It was the last day of school of my sophomore year of high school, June 3, 1994. Everyone was so excited for our summer to finally begin. I was still on cloud nine from learning that I had finally made the varsity cheer leading squad for football in the fall. I had also just gotten a neck brace off from a car accident that my friend and I had gotten in on Memorial Day weekend. My friends and I were going out for the night to celebrate. There was a big party later in the night but we decided to go to Janesville for a little while to go to Riverside Park. Once we got down there we didn’t really know anyone so we took a few laps around the park. We eventually met up with a group of guys that one of my friends knew. They were on motorcycles and had asked if we wanted to go for a ride with them. My friends went with two of them. I didn’t have anyone that I knew to ride with so I just told my friends that I would hang back at the car and that they should go ahead. They went for a quick ride and then came back. They really had fun and wanted me to go too. That was when they came back with two other guys that and one was willing to take me for a ride. Little did I know that one ride would change my life forever.
I remember thinking that it was weird to be on a bike with someone who I had never met. I made sure to ask him to make sure that he didn’t mind taking me for a ride. I was worried that he may have a girlfriend and that she would be mad. I had a boyfriend but I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t mind because it was just a ride. We started out making our way down the winding road along the river. Every time we went over the speed bumps you could hear the gears of the motorcycle slow down and speed up again after going over them. I remember thinking that this was kind of fun.
We were going slow making our way to the entrance of the park. There were cars behind us that followed us out of the park.Once we got to the stop sign at the end of the park it became apparent that the people in the cars behind us weren’t happy with some of the guys we were with. The next thing I knew we took off very quickly down the road. Once I realized that we were being chased by the cars I told the guy I was riding with that I wanted to get off. We weren’t able to make the stoplight so we cut through a parking lot. I continued to ask to get off and we were weaving in and out of traffic. He told me to hang on and that it would all be over in a few minutes. I was hanging on so tight. I started to cry as I was getting more and more scared and just wanted off of the bike. We were going so fast and I knew I had no control over any of it. We came up to a stoplight and I saw the other two bikes with my friends on it turn to the left. We continued straight. The cars actually were after the two guys on the bikes that turned and not our two bikes that went straight.
This part of the story of the actual accident is from the small amount that I remember and from other people’s testimony. The two motorcycles ended up colliding with each other. I fell off and landed in the road. The driver landed in the ditch on the right side of the road and the other driver landed in the ditch on the other side of the road. One of the cars hit the bike and it is speculated that one of the cars swerved to miss me and it is possible that my left foot was ran over.The car then swerved into the ditch and ran over the guy I was riding with which killed him. The other driver was not run over but sustained severe injuries including a head injury but I do not know the full extent of his injuries. My foot was barely attached, I had road rash all over my left side, my nose was broke in two spots and my cheekbone. I also had a spot in my brain that was bleeding.
Thank goodness for the brain’s ability to go into shock mode so I do not remember everything about the actual accident or what this visually looked like. I hope that these memories never come back. I continue even today to get anxious whenever I hear the sound of a motorcycle like the kind I was on that night. The whole incident was so scary and terrifying.
Coming Up: Beginning to Recover