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ITD employee details road to recovery after surviving motorcycle crash with his wife

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On Oct. 25, Justin Schoolcraft and his wife, Davis, hopped on their motorcycle for a trip into Twin Falls just before 5 p.m.

They were traveling south on Fillmore Street on their red 2019 Harley Davidson Street Glide when a small white SUV heading north turned from the northbound lane toward a Chevron gas station and right into their path, hitting them head-on. Justin recounts the crash and how that day has forever changed their lives.

Motorcycle crash in Twin Falls

“The day started out really good. I had been out of town for work the entire week. That Friday morning I got up, it was late October the 25th. I decided it’s a gorgeous day, this may be my last chance to go for a nice ride on my bike so I told my wife let’s go for a ride. We turned on to the intersection of Poleline and Fillmore and headed south when we passed the Chevron and that’s when it happened.”

Lucky to be alive?

“When I was flying in the air, I said to myself ‘tuck your head, tuck your head’ because I was coming down head first out of the air. And to be honest with you, with how the impact happened and stuff, I am surprised to be standing here. I am really shocked I am not in a wheelchair. The way I came down on my head, my neck could have broken easily. And my wife, I can honestly say my wife wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t wearing a helmet. She was the type of person who never wore a helmet on a bike until she met me. I have always been pro helmet. I told her if you ride on my bike you wear a helmet.”

Recovery long and slow

“My wife’s injuries, her left leg, she was wearing high lace-up boots and it got pinned between the bike and car on impact, and when she came out of it, it literally yanked her leg out of the knee-high boot and it broke her ankle on both sides because it had to straighten out to go through the ankle slot. [On the right side] she broke her femur bone, split it, and she now has a metal plate in her leg. And her knee now will not fully straighten so it makes her leg shorter than the other which gives her problems walking, which will probably giver her problems for the rest of her life. And when she hit her head, she was coherent, but she ended up having a severe concussion She’s 32 years old and it messed her vision up so bad she has to wear bifocals for the rest of her life. She also ended up with a severe case of vertigo. We couldn’t drive anywhere, and when she was in her wheelchair, if anybody spun her too quick, everything would go crazy. But luckily that has regressed.”

“My injuries are a little more extensive physically. I can say 100% the helmet I was wearing saved my life, it separated but it’s a modular helmet, so it did its job. I didn’t get any head injuries, but my thumb from holding to the handlebar shattered the joint, and I was told it was one of the most severe injuries on a joint they [the surgeons] have ever seen. I am told I have about 15 years of use of this thumb before arthritis will set it and limit what I can do. When I tucked my head and came down, the easiest way I can describe it is my shoulder collapsed. I heard all the bones shatter and I felt my shoulder collapse to my side. And then my forearm shattered. When they put my arm and shoulder back together the next morning, they weren’t sure if I would come out with the use, or even have a hand. Luckily I came out of surgery with my hand. Then, either when my wife flew over my back, or when I hit the curb, I fractured my back in five places.”

Determined to ride again

“A bike is a huge part of our life. In fact I met her when I was out on my Harley. And we take all our vacation on it. We go for a week-long, two-week long vacations on the bike, and we had some heart-to-heart conversation at the hospital, and after that at my mom’s house when she was our nurse and caretaker, if we were going to ride again. And I think we were more traumatized at the thought we wouldn’t be able to ride again than the choice to ride again.”

Message to riders

“If you’re riding a bike you’ve got to be aware all the time, not just one or two vehicles around you but every vehicle around you because you can’t control what other individuals are going to do.”

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