Rolling Thunder member talks about crash

Rolling Thunder member talks about crash

BRISTOL, Tenn. - The last member of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle group injured in a May crash is finally home recovering.

The group that supports military veterans was heading back to the region after visiting the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. when the bikers hit some rough pavement, causing a chain reaction crash.

A helmet saved Earl Leonard's life on May 26, when several members of the Rolling Thunder group he was riding with crashed. "All I saw was the pavement coming at my face. I don't remember anything after that. I went down face first and I went totally unconscious," says Leonard.

Leonard tells News 5 the next thing he remembers is seeing EMTs standing over him and being rushed to the hospital. "I didn't really know how bad off I was. I knew I was pretty bad off, I knew I couldn't move," adds Leonard.

When Leonard found out just how bad the injures were, he was thankful. "I think definitely God was holding my hand that day," says Leonard.

The watch Leonard was wearing when he wrecked is in pieces and it shows just how hard he hit the pavement. "I sustained a fracture to the C-4 [vertebrae] and displacement at C-3 in my neck. We're looking at future surgery on that still. I have broken ribs on the front and the back," adds Leonard.

Leonard had other seriously injures -- his fingers are still bandaged up, allowing the skin to heal, and he'll wear a neck brace for at least 12 weeks.

He tells us the recovery has been long. "Days and days and days of therapy occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy," says Leonard.

He says this accident won't stop him from getting back on a bike. "I can't blame it on the motorcycle. I can't blame it on anything I did or anything was wrong with the motorcycle. It happened to be bad traffic and a bad highway scenario," says Leonard.

Now Leonard is still in physical therapy and having a hard time walking, but he tells us it's just a matter of time before he is completely healed up and riding a motorcycle again.

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