cycling utah August 1999

Bicyclists on the road to recovery

By Dave Iltis

Associate Editor

Brian Carlson and Cathy Vojta were married last month in a ceremony in front of LDS Hospital where Brian is in the midst of a long rehabilitation. They plan on renewing their vows next year in a big ceremony, a celebration of life.

Brian is looking good and is in good spirits, "Just being alive is a great thing." He is still weak but has progressed to the standing frame, a device that allows him to stand and bear weight on his right leg. His right elbow is out of its brace. "Despite all this, I am happy to be here," he said.

He has no recollections of the three weeks after the accident. "But the most amazing thing is the support and the people. It's touching the number of people who have called and written."

He is reflective on what happened, "knowing that you are that close to dying, you realize what is important. (It) isn't work, it isn't bike riding. Family is important."

Brian hopes some good will come of the crash in terms of awareness about drunk driving, "finally there will be a case that will be an example and the state will take a stand. The guy had 9 other DUI's, he shouldn't have been driving that day so that he could hit us, but he was."

Though he is not feeling angry, "he (Hudgens) changed a lot of people's lives that day. Brook's life may not be the same, Maikel spent time in the hospital, my life won't be the same, our families', Brook's husband's, Cathy's."

He'd really like to be home but has at least five more weeks before that's possible. Cathy Vojta, Brian's wife says, "His attitude is phenomenal, it astounds me." That attitude shows through in Brian's words, "My goal is to get on with my life. I've got way too many bikes to not ride anymore and I've got fish to catch."

Maikel Wise's recovery is going well. Other than back spasms caused by torn muscles, he feels fine. He's been out riding his mountain bike and hopes to get back on the road soon.

Brook Mickelson is recovering at home. She had surgery to stabilize her pelvis in order to give eight fractures a chance to heal. At this time it looks like she won't need more surgery. She's sleeping on a special air-mattress, and can move around on crutches. It'll be at least six weeks before her left leg will be able to bear weight. She tries to stay positive and reminds everyone that she would, "sure like to have people not lose attention on drunk driving. Please come to the hearing (Stephen Hudgens hearing is now on July 28th) and help keep awareness up."

Stephen Ray Hudgens, the driver of the truck that hit the three cyclists, is still in jail on $250,000 bail. He is currently charged with three felony counts of aggravated assault, four DUI counts, plus other charges. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 28 at the Davis County Courthouse. Brian, Brook, and Maikel plan on attending.

A benefit ride, "Cycle for Life", is planned for September 11 in Weber County; call Fran at (801)393-7265 for more information. Updates on the cyclists and the trial are posted on health.html

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