On Saturday, June 3rd, 1978, one week after the Indianapolis 500 I was looking forward to a well-deserved weekend off after my 2nd race as Director of Photography at IMS. I was up early and headed down to meet a couple of friends and head to a new motorcycle shop to look at some accessories for my latest ride, a recently purchased Honda Gold Wing.
On I-65 as I approached the West Street exit, I was suddenly “flying” through the air after being hit by a car travelling southbound on the Interstate at a high rate of speed. The “hit & run” driver never slowed down and as I rolled and tumbled , the cars behind me dodged me and when I stopped, I was conscious but realized my left leg and ankle were shattered.
I rolled to the median and before I stopped, a “Good Samaritan” who had witnessed my plight from the northbound lane was at my side almost instantly. He said he was a Doctor and to lie still until he checked me out. Upon removing my helmet, he recognized me from the track. We had been introduced at the race, as a friend of the Valvoline photographer and a photographer himself.
He was on his way to work at Methodist Hospital and was at my side when I arrived by ambulance. With the extensive leg damage the car did, the Doctor in charge felt the only way to proceed was amputation. The Doctor from the scene said he was familiar with me and felt he could save the leg due to new procedures he had studied at a recent seminar. He was given a 5% or less chance to save my leg. He did his magic and with several operations and lots of time in casts, the leg was miraculously saved by time of the 1979 Indy 500, I was able to walk on it again.
The Doctor would become the famous Racing Doctor, Dr. Terry Trammell, and I was his 1st “at scene” customer! He was not able to immediately take credit for the work for me because he was in his last few weeks as a Doctor in Resident. Thanks to him, I have my leg and while it is not pretty, it is still quite useful. Dr. Trammell went on to repair the limbs of IndyCar Drivers like Danny Ongais, AJ Foyt, Gordon Johncock and many more after their racing accidents and is still active with INDYCAR.