In April 2005, most of the month consisted of 60-70 degree weather...that is until Saturday the 23rd. This is where the nice weather ended and my story begins...the story of one young, stupid, unlucky, 19 year old. My name is Ryan Moss, currently 21 going on 22. I Graduated from Brighton in 03'. At the time of my accident, I was 19, the great age where the young adult population thinks & feel that they are invincible. I am here to tell you that you aren't invincible by any means, no matter how old or young you may be.
I am happy to say, I am one of the few lucky people who have owned a SRT-4. I had a black 2005 SRT-4 with the "normal" bolt-ons & turbo kit. To say the least, it was quick. I purchased this car on December 29th, 2004...meaning this car was not even 4 months old when it was totaled. The day started out with overcast skies and had a couple scattered rain clouds. There was a warning in effect for freezing rain later that night. Since I bought the car, I treated it like I would a child. I was very partial to let people driving it, but for some reason, I did not feel like driving my car at all that day. I guess I should've listened to that "little voice". 3 of my friends and I planned to meet a few girls at an Applebee's restaurant, off of Milford Rd. & I-96, for a late lunch that afternoon...the last place that I can fully remember before my accident. The restaurant was about 15 minutes away from my friend Garrick's house, where we all met to car pool. My friend Adam and I rode in my car, in which I let/made him drive. Garrick and my other friend, Joe, took Joe's 98' GSX. While we were eating lunch, we all noticed a hostess checking me out. We finished our lunch and planned on heading back to Garrick's house which was in Brighton. I handed Adam my keys again, and told him I'd be out in a second...I stopped and talked/ flirted with the hostess a little. (Yes, I got her number!) Adam decided that he'd start my car but let me "show off" my car and let me drive out of the parking lot and back to Garrick's. I walked out the door and saw Adam buckled up in my passenger seat, so naturally I hopped into my driver seat. We proceeded to pull out of the parking lot onto the main road, which is the very last memory I had of that day.
Once on the main road, the entrance to the expressway is about 100 yards or so. Once we were on the expressway, a silver 2000 Camaro SS drove by in the left hand lane. This happened just as it started to sprinkle, and I mean it was barely doing that. I quickly caught up the Camaro with Joe and Garrick following behind. I noticed the very cute, young blonde in the passenger smiling...so I decided to give you a little more to smile about. I was in the center lane and the Camaro was in the left...I downshifted and decided to edge him on to a harmless run on the expressway...a race, to be technical. If you know anything about SRT-4s, you know they are COMPLETE torque monsters! When I downshifted, I decided to drop it into 3rd, rather than 4th. My wheels spun for about a second then caught traction. We immediately went from 70mph to a good 95+mph...and seeing that I was actually pulling on him, I decided to keep it going. A car was up ahead of me, so it was either quit or pass the car on the right; I went for the pass. Just as I passed the car, my car hydroplaned and I let off the gas which brought our speed back to the 70-75mph range. At that moment, my ass-end literally floated to the sideways, and we were sliding sideways down the expressway doing 70mph. We quickly caught a dry patch of pavement which sent us off the right side of the expressway down into a ditch...and sent the car airborne crashing through a young tree. This tree shoved the FMIC into the block and stalled the car out...no power steering or brakes. When the car landed, I somehow managed to turn the car to the left so it was parallel with the expressway. Because of the low profile tires, the tire blew and the rim dug into the ground...at the same exact time we crashed into a pile of brush. The combination of the 2 sent the car into a roll. When the car landed, it did not land flat on the roof but instead landed right on the driver's side A-pillar bringing the roof down to steering wheel level. Just as you might think, my face met the roof. For all of you who do not know me, I'm 6'5, so I literally "face planted" into it. The car rolled another 4.5 times, sliding about 30 or so yards on its roof. To say the least, Adam and I were lucky at this time because the car stopped in the middle of a "U" of trees. Adam opened his eyes to the amazement of what just happened and quickly looked over to me. He saw a vision that is said to be one of the worst things ever seen or imaginable...I was hanging lifeless from my seat, bleeding out of every orifice on my face, with the size of my head comparable to a NBA basketball. He crawled out of his window, which was still full shape, to check if the car was on fire and call 911. To his amazement, the car was not on fire and his feelings & emotions were overwhelmed with adrenaline and fulfilling his need to save my life.
Joe and Garrick came running to my car. Garrick tended to Adam and Joe jumped into my car to try tending to me. I was unconscious, so Joe cautiously awoke me. I apparently started twisting and moving around but with the sight of my injuries, Joe yelled at me to stop moving. I listened to him as if I was a toddler playing some sort of game. When the paramedics arrived, they immediately called for a Med-Flite. The firefighters and paramedics encountered the biggest decision...cutting the door apart to pull me out as safely as they could, or pull me out from the back window on the driver side. They decided to exit me through the rear due to time and the sustained injuries (the massive amount of blood loss being the biggest at the time). Within 5 minutes of take-off, the Med-Flite returned to the hospital to the weather that took a sudden turn for the worst, It was now showering a mixture of snow and freezing rain with large gusts of wind. The officers arrived to close all 3 lanes of the highway. The paramedics were nervously arguing if they were to transport me to the University of Michigan hospital that was about 20-30 minutes (normal driving) away or Beaumont Hospital that was approximately 40 minutes away. They decided to go with Beaumont because of the better trauma center the hospital had. Part of the decision to do so, was to stop at a class 3 (1 being the most extreme/best) trauma hospital on the way to start initial assessments to my injuries.
