Harrowing nightmare

A Connersville couple are recovering from multiple surgeries in a Florida hospital after they were both critically injured in a collision.

Kevin and Kim Harmeyer were on a celebratory birthday trip in Daytona, Fla. The couple, both motorcycle riding enthusiasts, were broadsided by another vehicle Nov. 15 as they were returning to Daytona from the Leesburg, Fla.

They had spent the day with family members and were on the way back to Daytona when the collision occurred, Kevin Harmeyer said from his hospital bed on Tuesday morning.

Kevin is a 1987 graduate of Connersville High School, and Kim graduated in 1989 from CHS. Kim is a branch manager of First Merchants Bank in Liberty, while Kevin owns K&K Excavating and Septic. The septic side is the former LB Brown Septic Service owned by Kim’s father, the late Larry Brown, also the former owner of Audree’s Dress Shop in Connersville and Liberty.

The saga unfolded when the Harmeyers flew to Orlando Nov. 12 to begin their vacation. They were staying in a rented condo in Daytona. While there, they rented a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Kim owns her own Harley at home, while Kevin owns a Honda Goldwing.

Kevin said they had spent the day with relatives in Leesburg and were heading back to their rented condo in Daytona when the unthinkable occurred.

“We left out that Wednesday morning (Nov. 15) and went over to visit my aunt and uncle who are staying in the Leesburg/Wildwood area,” Kevin recounts.

“We rode the motorcycle over there and just kind of made a day of it. I had never been over to their place. We went over and spent the afternoon with them. All this happened on the way back from their place that evening. Ironically, this happened the day before my wife’s birthday (Nov. 16).”

“Somebody pulled out in front of us,” Kevin said of a vehicle slamming into the Harley. “As far as what happened, it’s pretty vague, and neither one of us can remember a whole lot.”

The couple were loaded into ambulances, then each flown in separate medical helicopters to the Orlando Regional Health Center, a Level 1 trauma hospital specializing in critical care and emergency services.

Kevin explained that Kim arrived first, because her injury to her right leg was dire. Unfortunately, surgeons were forced to perform two surgeries on Kim, first amputating her leg below the knee. It was then decided a second surgery was necessary to amputate her leg above the knee to remove all the nerve endings and infection. “She’s doing phenomenal,” Kevin said. Kim’s clavicle and collar bone were also broken, and doctors are allowing that to heal without surgery.

“She’s very tough; my wife is very tough,” Kevin said of Kim.

“I do remember the ambulance ride from the scene,” Kevin said. “I don’t remember I must have whacked out for a while, and Kim doesn’t remember the ambulance ride or the air ride”

After arriving at the hospital, doctors assessed each situation, spoke to Kim, then on to Kevin.

“The doctor had talked to her, and he came over to me and said, ‘I’m the one taking care of your wife,’” Kevin remembers. “The first thing out of the gate was he told me that she was going to have to have an amputation from the knee down on the right side. He stood there and said, ‘there’s just no way of saving it, Kevin.’

“I guess the pavement, or something just ate the skin, ate everything up off her leg so badly that it couldn’t be salvaged. She was good with that, and it was kind of a hard pill to swallow.”

Kim was moved to a physical therapy unit at the hospital and plans are to continue rehab, monitor the condition of her leg and fit her with a prosthetic leg.

Meanwhile, Kevin did not lose any limbs, but his injuries were critical and numerous. Although his condition is stable and improved, he will require extensive physical therapy at the hospital. No timetables have been set for their release.

Surgeons performed five surgeries on Kevin since he arrived at the hospital. Among them include:

n The Ulna and Radius bones in his right arm between his elbow and wrist, were pinned in two places and was set in a cast;

n One of his toes on his right foot was pinned;

n His right Femur bone was crushed and pinned back together;

n His pelvis was crushed in four or five places. Surgeons were forced to perform two surgeries to repair the damage; and

n Kevin received a hip replacement on his right side. The ball and socket were shoved through the pelvis, shattering the hip, Kevin says.

Fortunately for both Kevin and Kim, although they were not wearing helmets at the time of the collision, neither incurred any head trauma, although Kim did receive some staples on her scalp to close some cuts.

“The bottom line is, that was the first thing my wife and I said to one another, we can work through all this,” Kevin said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but the main thing is we’re alive and neither one of us had any head trauma.”

Although both were being treated at the same hospital, neither were housed in the same room.

“She comes down in the wheelchair and sees me at least once every day,” Kevin said of Kim, who was moved to the therapy floor of the hospital five days ago. “She’s more mobile than me right now, is what I’m saying.”

The outpouring of concern for the couple has stretched 1,000 miles, and the couple’s children, Karl and Krista, have both visited Orlando, along with Kevin’s parents, Gerald “Gus” and Janet Harmeyer.

In addition, a group of the Eagle Riders, a Connersville motorcycle riding enthusiasts group, which Kevin and Kim are active members, made the trek to Florida and spent the weekend with the couple at the hospital.

“It’s been phenomenal, the people who have come to visit me,” Kevin said. “They’re friends, but we all call each other family.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the couple of expenses while recovering in Florida. So far, $ 6,560 has been raised of a $ 10,000 goal. Go to www.gofundme.com/4pgcz5-recovery-fund-for-the-harmeyers.

Or, donors can make a cash or check donation through First Merchants Bank in Liberty or Connersville.

TO DONATE

A GoFundMe page has been established to help Kevin and Kim Harmeyer with expenses while recovering from a vehicle collision in Florida. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/4pgcz5-recovery-fund-for-the-harmeyers.

Or, donors can make a cash or check donation through First Merchants Bank in Liberty or Connersville.

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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