He was en route for a police training when he lost control of his cruiser along Interstate 75 and went over a 100-foot embankment.
Kentucky State Trooper Ethan Lewis was knocked unconscious from the crash for a couple of hours and it was only when he awakened and called for help that his vehicle was located.
That dire situation resulted in severe injuries to the native London trooper who was working from the Harlan Post at the time of his accident.
To assist his family with expenses while Lewis undergoes rehabilitation for his injuries, Wildcat Harley Davidson is hosting a fundraising event on Sunday.
Activities begin at 12 noon, with registration for riders and a chili dinner that includes a grilled cheese and bowl of chili, sweet snack and drink. The cost of the meal is on a donation basis.
Shannon Melton, sales manager for Wildcat Harley Davidson, said many of the local fire departments are making chili to donate to the fundraising event for Lewis’ family.
“We wanted to bring the first responders, the motorcycle community and the community as a whole together in one event,” he said. “Ethan is a family friend. He graduated from South Laurel High School, served in the Marines for four years, did two tours in Afghanistan and came back to work for the Sheriff’s Office. Then he got into the Kentucky State Police academy and just graduated from there in October of last year. He’s served his country and his community and we’re just hoping to give something back to him in a time when he needs it most.”
The medical air flight crew that initially took Lewis from the accident scene just outside London city limits to UK Medical Center for treatment is also planning to be on hand Sunday to assist in the fundraising effort.
“They are not working that day, so they’re planning to bring the helicopter, land it and stay around for the day to show their support,” he added.
Melton said the event is open to the public, as is the ride. Entry fee for the ride is $ 20 for single riders, $ 25 for doubles and includes the meal. Melton wants to encourage anyone with a motorcycle to participate in this event.
“A lot of times people who like to ride don’t come because they don’t have a Harley,” he said. “The ride is open to anyone who wants to participate. You don’t have to have a Harley.”
The riders will leave at 1 p.m. with an estimated return time of 3 p.m.
Those wishing to stay on hand at the London motorcycle dealership can enjoy performances by two local musical groups. Pistol Whip will take the stage at 1 p.m., followed by County Wide at 2 p.m.
A live auction will kick off at 3 p.m. and will offer items such as a pontoon rental at Holly Bay, a whiskey barrel, and handmade crafts, to name a few.
“We have a disabled veteran who has donated some woodworking items,” Melton added. “Many of the businesses in town are donating items for the auction.”
In fact, the North Main Kroger store is donating the bread items, while Dairy Queen is donating the cheese for the grilled cheese sandwiches. Flowers Bakery is donating items for the sweet snacks, although Melton did not know what particular items would be the dessert offerings for the fundraising event.
What he does know is that the Lewis is facing months of rehabilitation.
“He had actually been sent from U.K. (medical center) to Cardinal Hill, but he had some setbacks and he’s currently back at U.K.,” Melton explained. “I believe he’s listed in stable condition now, but he will still have to go back to Cardinal Hill for rehabilitation.”
Besides his own physical challenges, Lewis also has a wife Miranda and three-year-old daughter with financial needs that he is now incapable of providing. In addition, the couple is expecting their second child in March – which leaves another need for the family.
“It’s amazing, seeing the out pour of support by the community,” he said. “We’re hoping we have a big crowd to come out and support Ethan and his family because they’ve got a long road ahead of them.”