Group reunites with the rescuers who saved their lives after 2012 crash

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 11, 2013

Amid the soft tones of an emergency scanner and the chatter of people inside the Liberty Fire Station on Sunday sat three people — Megan Bullins and brothers Dylan and Garrett Davis — alive today because of the rescuers sitting amongst them.
The three survived a horrific accident a year ago and on Sunday met the dozens of rescuers who had a role in saving their lives. Seriously injured in a crash, they were airlifted to the hospital and now are in varying stages of recovery.
Megan and the Davis brothers were joined by their families and members of Liberty Fire Department, Gold Hill Fire Department, Rowan EMS and Rowan Rescue Squad.
Megan, then 18, was driving late one night on Stokes Ferry Road while then-boyfriend Dylan Davis, who was 19, was asleep in the passenger’s seat. His brother, Garrett, 22, was sitting behind Megan.
She was approaching an oncoming curve and slowed down, but a deer crossed into her path and jumped back over the car.
“I didn’t swerve, I locked my brakes,” she said.
The car went down an embankment and struck a tree on the driver’s side, pinning Megan and Garrett inside.
The force of the crash sent her and Dylan colliding into each other. The two bumped heads so violently the force broke Dylan’s left eye socket.
Megan was unconscious while Garrett was in and out of consciousness.
The three were trapped in the vehicle for more than an hour and had to be cut from it.
The same men and women the two brothers worked alongside were now their rescuers. Garrett was at one time a Liberty firefighter, along with Dylan, who was then with the Gold Hill Fire Department.
A firefighter held Megan’s neck in place for nearly two hours after the ligaments in her neck were torn. Doctors said if the firefighter had not held her neck still she would’ve been paralyzed or dead.
She had a broken pelvis that eventually healed on its own while she lay in the hospital bed in a coma for two months.
Garrett says he recalls after the crash looking up to see the lights of the fire trucks.
He was in and out of consciousness.
Garrett’s left arm was stuck between the door and his left leg was twisted underneath Megan’s seat.
Once Garrett was freed, emergency personnel pulled him through the rear window and out of the car.
“I remember lying in the helicopter and pulling the guy toward me and asking if I was going to die,” Garrett said.
Like Megan and his brother, Garrett also was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Garrett had fractured four bones in the back of his neck above his spine. He also had a shattered hip and pelvis. Garrett’s left arm was also shattered in two places. His collarbone was broken as were four ribs. He had damaged his spleen and urethra in the crash.
Dylan didn’t remember anything from the wreck and still has issues with short-term memory loss. Doctors did not repair his broken eye socket, saying the bones were too close to his brain. He was unable to blink and relied on eye drops to lubricate his eye. His vision is still not as good as it was before the wreck.
He also lost all movement on his left side for two-to-three months.
He was on life support for one day and awoke while in rehab.
Megan said she awakened in December 2012, but her brain didn’t completely awaken until January. She spent two months in a coma.
In January she had a number of milestones including learning how to eat, drink and talk.
She started her recovery in a wheelchair then moved to a walker and now walks with the assistance of a cane. She just started walking around the house without the cane.
Her vocal cords were damaged, she had fluid on her lungs and doctors had to insert a probe in the front and the back of her head to relieve the pressure on her brain.
In February or March, Megan was able to talk, but just a whisper.
It was frustrating at first, she said, because the words she wanted to say would not come out of her mouth.
She’s looking forward to the day she’ll be able to drive again. Right now she’s practicing in a golf cart, but when her right side becomes stronger, she’ll get behind the wheel on the road.
Megan was a student at UNC-Greensboro studying chemistry, but has transferred to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College where she is looking to obtain a degree in radiology.
Of all the things that Megan had to endure — the crash, surgery and rehab — the hardest part she says was having to cut her waist-length hair.
“I’ve always had long hair,” she whispered.
She’s gotten back into some old habits including hunting, which she was able to do a month ago. Megan also is slowly getting back into tennis, starting with racquet ball. She’s improving her fine motor skills with crafts and baking. She even made two pies on Sunday for the meet up.
“Each day the least little thing to her is a big thing to us. Each day she’s become so much stronger mentally,” said Megan’s mother, Brea Walker.
She’s looking forward to the holidays since she was hospitalized in 2012 during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Garrett has two plates in his arm, but will have one removed next week because of the pain it causes. He also has a plate in his hip and a rod from his hip to his leg. He’ll likely walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
Since his return home, Garrett has undergone physical and occupational therapy. He’s had to learn how to walk again after being in a wheelchair and then a walker and cane.
“It feels a lot better being able to do things on your own,” he said.
As Dylan returned home he found that loud noises irritated him and he had to be completely supervised.
His mother, Sonya, said Dylan would forget what he was doing just moments before.
“It was a helluva nightmare,” said Gary Davis, Dylan and Garrett’s father.
The Davises said they didn’t leave their son’s side.
In a way, Gary was traumatized following the crash. He can’t drive by the crash site, and sirens make him nervous.
The Davises are thankful for the emergency personnel who treated their sons and freed them from the car.
“We are especially thankful to Liberty and Gold Hill,” Gary said.
Sonya said the family is also grateful to the people in the community and strangers who prayed, collected money and helped with Garrett and Dylan’s recovery in some way.
Liberty Fire Chief Darrin Trexler said oftentimes when responders go to a call they rescue a victim, put them in an ambulance and may never hear from them again. He said it was nice to see how the Davises and Megan have recovered.
“It takes a lot of people. It takes everybody,” Trexler said of rescuing the group.
He said getting to see them on the road to recovery “makes you feel like you’ve done some good.”
“It’s rewarding to see them all together,” said Rita Hooks, whose husband, Gilbert, is a firefighter at Gold Hill.
“It’s a miracle seeing them walk around,” said Tim Pruitt, assistant chief of Gold Hill Fire.
“It’s nice having them here. It’s good to have them as a support,” Megan said.
She’s grateful that the community and rescuers thought about her to pray and show their support.
“I’m very thankful; that’s what got me through,” she said.
Her father, William Bullins, is also thankful to the quick response by rescuers.
He took five months off work to be by his daughter’s side along with her mother, who was also at her bedside.
Seeing his daughter hurt was one of the hardest things he’s done as a parent, William said.
He said the ordeal has made their families stronger.
“She’s the strongest woman I’ve met,” he said of his daughter.
He said Megan has the “willpower to run again. She’s a miracle every time I look at her.”
He is also grateful to the community, rescuers and the hospital staff at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
“God still has a reason for them to be here,” William said.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.