What would be the last thing you’d say to the ones you love if you thought you’d never see them again? Kevin Deipenbrock, originally from Greenville, Texas, had no idea he’d discover just what those words would be while cruising around on motorcycles with a buddy on a part of U.S. Highway 129 known as “The Dragon” on October 15, 2016.
Diepenrock was at the bottom of a 100 foot embarkment, with 17 breaks in 12 ribs, two punctured lungs and multiple spinal fractures, hoping someone would find him. He ended up laying down there for almost 30 hours before help arrived. Here is what he thought would be his final words to his family and friends:
Fortunately he was rescued and is on his way to recovery. Sadly, Kevin’s riding partner, Phillip Polito, 29, of Perryville, Mo., died at the scene.
Kevin says the two men had been riding down the highway stretch in the Great Smoky Mountains, which is known for its sharp curves, when Polito suddenly hit his brakes.
He had no time to avoid hitting Polito and they were sent over the steep hillside.
“Just wanted to say I love you guys,” Diepenbrock says in his video. “Sorry I was being stupid, but you know that’s what I do.”
Diepenbrock tells his wife and parents he loves them and asks them to take care of his dogs as he records. He was hopeful he would be reduced, but as time went on, that hope began to waver.
“I figured it was just a matter of time before someone came by and saw us,” Diepenbrock told CBS News. “As the day passed hundreds of cars passed us, and nobody ever stopped. I became more concerned and less hopeful that I would get out.”
After 27 hours of lying there, Diepenbrock received a miracle. A motorcyclist and her friend pulled over on the side of the road and heard his calls for help. They were unable to see him, so they got help from the lowest place they could find, a photo shop.
Josh Johnson, the man they returned with, was a motorcyclist familiar with the area. He was able to locate Diepenbrock and come to his aid.
“It was amazing. It was so much relief that someone was actually there,” Diepenbrock said. “He said ‘You’re going to be ok, I’m here, we’re going to get you out.’ It was that moment where I thought ‘Holy cow, I’m actually getting saved here.’”
Diepenbrock was airlifted to University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he stayed for two weeks before being released. He is expected to fully recover.