ROAD TO ZERO

‘It Changed Our Life Forever’: Recovering After Distracted Driving Crash

Mar 21, 2019, 12:49 PM | Updated: Apr 9, 2019, 1:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Patrick Oki is visiting a very familiar place today: the neuro-specialty rehab unit at Intermountain Medical Center. He spent a month there after a traumatic crash on a motorcycle.

On July 8, 2014, Oki had just finished dinner. “It was the first date after nine months of talking to this girl,” he said.

They decided to continue the date after dinner and both got onto Oki’s motorcycle. Unfortunately, a motorist failed to yield on a left turn, hitting Oki and his passenger.

“He wasn’t paying attention … I ended up on the hood of the van that he was driving,” Oki described. “My leg had been smashed.”

Oki was in critical condition, and sadly, his passenger was killed.

Patrick Oki met Terry Conley in the Neuro-Specialty Rehab unit at Intermountain Medical Center.

Patrick Oki met Terry Conley in the Neuro-Specialty Rehab unit at Intermountain Medical Center.

According to Oki, the driver had been distracted and didn’t see them traveling through the intersection. “He was on his phone. He was texting and that happened to be more important at the time,” Oki claimed.

Unified Police Department spokesperson Melody Grey said the investigation showed the driver had checked Facebook and read a text message while he was at a stopped light. However, the district attorney’s office closed the case and declined to file criminal charges.

Oki’s leg was amputated that night. He spent the next month learning how to walk again with a prosthetic leg.

Now, after lots of physical and emotional healing, Oki has recovered. He’s learned that “I can be OK and still live my life and try and find ways to enjoy it,” he said.

Today, Oki finds joy by mentoring other amputee’s during their transition through Intermountain Healthcare’s RAMMP program. It stands for the Rehab Advocate Mindset Mentorship Program and is designed to connect current recovering inpatients with former rehab patients who are now healthy.

Oki met Terry Conley in the unity, a diabetes patient who recently had his leg amputated after finding a serious infection in his ankle. They immediately bonded.

Patrick Oki gave Terry Conley a few words of encouragement as he practiced standing on one leg.

Patrick Oki gave Terry Conley a few words of encouragement as he practiced standing on one leg.

Over the course of an hour, Oki gave Conley encouragement as he practiced standing up.

“The more you do it, the better you’ll get,” Oki said.

Oki also got back into a wheelchair to give Conley a few tips on how to get around more easily. ‘When you do it, throw your hands through it,” Oki said. They even had a friendly wheelchair competition.

Conley called Oki a hero.

“I want to make sure someone knows I’m thankful,” he said holding back tears. Conley said seeing Oki’s success gave him new hope and helped him see that normal life is within his grasp.

Conley was inspired by Oki’s ability to return to normal life activities — things Oki never even though he could do again like snowboarding.

Oki said returning to the unit also helps him heal through his own journey. “There’s nothing better than helping somebody else accomplish their goals,” he said.

Oki’s mother, Nora Oki, urges drivers’ to put all their focus on the road. “It changed our lives forever. And it’s just not worth the text and drive,” she said.

Today, Patrick Oki and Conley are finding healing together.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason reminds drivers to eliminate all forms of distraction while driving, not just your cellphone.

“It only takes a moment for a crash to occur and if you think about it, it only takes a moment for you to look down at your cellphone to see who is calling in or to read a text message,” he explained.

Gleason said talking to a passenger or messing with the radio can be just as dangerous.

Patrick Oki and patient Terry Conley had a friendly wheelchair race down the hospital hall. Patrick Oki gave Terry Conley a few tips on how to navigate his wheelchair. Patrick Oki gave Terry Conley a few words of encouragement as he practiced standing on one leg. Patrick Oki met Terry Conley in the Neuro-Specialty Rehab unit at Intermountain Medical Center. Patrick Oki and Terry Conley bonded immediately. Patrick Oki lost his leg in a motorcycle crash caused by a distracted driver.
KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Road to Zero

I-80 lanes closed after crash...
Cary Schwanitz

Crash closes westbound I-80 near Echo Reservoir

The Utah Department of Transportation said the westbound lanes of I-80 near Echo Reservoir south of I-84.
12 days ago
(Clayre Scott)...
Josh Ellis and Shara Park, KSL TV

Woman in wheelchair dead after being hit by cement truck in Logan

A woman died Friday morning after a cement truck hit her as she crossed Logan’s Main Street in a motorized wheelchair, according to police.
1 month ago
A 17-year-old girl, who later died from her injuries, was hit by a pickup truck on Oct. 25 while wa...
Jed Boal

UHP and ER doctor: Motorists, pedestrians need to work together to reduce fatalities

Utah is on pace to set the annual record for the greatest number of fatal auto-pedestrian crashes.
1 month ago
Tomas Fernandez was riding his scooter Tuesday to class at Ensign College when the car hit him whil...
Karah Brackin

Salt Lake man on scooter says driver hit him at a crosswalk and took off

A Salt Lake City man who was injured when a vehicle hit him while riding his scooter is on the road to recovery.
1 month ago
National Teen Driver Safety week is underway. (KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin and Cary Schwanitz, KSL TV

Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on safe driving conversations

A nationwide campaign designed to encourage parents to talk to their teens about the rules of the road is underway.
1 month ago
...
Ayanna Likens

Utah sees rise in auto-pedestrian crashes

An alarming concern on Utah roads — a rise in auto-pedestrian crashes, including three that happened within the last 24 hours.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
‘It Changed Our Life Forever’: Recovering After Distracted Driving Crash