Suspected DUI driver leaves man bed-bound after 2016 collision
Doctors didn't expect Josh Doerr to live after he was struck by a suspected drunk driver in August 2016.
He was on life-support, and after 48 hours with only a small amount of brain activity, doctors urged the family to let him go, said Doerr's sister, Julia Doty.
But their mother refused, and Doerr, who is from Pocahontas, was eventually weaned off the ventilator.
With bleeding and swelling in his brain, a newly lost right kidney, two collapsed lungs, broken ribs, a broken back, a reconstructed face and a stroke on the left side of his body, Doerr was left a completely different person after the crash.
"It's like taking care of a newborn," Doty said. "We had to teach him how to talk again. We have to change him, feed him, get him drinks."
Almost two years later, the 33-year-old Doerr's physical recovery has plateaued. The man who used to be the life of the party now is bed-bound in a nursing home, and needs assistance doing everything, Doty said. He can only move his right hand — his left side was paralyzed from a stroke.
"There's times when the old Josh will come back, but he's pretty much a completely different person," Doty said. "He'll crack a joke here or there, then drifts back off."
After the August 2016 crash, 39-year-old Christy Cummins, of Carlyle, was charged in Madison County with aggravated driving under the influence and failure to report an accident resulting in an injury. It was a hit-and-run crash, police said, and officers identified Cummins using her license plate, which had been knocked off during the collision. She was arrested at an associate's apartment in Aviston.
Doerr had parked his motorcycle on the side of the road and was talking to another one of his sisters, Jenny Doerr, who was in her car. They were at the Baumann Road and Keyesport Road intersection in rural Madison County when Doerr was hit.
Their whole family had to go through counseling after the crash, Doty said. Jenny Doerr saw the whole thing happen. Jacob Doerr, a Highland-Pierron firefighter, was the first one on the scene. He didn't know his brother had been involved in the crash until he arrived.
Josh Doerr is the only one who doesn't remember the crash.
He lost all of his memories from before August 2016, and understands someone hit him while he was on his motorcycle, but beyond that, he struggles, Doty said.
Kinley, Doerr's 5-year-old daughter, doesn't really understand what's going on, Doty said. She still remembers her dad when he was physically able, and she often asks, "Why can't daddy come play?"
Cummins' case was still pending in Madison County courts as of Friday. In early March, her attorneys asked for a hearing to make a plea bargain, but the prosecutors declined the motion.
"I hope she goes to prison for a very long time," Doty said. "She shows no remorse, she doesn't care... (This crash) absolutely ruined everything for (Josh)."
Cummins' attorney was not immediately available for comment Friday.