On April 10, 1999, Zad, his dad and his brother Micah were doing a roadside clean up with their Boy Scout Troop. It took a good part of the day. Later that day, they went to his dad’s job site in Reading, where his dad’s cell phone went missing.
On the way home from trying to find the phone, they were involved in a car accident in Polecat Hollow near the Buck where a lady side swiped them. The side swipe caused the airbag to deploy prematurely and knocking his dad out. They went head on into another vehicle and a guard rail.
The other vehicle was a dad and his two boys. They faired ok.
In their car, they were entombed. His dad was driving. Zad was in the front seat. His 11 year old brother Micah was in the back seat.
The engine was pretty much sitting in the center console at this point. He doesn’t remember much of the accident itself because him and Micah were sleeping. He remembers waking up after they came to a stop. When Zad woke up, everything was blurry because of the face lacerations. He couldn’t see much, like he was underwater in a pool.
At that moment, he didn’t know the condition of his dad and brother. Zad and his brother were flown out by helicopter, and the coroner was called for his dad. Zad found out later at the hospital that Micah and his dad were both killed.
The medics thought they had electronic activity on his brother at the crash scene, but when the doctor opened Micah up at the hospital, she realized that she couldn’t tell any of his organs from another. Micah had passed at the scene. Externally, he only sustained a goose egg to his head.
Zad went straight into surgery to repair the left side of his body – or what could be repaired at that time. He had to have surgery because his femur was broken, which is the largest bone in your body and the hardest to break. He cut his knee down to the patella (knee cap). He broke his wrist in three spots. He cracked and broke his arm. He broke a tooth and had two face lacerations.
He had a 12″ titanium plate with 9 screws put in his leg. He had several ligaments and tendons reattached in his knee. His arm hung in a sock from an IV pole for about 3 weeks. His arm was going to need to be spiral sliced, like a honey baked ham (as Zad says), to relieve the pressure from swelling and allow blood flow, or it needed to go down on its own within an hour. If neither happened, his hand was going to be amputated.
By the grace of God, the swelling went down within an hour on its own. Shortly after, he had a cast that went from his middle knuckles all the way to his arm pit.
He was in the ICU for a week. He was in the hospital for a month. And he was immobile for a year in a wheelchair.
He couldn’t attend the funeral since he was in the hospital, and the funeral was in West Virginia – the birth and resting place of both his dad and brother.