My Story

On St. Patrick's Day, (March 17, 1993) I went for a bicycle ride with a friend. There were sunny skies, subtle winds and cool temperatures; it was a great day for a bike ride. For no precise reason, we left south Austin and headed to San Marcos. I had heard the Austin to San Marcos ride was popular among cyclists, providing pleasant scenery, a manageable amount of vehicle traffic, and a fair amount of exercise. The ride was sure to provide a great launching point for the St. Patrick's Day celebrations that were to follow.

Once in San Marcos, my friend and I stopped for lunch at Mr. Gatti's Pizza. We loaded up on pizza and pasta; energy for the 30 mile return trip. The ride back was going to be relaxing, each pedal stroke pushing us that much closer to our goal. Our return routed us through San Marcos, to Buda and finally back to South Austin. As we headed north on Post Road leaving San Marcos, a number of cars passed us.

Coming off of a curve in the road my friend and I were riding two abreast; he on the outside part of the lane nearest the grass shoulder, I to his left. Suddenly I heard a car honk its horn with two sharp bursts: beep-beep. Based on the sound of the horn, I felt this car was racing- much faster than the other cars that passed us that day. I later learned that the Pick-up truck was traveling between 45 and 60 miles an hour. I knew I would be safest at this point if I were riding single file with my friend as opposed to side-by-side. I was trying to pass my friend and pull in front of him . . . .


Pickup Truck WreckThe pick up truck crashed into the back of my bicycle. I was still in a seated position only now there was no bicycle beneath me. In the moment after the truck launched my bicycle, and before the truck crashed into me, time slowed dramatically. I sat suspended in air watching my bicycle racing North on Post Road, like some urban version of a horse that had thrown its rider. Time slowed, but thoughts came quickly- "That's not good. Am I going to die? What next?"

It was then that my head must have crushed the roof of the pick-up truck because everything went black. And silent.

When I came to, only a moment had passed and the ground was rushing up at me, and fast. I was flailing 20 feet in the air; I had to get my legs beneath me. A gravel driveway was coming up fast. I was going to be slammed onto the driveway, that fact was now unavoidable. As I tumbled, I tried as hard as I could to throw my legs towards the ground.

Though my legs were not perfectly beneath me, they absorbed much of the impact; the impact however, was not kind to my knee. When I hit, my right leg twisted like a screw and my knee popped horribly. My torso and my head followed my legs onto the gravel driveway, which I skidded across. When my head hit, I lost consciousness- everything was black and silent again.

When I came to this time, the paramedics were putting me onto a backboard.
Brian McConnell in HospitalAt the hospital the doctor used tweezers to extract gravel from my back, and from my head. After two days in intensive care the doctor released me to go home. I did not have health insurance after all- how was I going to pay this hospital bill.

As time dragged on it became abundantly clear the insurance company did not intend to pay for the damages. A legal fight was brewing. I was not a lawyer, but knew a little about fighting. The fight went on for almost nine years after the Saint Patrick's Day crash. In the interim, I went to law school, graduated and received my law license. The insurance company ultimately paid.