THOMASVILLE, N.C. — A 25-year-old Army veteran is slowly recovering after he and a friend were seriously injured in a hit and run accident a week ago.
Police say Cody Johnson and Nathan Surratt were riding motorcycles on Winston Street in Thomasville just before 3 p.m.
According to officers, Dwight A. Chambers, 22, of Thomasville hit Cody Johnson with his car.
Surratt was behind Johnson and was injured trying to avoid the crash.
Police say Chambers left the men injured in the road.
Johnson’s girlfriend, Brooklynn Hilliard, spent the last week at the hospital with Johnson and says he is now out of the Intensive Care Unit.
She says Johnson has an injury to an artery near his heart along with damage to his liver, kidney, spine and arm. Doctors already operated on his wrist, she said, and have not ruled out more surgery.
“He’s in and out. He sleeps and wakes up and is trying to get up and walk some now. Trying to eat a little bit more,” she described.
She said physical therapy would be tough for Johnson. He’s always been active and dedicated to helping others. Johnson served two tours in Afghanistan with the Army. He now works as a firefighter and is in school studying criminal justice.
“He’s very independent and likes to do things on his own,” she said. “I don’t know how it’s going to be when he gets home, and he can’t really go a whole lot of places. He’s not going to be able to drive, not going to be able to run the fire calls or get to school on his own.”
Thanks to witnesses, police found the suspect, Dwight Chambers, about five blocks away within fifteen minutes, according to Police Sergeant J.W. Elgin.
Chambers was arrested and charged with felony hit and run, unsafe movement in relation to a motorcycle and driving with a suspended license. He is still in the Davidson County Jail under a $20,000 bond.
Chambers told police he never saw the men on the motorcycles.
Johnson’s best friend Philip Grant is also in the Army and happened to be home on leave when the accident happened.
He said Johnson was on the way to his insurance company to drop off a police report after a driver nearly hit him only an hour before.
“Just look twice. Look twice, three times, four times. You can’t look enough to save a life because this could have turned out much worse,” he pointed out.
Police are asking motorists to drive more carefully this summer and keep an eye out for motorcyclists.
Sgt. Elgin also advises motorcyclists to wear reflective clothing and a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation.
Grant and Johnson’s other friends are trying to rally support and raise money for their friend’s medical expenses.
They are hosting a benefit ride and cookout this Saturday, June 28, at the Silver Valley Fire Station. The proceeds will go to Johnson’s medical expenses. Registration will start at 2:30 p.m. The ride will begin at 4 p.m.