Joe finally found my cell phone at this time and told me mom where I was being transported, leaving out the decision to transport me to Beaumont afterwards. My mom knew that the Providence Hospital was not a serious hospital and expected that outcome of me. First, the doctors cut a tracheotomy into my throat to allow my to breath since my mouth (along with me eyes) were literally swollen shut to the point I was barely able to breath. After a couple CT scans, MRIs, and X-Rays, the doctors finally knew what they were dealing with. In all, I had collapsed my right lung, fractured my C5 &C6 (mid-lower neck) vertebrate and misplaced my C7(lower neck) vertebrate posterior by ~1/2 cm, and massively bruised my T-Spine (the part of the spine that starts at shoulder level & ends midway down your shoulder blade) as well. I had lost approximately 3.5-4 (~1/2 of my total blood in my body) pints of blood by this time and knew they had to go internally to stop the bleeding. The worst was just now being learned...I separated my upper jaw literally into 2 pieces (top-bottom), fractured both eye sockets, and separated my front 1/2 of my face away from the skull. I also pierced my upper sinus cavity as a result to the broken/smashed/misplaced facial structure. My mom arrived and kindly did what any mother would do, ask to see her son. They denied the request at first without any explanation knowing the way I looked and realizing her emotions weren't of a parent that knew the truth of what happened. After a lot of screaming, the doctor came out to my friends and family and explained all of my injuries. My mother's body literally went limp as a result of the doctor's sentence "There is not an expected outcome of his injuries that he will survive through the night". This compiled her heart because 9 months earlier, our family lost my father (her ex) to a work accident. Knowing I had to get to Beaumont very quickly, 5 State Troopers made the decision to lead the ambulance down the highway in a "flying-v" formation, clearing away traffic.
I arrived at the hospital with another pint loss of blood. Another pint or even less, I would be dead. I was rushed into surgery right away. I had undergone the first of 3, 8 hour facial reconstructive surgeries. Within the time of prepping me and stopping the bleeding, I lost another half pint of blood...the total being 5.5 pints (~2/3 total blood loss). Over the next 5.5 weeks I was in the hospital, I had 3 'L' plates surgically placed in my mid-face structure secured with 17 screws. I also had an egg shaped plate placed into my right eye socket. Because of the injuries sustained to my upper jaw, my mouth was wired shut for a total of 9.5 weeks. I wore a neck brace for a total of 12 straight weeks then had another month of wearing it whenever I was in a car. When I was first discharged from the hospital, I was walking with a cane, wearing an eye patch (I had major double vision in my right eye) and had to wear my neck brace. It was not fun being 19 and going shopping with your mother a month later having kids point at you and giggle/laugh or ask their parents why you were so "different". I hated myself and my actions at this point in life. I lost a total of 46 pounds within the 5.5 weeks I was admitted into the hospital. In total, I've undergone over $50,000 worth of dental work...18 root canals, 23 crowns, 1 extraction/implant, and a gum surgery where they literal had to slice my gums and pull them down to meet my teeth. A year later to the day, I was discharged again from Beaumont from the surgery I had that included 6 screws, 2 rods, and 1 lateral link. It was back to wearing the neck brace for another month. In November of 2005, I had an eye lid surgery that stopped my droopy upper eye lid on my right eye. I was back to wearing a patch for a week.
If thought the physical injuries were bad, they don't even add up to the mental ones. I had to have my mom dress me, shower me, wipe my behind after going to the bathroom, tying my shoes (I could not bend over because of the surgeries), give me my medication, hold my arm while walking to make sure I did not fall over, and most of all...drive me around and make the "rules" that I had once moved away & escaped from. I was helpless again...I felt like a toddler all over again. Add all of that to the fact you know your face looks substantially different...but you're too afraid to look and accept what your carelessness did. You can barely talk to the point people understand you because you jaw is wired shut. You pee the bed again from the side effects from the medication and having a total of 3 catheters in & out of you in 5.5 weeks. Not done? How about the loss of an estimated 4-6% of your brain? That sounds about right. All of this with the guilty conscience of stupidity, immaturity, and the thought of being invincible. All for what...to show off to a girl. Was it worth it? I'll answer that in a bit...
So you might be wondering what happened to Adam, if anything. He walked away with only 5 stitches and some embedded glass in his scalp. I thank the Lord everyday that is was me and not him. I started driving again in October of 2005 and am now just getting back to working again (February 2007). My day-to-day life is 99% the same as before but I do at time have hard time remembering certain words when talking. I also combine words at times (example: instead of yellow hummer...it came out yummer). My short term memory is quite bad and my multi-tasking skills are pretty much non-existent. I was currently 6 weeks away from graduating Pennsylvania Culinary Institute when I got into my accident and cannot go back and finish due to my neck injuries and the lack of multi-tasking skills. I'm still in a struggle with my (car) insurance company every week for what they are to pay or not. Luckily I do not have to pay any accident related medical expense for the rest of my life due to having coordinated medical insurance on my car insurance when I got into my accident. I am also yet to get back into any college/ university but am planning to start in the fall semester going towards one of 3 career possibilities at this time (nurse, elementary teacher, or liberal arts degree towards an HR job). So, do I regret everything?
There is a part of me that regrets my stupidity and my actions, yes, but everything that I have learned and come-to-be in the outcome of everything, never! I have matured more than anyone could deem possible and have really realized what the true meaning of life really is. I thank God everyday for sparing my life to the despair of my doctors, nurses, friends, and family to this day. I could go on and on about this story and go more in depth about what I've learned, but just know that life IS too short and is even more valuable...to not only you, but others around you. If any of this made you think, please keep racing and speeding to the track. The results of injury to yourself or others are not worth the small amount of adrenaline and excitement one gets lining up next to an opposing driver on the street. Just like anything and everything in life, there is a time and place.