other two couldn't be pinned because they were too close to the joint. Later that day we received the call that because he couldn't report to the new employer on the 19th, they couldn't hold the job for him.... so no new job. No old job. No motorcycle.
Everything we were working toward was gone, just like that, in a matter of seconds.
It is also our understanding, from what the police said at the time of the accident, that the driver of the truck has a suspended license, is on probation for DUI and has a "brethalizer" in the truck which requires a legal BAC to operate. From what I've learned, he was NOT intoxicated at the time of the accident, but his wife, a licensed driver, was the passenger and apparently was not driving because she had "a headache."
I don't want to spend any more of my time speculating as to what caused the driver to hit Dale. Dale said that when he looked at the guy seconds before impact, the guy was looking the other way. There's no way he saw Dale. All I know is that our lives have been turned completely upside down.
The other thing I know is that this could have been so much worse. Dale has some broken bones and he'll heal. His bike is totaled, but it looks like we're going to buy it back at salvage and he'll have a project to work on once he's healed. He's lost a job, but he'll find another.
Today is our 9th anniversary. Had he driven to North Dakota we wouldn't be spending this day together. Had the accident been worse, there's a chance we wouldn't be celebrating this day at all.
Here are some pictures.....When you look at these I want you to think. This accident was at low speeds, in nearly standing still traffic. Dale was not splitting lanes or riding crazy. He was on a VERY brightly colored bike, with an equally brightly colored helmet, and his headlight was on. This was an ACCIDENT. The other guy just didn't see him. Was the other guy negligent? Sure - he wasn't even supposed to be driving. Had it been raining that day, yes. But lots of people ride in a downpour, in this case, it was NOT raining. Regardless, a bike, when ridden smartly, carefully, is no less capable in rain than a car.
Before you jump to conclusions about people who ride, I want you to think. Most riders aren't out there being maniacs, sure there are some exceptions, there always are. Most of them are just like Dale, riding back from the gas station. And when it's motorcycle vs truck, or even a small car, the bike always, ALWAYS loses. I'm asking you to be aware. Look around you. Motorcyclists are not as easily seen as vehicles, even when brightly colored.
We are VERY lucky. Many are not. Take the extra seconds, slow down, be aware.
As angry as I am with the person who hit Dale, I cannot begin to imagine how he must feel knowing he seriously injured another person.... knowing he could have killed my husband.
Dale's bike before:
And here is the bike now. The first one was at the scene on Friday (the helmet is sitting on it), the others were taken today at the shop where the bike is currently sitting:
And Dale, in the ER on Friday:
I was allowed to take a pic of one of the xrays - this is of his hand. You can see the two bones in the palm where there are now pins. His middle finger is broken just above the knuckle at the palm and right below the knuckle in the palm.
Before surgery on Saturday:
Assorted shots of the injuries: