KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The intersection at 39th Street and Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City’s Westport neighborhood is always busy, even at 3 a.m. on a Sunday.
“I’m very, very, very, grateful to still be here,” said Nate Jones, who nearly died at that intersection on September 17 while crossing it. Jones had spent that Saturday night celebrating his partner’s birthday with friends.
Kansas City police detectives told Jones what happened since he doesn’t remember the impact itself.
Traffic camera video at that intersection shows a driver running a red light while on their cellphone and hitting Jones. Two people were in the car and they never stopped.
Even though Jones can’t remember what happened, he says he doesn’t want to. All he told us is what the detective working his case relayed to him.
“They hit me, I rolled over the top, sat on [the roof] for about 25 yards, and then rolled off the back,” he said.
Jones slammed to the ground, lifeless and unconscious.
Some people who he referred to as his “angels” stopped to call 911 and stayed with him until help arrived. He doesn’t know who those people are but said he would love to meet them and thank them.
An ambulance rushed him to The University of Kansas Medical Center just a mile down the road where he spent the next 10 days in the hospital.
“I cried literally every day, multiple times a day. I probably experienced every emotion that someone can experience within 10 days,” he said.
Miraculously, he did not suffer any brain or spinal cord injuries. However, he does have a severe road rash from his chest to his hips along with a compound fracture, broken leg, broken arm, and several fractured bones.
Friends and family stayed by his side every day, so much so that his mother made a comment to him, but Jones told her he needed it. The camaraderie kept him going as he stayed confined to an ICU bed for 3-4 days before he moved to his own room to work on standing and pivoting.
Twenty days later, he’s making progress. In fact, just last night he walked for the first time since the crash using a walker.
“Physically I feel good, I feel very good,” he said.
He has his days mentally: some are good and very positive while others he just wants to be alone. Doctors expect him to be walking again in five weeks, something he was shocked to hear.
Jones is temporarily living with his parents in central Missouri until he’s back to normal. His rehabilitation will last another 6-8 weeks as the search for the person who hit him continues.
Detectives told his family they had a few leads but nothing that’s resulted in an arrest.
“This situation could have, thank God it didn’t, but it could have ended my life because someone didn’t stop at a light, and they were on their phone,” Jones said.
His message to the couple who hit him and left him for dead is this: pay attention to the road, stop at a red light, don’t speed through a yellow light, and put your phone away.
His partner has started a GoFundMe to help cover his $70,000 and counting medical bills. So far, it’s raised $23,000, and Jones said several of the bars and restaurants he frequents are holding fundraisers as well to help him financially.