I remember waving for people to stop. It seemed like the cars just kept going by. —Austin Warden
PROVO — Austin Warden knows he is lucky to be alive.
The Provo man was nearly killed in a car crash three months ago. Then after he was ejected in that crash, he was run over twice while lying on the freeway.
"I don't know how I'm still alive from that," Warden said Monday.
Warden continues to slowly recover from the Dec. 17 accident and says he is thankful for all the support he's received from friends and family.
On that day, he was an unbuckled passenger in his girlfriend's car. They were headed north on I-15 when the car rolled near 400 South in Springville. Warden was ejected and was thrown from the northbound lanes of the freeway into the southbound lanes.
“I tried scooting myself off the road, but I couldn't,” Warden recalled. “That's when the semi came.”
He remembers getting hit by the semitrailer. He thinks he was sitting up.
"I remember waving for people to stop,” he said. “It seemed like the cars just kept going by."
Right after that, a car hit him as well.
“I just remember seeing a bumper flying by," he said.
Finally, a motorist spotted him and dragged him out of traffic. "I remember laying there, and a lady was covering me up," he said.
Warden woke up in a hospital bed about a week later.
“I was told that he was not going to make it, probably,” said Shelly DeWitt, Warden’s mother. "It was very scary."
Warden's girlfriend suffered a broken rib and some lacerations in the accident. She was treated in an emergency room and later released.
Recovery for Warden, however, wasn't as easy. It took a lot of work for doctors to put his battered body back together: a broken collarbone, broken leg and shattered pelvis had to be repaired in a series of surgeries. Warden said it took $50,000 worth of metal just to piece his pelvis back together.
But with no head or back injuries, he is now focused on walking again.
“I'll be down at least a year. I will walk maybe in six months, if I push it,” he said.6 comments on this story
The ordeal has also been tough on his 6-year-old daughter, Kamberley, who said she can't wait for her dad to heal so they can go to the park together.
Warden has no health insurance and his medical bills are mounting. His family is planning a fundraiser to help him.
"It's been tough, but we will make it through it,” DeWitt said.
As for wearing a seat belt, Warden said he will always buckle up in the future.