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Friends rally to help Louisa man who survives serious accident
Date published: 8/5/2012
Joe Aiken doesn't remember much about the evening of May 16, and it's probably just as well.
The 28-year-old bridge painter was heading north on U.S. 29 to a new job site. He had stopped at a red light in front of Lord Fairfax College near Warrenton, right behind his supervisor's work truck.
"I remember sitting at a red light. I heard tires lock up and it went black for a while," recalled Aiken, who lives in Louisa County with his fiancee and 22-month-old son.
"I woke up 10 minutes later. I tried to get up and someone said, 'Don't move. You've been in a serious accident.'"
According to a Virginia State Police report, the tractor-trailer that struck Aiken's red Honda Civic was traveling 60 mph when it plowed into the rear of his car and drove over the top of it. The semi chewed up the rear and passenger side of Aiken's vehicle before ramming into the back of his supervisor's truck and then continuing through the intersection another 225 feet, according to the police report.
Aiken's car, which was then shoved into a silver Mustang, bore the brunt of the accident. But William Hairfield, Aiken's supervisor at Coatings and Painting, felt the jolt, as well.
The semi hit the rear passenger side of Hairfield's work truck hard enough to bend the frame and total it.
"He knocked us clear into the intersection," said Hairfield, whose neck was injured. "I just remember rolling through the intersection and my foot wasn't on the gas."
He needed several minutes to pry open his door. Once out, he went to check on Aiken.
As he approached the mangled Honda, he could see that Aiken's back was pressed against the driver's side door, his right leg splayed across the remains of the front passenger seat.
At least one of Aiken's shoes had been knocked off. And though his eyes were wide open, Aiken didn't respond to Hairfield's voice.
"I thought he was dead. His car was just demolished," Hairfield said. "I called his name five times, and he never answered me--until the last time."
INJURIES WERE SEVERE
An avid skateboarder as a youngster, Aiken has been banged up before.
He broke his ankle once and "walked it off." When he fractured his collarbone, he played basketball the next day--against his doctor's orders.
Joe Aiken's friends set up the "Joseph Aiken Recovery Fund" at Wells Fargo bank to help the family out until Aiken is well enough to return to work. To donate, visit any Wells Fargo branch and provide that account name.