Robert Bills and his best friend Frankie Winters celebrated New Years Eve in a big way—on the Central Coast with friends.
They had much to be thankful for.
Winters beat cancer in 2017, and had just started a new job as a truck driver.
Bills was celebrating his third year as the superintendent of the T.W. Patterson building in Downtown Fresno.
The two, and Bills girlfriend, Wendy Peters, planned to return to Fresno Monday afternoon.
“The boys decided to jump inside the Razor and go for a drive one last time before we left the beach,” Peters said, via Skype Wednesday.
She didn’t think much of it.
Bills rides his motorcycle for fun.
“I knew he wouldn’t be reckless,” she says.
When the two didn’t return 45 minutes later, she began to worry.
When she heard sirens, she sent friends to look for the two.
“I asked one of the boys to jump in a Razor and go back there,” she says. “Five minutes later, he’s calling me telling me they’ve been in a wreck.”
A helicopter had already taken Bills.
Winters was still there, getting ready to be loaded into an ambulance.
“I said his name,” Peters says. “He said, ‘Wendy.’ He held out his hand and said, ‘I’m scared.’ I’m not sure if he went off the cliff, landed wrong, and when they both hit, they hit solid.”
The two had been strapped in and were wearing helmets.
Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the crash.
Bills was taken to a hospital in Santa Maria.
Winters was taken to San Luis Obispo.
His sister, Earline Huber, was home in Lemoore when Peters called her.
“We came down right away,” says Huber.
Doctors at the two hospitals have told Huber and Peters they don’t know if the two will walk again.
“He’s not able to move, he’s not able to sit up. He’s not able to eat. He’s not able to do anything,” Peters says about Bills.
Bills likes to ride his Harley Davidson on the weekends.
Winters likes to rope and ride horses.
“Right now, he has feeling from above the knees, but he can’t feel below the knees,” Huber says. “”The surgeon said it’s up to his strong willpower and God.
“This is just another hurdle we’re gonna get through as a family.”
“They’re positive. They’re both very stubborn. They have a tremendous amount of perseverance,” adds Peters.
Friends back in Fresno are already raising money to help the two in their recovery.
“We just love him so much and can’t imagine the pain he’s going through,” says Jessica Roush.
Her family owns the T.W. Patterson Building.
“The tenants are asking every hour just how he’s doing for an update. They can’t wait for him to get back here so they can go see him,” Roush says.
They began an online fundraiser Tuesday night.
They say Bills has dedicated to see the 100-year-old building restored to its glory days.
Now, it’s time to invest in his—and his friend’s—recovery.
“We just want to support him and his family and help him get through this, because he is incredible,” Roush says.
To donate, click here.