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They had been married just 4 days when a motorcycle crash nearly took this man’s life

Idaho Falls

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Colton and Devarae wedding photo | Colton Hanning

IDAHO FALLS — When Colton Hanning and Davarae Saxton got married on July 13, they were planning on saving their money for a honeymoon this fall. Those plans came to a screeching halt just four days later when Colton was involved in a crash that nearly took his life.

It had been a normal day at the Ririe Grain & Feed Co-Op, where Colton works, as he got on his motorcycle to ride to his Ucon home July 17. As he approached the intersection of County Line Road and U.S. Highway 26 by Maverik, a teenage boy failed to yield to a stop sign and hit Colton.

The impact pinned Colton underneath the truck, knocking him unconscious.

“It was terrifying. When I got the phone call, I thought that Colton had died,” Devarae recalls.

Paramedics arrived and quickly discovered Colton’s left leg was severely broken. The clutch lever from the motorcycle’s handle bars had impaled his abdomen and lodged in his stomach.

It wasn’t until arriving at the hospital that Devarae and the rest of the family learned the extent of the damage.

“He broke his femur, and I believe there was a fracture in his lower femur as well,” says Devarae. “Something went through his knee cap and shattered the cartilage that held the femur to the knee.”

Colton’s x-rays | Devarae Saxton

Doctors put 15 stitches in his abdomen where the clutch had penetrated his stomach. They then began a painstaking operation to put Colton’s knee back together. Cody Saxton, Devarae’s father, says everything from his hip to his ankle was reconstructed during a six-hour surgery.

“The bottom portion of his knee cap was destroyed,” Saxton says. “They went in and removed all the bone fragments, severed the tendon along his knee and smoothed out his knee cap.”

All the tendons around his knee were then re-attached and they put it all back together.

“It was pretty remarkable what they did,” says Saxton.

A week after the surgery, Colton continues his recovery in a hospital bed at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. While his leg is being held together by pins and rods, he is still dealing with a side effect of the accident.

“He’s suffering from a major concussion, and that’s why we’re still here at the hospital. The back of his head was pretty bruised and pretty swollen,” says Devarae. “Every time he sits up, he gets light-headed and really dizzy and nauseous and passes out. He gets headaches and they said it’s going to be weeks before that will improve.”

Colton is grateful he chose to wear a helmet that day. It’s a decision that doctors say saved his life.

“You read all the stories about people not wearing their helmets, and you always say that you’re a good rider and a safe rider. Then before you know it, it’s you on the other side of that.”

Homebound and bed-ridden, Colton faces a long road of recovery and an uncertain future. He won’t be able to work for the next year, and doctors say it’s going to be 6 to 10 weeks before Colton can even move his leg. Beyond that, it will be another three to five years of physical therapy and his leg may never be the same.

“He’ll probably have arthritis in his knee for the rest of his life. He’ll have permanent nerve pain from the accident. They’re hoping he’ll (eventually) be able to run and walk, but it’s going to be very painful,” says Devarae.

Devarae is working currently but Colton’s condition requires constant attention and that makes paying the bills a challenge. For now, they’re grateful to the doctors who performed the surgery and for the support of his employers and the community. They remain hopeful he will make a full recovery, and Saxton says if anyone can do it, Colton can.

“The strength of those two is beyond anything I’ve ever seen,” Saxton says. “It’s phasing them but you wouldn’t know it by their attitude. They’re still a happy-go-lucky young married couple with the world ahead of them.”

A GoFundMe account was created on the couple’s behalf to help with immediate needs. If you’d like to donate, click here.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.