A motorcyclist involved in a hit-and-run accident was left lying in the road and might have died there if the off-duty assistant police chief hadn't found him.
- How are you feeling?
- Better. I've got some medication going, and they got some pain going away. I'm getting better. They're trying to fight an infection in my leg right now, so it's not quite clear on how much leg I will actually get to have after all of it.
- Sam, how are you processing everything that's happened to you? I mean, this crash, losing a leg, these are major life changes. You seem calm, and I'm glad you can talk to us. How are you processing everything?
- I just-- you know, it's not exactly-- it's just a lot of fear of unknown, I guess. As far as the accident goes, it's just I hope they find this guy, because he has no care for life, no care at all. And if they can find him, that would be very good for [INAUDIBLE] and every other street, I believe, you know?
As far as driving a motorcycle, I don't think that's going to be in my future, simply, because it's a lucky machine. So I feel very grateful to be here. There were so many people there to help me that night, and I heard them all.
I heard them all, telling me to stay awake and that they were there for me. I was very, very happy about that. This whole hospital has been just an inspiration, so I don't think it's been so much that I've been strong enough. I think everyone else has made me stronger.
- You know, how long had you been riding your motorcycle? You've been riding for years.
- A few years, but I got my license. And I had practiced riding, and I have a lot of riding buddies that I meet up with every once in a while. And that night, particularly, I was just taking a battery charger to a friend of mine for his motorcycle. We wasn't planning on riding or anything. But it was just maybe a seven minute ride down the road to have fun on the bike, and help a friend out, and go back home for the night.
- And you haven't been home ever since then? Tell me what happened, Sam. You're riding. You know, just take me through what happened.
- So as I leave out of my neighborhood, I have a brand new-- [INAUDIBLE] had made Bailey a brand new, like, four lane road. So I had two lanes in the direction I was going, and as I was coming to the last intersection to a friend's house, I noticed there was a truck in the turning lane. And I was quite a ways from it, so I blinked my lights to make sure that they knew. Because I still had a green light, and the green light on that road, it lasted a while.
So I had ample amount of time to let that vehicle know that was there, that truck, to know that I was coming to that intersection, and I wasn't stopping, that I had the green light. And I knew this. So as I got closer, I can notice him inching, like he was getting impatient.
So I started running my engine, and flipping my lights more, and then I remember myself saying, please don't pull out. And he did. When he did, I could see the side of his truck. It was definitely a white King Ranch style truck. I'm not for certain on the dually tires or single rear axle tires, but--
- OK, I can see you again.
- All right.
- You said you we're for sure-- you said you weren't for sure on the tires.
- I wasn't for sure on the tires, but then I had my rear brakes on my right leg. So I had them mashed enough to where I could start hearing them squeal, and I laid sideways. And had he had moved sooner, I wouldn't have had to do that or anything. But I definitely came into his rear passenger tire, and I blacked out at that time.
I don't know what happened to my leg or how it happened, but then I remember a lot of voices and a lot of hands picking me up off the road. It was an off duty officer that I can hear him. He put a tourniquet on me, a very painful tourniquet, but he did the job. And he saved my life. If you wouldn't have showed up, I would have laid there and died.
Everybody that was there that night, I want to thank them for picking me up, I remember asking them about the truck, if that truck had stopped, and they said, what truck? I said, there's a big, white truck. Did he stop? And they said, no, no, he didn't. He's nowhere around.
- And Sam, I want to understand, so you were approaching a light. Were you going to be making a right or a left across the lanes?
- I was going to go straight.
- And from my direction, he was turning left. He was making a left hand turn from--
- So you could see the front of the truck. You were across the street. Could you see the driver at all?
- It was very dark already, and there was no chance of me seeing inside the passenger window, inside the window.
- So when you were at the light, the light wasn't green yet?
- The light was green for me, [INAUDIBLE], and he was already sitting there at that turning lane for him.
- So if the light was green for you, had you stopped or no?
- I was not stopping, because it was green.
- Gotcha, OK, so you could see he was still pulling out?
- Yes, I can see him budging more and more, getting impatient, and that's what made me want to start flipping my lights and running my engine. But all that--
- Had you stopped, or were you still driving?
- I was still driving.
- Or coasting at that point, but the speed limit is 45. And by the time I got to the light to decide that he was-- when I realized he was going to go, I was hitting my brakes into a slide. And then I was way too close to him and whatever had happened into the rear of his tire. At that time, I don't know.
- Do you feel like you were intentionally hit? It appears that it should have been so easy for him to just hit his brakes and just wait for you to finish crossing.
- Right. I don't think it was intentional. I think it was someone that had no care for life, probably under the influence in a hurry for some reason. There is [INAUDIBLE] that we had gotten from-- the road that he turned on was 11:28, right?
And when he got to that next intersection, a cop had reported seeing him on a camera running that light and almost causing an accident there. And in my opinion, that wasn't just desperation. He knew he had done something wrong, and he was trying to get away.
- Wow, and then you're in the hospital. And when did you realize you were losing a leg?
- Probably day two. I mean, yeah, and my stroke, I didn't want that to get any worse. I don't know much about a stroke really, but I don't have any feeling in my left hand. My side of my face is tingling and my tongue, and I just-- I know I'm young. And I know I have a better chance, if I can get through this, and when they explained a lot of the surgeries to try to save my leg, I realized that probably wasn't the best way to go about it. You know, nowadays, the technology with prosthetics, they have a lot out there for them.
- Sam, kind of tell us more about what the officer Kevin Nichols did for you.
- That was his name?
- Yeah, I believe so, right? Or do you know his name?
- I don't know his name.
- I believe it was officer Kevin Nichols.
- He has been in touch with my father online, and he's been letting him know his step by step investigation on it.
- Well, I think the person is different that helped you on the scene.
- But that night, I could hear him. He was letting everyone know around him, you know, his capabilities, who he was, and I know it was him that put the tourniquet on my leg. And I know it was him that said, we need to move him off this road, and he was kind of upset with me that I removed my helmet. But I really wanted it off, and he told me. He said, you're a tough young man. Sick in there, and he really-- he was very inspirational. He's an angel.
- You know, what do you want him to know this evening? We're supposed to be talking to him later today. What do you want him to know? You know, he'll be watching this, too, I'm sure.
- Thank you. My family thanks you. Thank you so much, and I hope I get to hug you.
- Sam, what do you anticipate your life will be like going forward? Have you thought about that? I understand if you're not even there yet.
- I have been thinking. It's kind of funny. But I don't want to get more physical, more healthy, and just see where it goes. I mean, me and my wife understood that this is going to open many doors for us rather than hinder us.
We've been positive. My wife is so strong. She's such an amazing woman. We're three years into our marriage, and she's like my best friend.
- And what are your plans for this week? Surgery is coming up. Tell us what's coming up for you.
- A little unclear on when they may actually start to feel my leg, because we're fighting an infection. So hopefully, tonight or early tomorrow, they're going to tell us that maybe one or two more surgeries will be closing it up. We're just not sure if it's going to be below my knee or above my knee. We're hoping for below.
- That would [INAUDIBLE] a lot more things, like work.
- Is there anything else you wanted to share, Sam?
- We all have to think about other people when it comes to driving around. Don't drive for ourselves. Drive, like your daughter is following you, or your son is coming to the next intersection.
- Thank you for sharing that. I think that's a very important message, and thank you so much, Sam, for having the strength to talk to us right now. I know this is such a difficult time for you, but we hope to get this story out there.