Weber County man hit by DUI driver makes significant strides on long road to recovery

Dec 11, 2022, 10:55 PM

OGDEN, Utah — Nearly four years after a devastating collision with a DUI driver, a Weber County man has made some large strides on his long road to recovery.

On Jan. 19, 2019, Michael Clabaugh was at a gas station at 5500 S. 5500 W. in Hooper when police said the driver struck and pinned him between two cars.

“They didn’t even know if I’d live to make it to the hospital,” Clabaugh recalled in a recent interview with KSL 5. “They didn’t think I’d ever be able to walk or use my hands at all.”

A month after the accident, Clabaugh continued to struggle to move his extremities as he navigated severe pain.

However, through determination, healing and hard work, Clabaugh, with the aid of a walker, left a care facility on his own power that July to the cheers of onlookers.

Clabaugh said that didn’t mean anything would come easy in the months that followed. The pandemic limited therapy sessions and slowed his progress.

“It’s been a pretty big hurdle,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but I try to not let it get me.”

The ordeal also tested his closest relationships.

“This accident has really destroyed our family, so it’s been hard on us,” Clabaugh expressed. “It’s hard to keep the faith. It’s hard to keep the belief of being alive.”

Even with the obstacles, Clabaugh said, “hard-headedness” and a never-give-up attitude led him to push forward. In recent months, he made considerable progress, extending his personal bests during therapy.

Michael Clabaugh with his daughter, Rarity, who keeps his spirit going. (KSL-TV)

His goal once was to walk 1,000 feet by the end of last summer.

“I think last I walked, it was like 1,400 feet—not steps, feet,” Clabaugh said.

His progress also continues to be inspired by the presence of his daughter, Rarity. She was born in the months that followed the crash.

He pledged to continue to move forward for her and for his ongoing progress, no matter the challenges that surface.

“You don’t let it stop you,” he said. “You can’t let it stop you.”

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Weber County man hit by DUI driver makes significant strides on long road to recovery