Came in a van; left in an ambulance
Friends and co-workers often joke that by attending Hayden Speedway races, my family and I are rednecks.
This weekend, I found out they might be right.
On Saturday night, my family and I sat in our usual spot, about 40 feet from the track on turn one. I was rooting for my favorite driver, when a stone about 5 inches long with a bit of weight was hurled from the track by one of the 16 cars racing.
It hit me in the chest.
I fell to the ground, not because of the force, but because the chair I tried to lean on when the air was knocked out of me couldn’t hold me up.
Although I didn’t see the rock coming, others said they did. I also didn’t see the rush of attention from those around me coming either.
Those of you who know me, know that I am not impressed by all the attention – well, at least not attention that comes from me getting hurt. I urged my wife to get up and stop making a big fuss about it.
I was fine.
Or so I thought.
Concerned onlookers called the ambulance, which is always on site to ensure racecar driver safety, to check me out. All seemed well, it didn’t appear there were any broken bones, and I was breathing normal. The paramedic urged me to contact them if anything changed with regards to how I felt.
I looked on.
From a spot about 20 feet further from the track.
Then I began to feel lightheaded. I informed my wife she should take me to the hospital just to make sure I was fine. I got in our van.
What happened next, I don’t remember because of this fact: I passed out.
I came to some time later with State patrolmen and Routt County Sheriff deputies at my side. I was sweating from every pore, and I was vomiting.
“I am fine, let me just walk it off, I am just hot,” I told them. They didn’t buy it and informed me that I wasn’t going anywhere. The ambulance arrived : again. They loaded me on the stretcher and were preparing to take me to the Steamboat Springs hospital.
Now, something you need to know about me, if you don’t already, is I’m a big supporter of shopping local in all things.
So my friends and family knew I was at least mentally all right when they heard that I requested to be sent to The Memorial Hospital in Craig, rather than the Yampa Valley Medical Clinic in Steamboat Springs, as they had first intended.
With that settled, I was strapped in and sent off to TMH.
About one mile outside Hayden, the ambulance driver proclaimed, “Deer!”
The ambulance hit a deer. It could not move any further. Another ambulance was dispatched so we could continue to TMH.
Wow! What a red neck. I came in a van. I left in an ambulance with lights a glaring. What a night!
I want to take this time to thank the Colorado State patrolmen, the Routt County Sheriff deputies and the bystanders who assisted me.
I want to thank all of the West Routt County ambulance crews who assisted in my transport, and especially Karen. I was uncomfortable, and I am sure I was complaining more than many patients, but she was trooper. She comforted me and cared for me through the scariest part of my life to date. She will never know how much I appreciated that. Thank you to the wonderful staff in the ER at TMH.
I want to thank Samantha Johnston who jumped in and took care of my kids. Big thanks to Drew Turner who drove my wife from Hayden to Craig. My deepest thanks to my kids who behaved so impressively while their mother and my wife took care of me.
And finally, and most importantly, thank you to Jamey, my beautiful wife. Thank you for worrying, thank you for caring, and thank you for just being there.
Just so you know that I am fine. All is well.
I would like to encourage the Hayden Speedway officials to evaluate the places in which they allow folks to watch the races at Hayden Speedway.
I personally will go and share my story with anyone I see sitting on turn one, and encourage them to move, but it is my hope that the track officials simply don’t allow them to be there.
Be safe, I know it would never happen to you, because by all means, I knew it wouldn’t happen to me.
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