Act of Kindness Ends in Tragedy

Kevin and I met about a month ago and became immediate  friends. He definitely has this endearing personality that makes you like him instantly.

I had told Kevin that I needed to move the remainder of  my stuff from NY back to NC because I was selling my house after a separation.  The house was purchased right after I had my daughter in 2006, and since I was getting divorced, this was the last connection to my old life. I told Kevin about it and he immediately stepped up to the plate. He knew I couldn't do it by myself.  Kevin knew this was a sad and stressful thing for me but he just wanted to help me.  

We went to NY and we stayed for three days. I had so much to do and Kevin stayed by my side, helping with whatever I needed to get done.

We left to go back to NC on Labor Day around noon. On the road, we talked about his life and mine because, what else do you do in a car for 14 hours?  I got to know him and we got along so well. We were really having a fun trip.  He drove his 8-year-old Ford F150 with a borrowed trailer in tow.  Around 6 pm I took over driving. He manned the radio and I drove. We continued to talk, and despite how late it was, we were wide awake. He called his aunt around 12 to ask if we could stay there because it was closer to where I lived and we were getting tired.

About an hour before we arrived , the trailer started to weave.  Kevin yelled “Oh, no!" I panicked and slammed on the brakes, which made it worse. The trailer weight was too heavy  and I lost control of the truck. We slammed into the guard rail and flipped twice. We landed upside down and I looked over at Kevin. He was half way out the door. He said he was hurt and couldn’t breathe.  I finally unlocked the seat belt  and climbed out of the window.

When I got out, what I saw was so horrible. The guardrail  had impaled him. He was bleeding, and kept saying he was dying. A car stopped a few feet behind and I screamed to them to call EMS. It felt like forever as cars just drove by over the debris from the trailer.

Kevin laid there barely awake. I realized that his body was impaled on the guardrail and he couldn’t move. He was pinned. More people finally came and give me a rag to put pressure on his wound. I pulled Kevin down off the guard rail and held him till EMS got him out of the truck. They barely let me see him. He was flown to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.  

Kevin had emergency surgery to remove his spleen. He has six fractured ribs, a pneumothorax (his lung collapsed), his diaphragm shifted, his trachea was crushed, a kidney laceration and multiple  fractures in his back. He was placed on a ventilator to help him breathe and give his lungs time to recover.

Kevin's internal injuries were so severe that they didn't even examine his neck until he was stable. He will need another surgery there requires a plate to be placed in his rib cage so that his diaphragm doesn’t move. He may need back surgery but that’s too hard to determine right now. He DOES NOT have health insurance.

Kevin was about to start a new job when we got back and begin his life. He is now going to have a long road of recovery ahead of him and he’s only 29. This man who barely knew me went out of his way to help me and is now faced with this tragedy. He will need lots of rehab and support in the months to come. 

Thank you for anything you can do to help.
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Elizabeth Brooks-Anderson 
Waxhaw, NC

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