Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Motorcycle Crash At The Front Gate

I heard him coming across the valley, then climbing the north side of Indiantree Hill.
          A Harley, straight pipes, loafing along.  I stopped in mid-stroll through our "New Orchard" and watched him approach, bandana fluttering as he hung back on the bars, soaking up the holiday weekend freedom.
          Our Amish neighbors, the Mast family, were walking the opposite direction, facing traffic, which at that moment was a rider unfortunately lost in the moment.
          The next sound was the shriek of asphalt tearing at a tire.  It brought me to full attention and the tire shrieked again as it slid across the neighbor's driveway apron.
          Bike and rider disappeared into the woods with a flat, unemotional "ker-chunk."
          The Mast family hadn't known which way to dart and watched, transfixed.
          Somewhere in the weeds, the bike hooked left, spit the rider off and each flipped a couple times.  Luckily their paths diverged.  It's bad enough being spit off a 700-pound bike.  It's worse if the bike's chasing you as it rolls.
          I dialed 911 as I ran, knowing he would need help.
          Turns out, he's either THE or one of the, luckiest individuals in Amish Country this Memorial Day weekend.  He was motionless for perhaps 45 seconds, then began thrashing, rolling, groaning and muttering to regain his footing.
          Blood streamed down his unhelmeted head and across his face as he grabbed Henry, grabbed a nearby tree branch, grabbed at his bike to stumble to his feet.  It didn't work.
          He absolutely refused to stay down but gravity and his head injuries prevailed the first dozen or so tries.  Paramedics (it was a Sunday, a holiday and they're volunteers) were on scene within 15 minutes and quickly checked him out.
          We found his papers, picked up the broken pieces of the bike, located his cellphone.  He wanted to call Dad. 
          I hope he introduced himself as, "Your son, Mr. Lucky."
          More than half an hour later, the EMS squad members finally talked him into the ambulance.  He popped back out. 
          The ambulance eventually left, only to return in another half hour.  This time he boarded and stayed.
          The Mast family resumed their hike home from church services.  Neighbors and gawkers faded from the scene.  A tow truck operator came by to slowly, thuddingly winch the wreckage from the woods.
          And 50 feet away, the Indian Tree silently continued its vigil over the hillside.
          It was a Memorial Day weekend with a different set of memories.
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