We Survive A Terrible Accident….

Yesterday Mary and I started the day with 11 other passengers to sight-see Canyon de Chelly in remote northeastern Arizona.

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

This is how it started…

This is how it ended…

Because the area is so remote, it took three hours after the accident before the first helicopter arrived.

The score…

1 – dead at scene,

4 – level 1 – critical – airlifted to Flagstaff for emergency surgery,

4 – level 2 – non critical – (I’m in this group) helicoptered from canyon floor to overlook parking (about 1,000 feet up) for 20 mile ambulance ride to Chinle, Arizona Medical Center. Received cat scan. I suffered no broken bones or internal injuries, but I took a real hard hit on my right-side rib cage and am experiencing frequent, sharp stabbing-like pains in that area. The doctor says that it is caused by gas bubbles in my intestines and can not do anything for the pain, but to let time take its course. I hurt from head to toe and am moving very slowly.

Mary  suffered general bumps and bruises and also hurts from head to toe and moving very slowly.

More info in days to follow.

No phone calls, please. Email only if you care to write.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
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43 thoughts on “We Survive A Terrible Accident….

  1. Donna Huffer

    Glad you are OK. Hurting lets you know you ARE alive. We had planned to do that trip this fall on our return to AZ. May have to think about that. I did it 2004 by myself. It is an awesome trip. We broke down & had to have another truck come to continue the trip.

  2. Laurie Matzek

    Wow! Glad to hear you are both ok though sore and in pain. Kris had called just now to ask if we had seen an email about this, but we didn’t receive anything. She forwarded it to us. Crazy! You guys be careful! We love you!

  3. Sue Pace

    wow, the angels were with you. It’s unbelievable to hear that only 1 person died. how were you protected when it turned upside down? amazing and very scary to see.

  4. Oh dear! I am glad you are all right. I have bruised my ribs before and it hurts like nothing else. Sending prayers to you and the others. Just wondering how that happened.

  5. Jim and Mary, what a frightful accident. So glad you are still with us, and sorry for the other folk’s hurt, and the loss of a rider so far. Take all the time you need to recover, and our thoughts are with you, Electronic hug from Miss Bette and I.
    Jim Bob in St Augustine

  6. Oh my goodness! What a horrifying experience for you to go through. Bruised ribs and bumps hurt, especially as we get older so take care. We will be thinking of you

    • Ned Bedinger

      Jim and Mary, what a nightmare you’ve had. I wish you could get a second opinion on your pains–as Anne said, bruised ribs hurt, so perhaps the gaspain diagnosis is not the right diagnosis. Think of it as sprained ribs, if not worse. A doctor could tape them and give you something for the pain. So glad you and Mary survived the wreck!

      My deepest sympathies for the friends and family of Dr. Crowe, who died there. What a sad tragedy his untimely departure is for them all.

      Ned, Jane, and Miles Bedinger
      Southworth, WA

      • ramblinmanjimj

        Hi Ned,
        Thanks for your message. FYI you are correct, I just failed to report it properly. I took a severe hit to the rib cage. My primary source of pain at that moment was a gurgling or popping that was causing the severe stabbing-like pain. In that regard, the doctor was correct. Now that the popping has pretty much subsided, I’m now dealing with the pulled muscle in the same area. Yesterday I could not even lift the mouse to my computer without that muscle causing me severe pain. They did give me codeine for that which I decided not to take because of the accompanying severe constipation it causes. So, I’m toughing out the pain only with Ibuprofen. I’m also icing per instructions from the medical clinic. In time, I’m expecting as will be well. Jim

  7. I always have that in the back of my mind, “do these people really know what they are doing?” and then I just hope for the best.

    Pretty scary deal. Glad you are okay.


  8. Looking at the photo’s a second time, it shows the vech. short about 4 tires on the rear, that could have affected stability of the truck overall.

    Man-man, a bad deal all around.


  9. John N. Clairmont

    Hi Jim : Glad to hear that you and Mary are alright. John

    • Jan

      Could Not believe it when Karen phoned me…THANK GOD YOU ARE BOTH ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My prayers are with you. I want to help and hug you both but I’m here. Love you! When you can please fill me in! Much love,Jan

  10. Glad to hear that you are both among the walking wounded, I have been really enjoying following your trip. Condolences to the family who have lost someone. Wishing all a speedy recovery.

    • ramblinmanjimj

      Thanks you all for the nice comments about the accident. Follow the Blog for the next few days for more details. Jim

  11. Jim, so glad you and Mary are safe and will soon be back to normal. So sad that someone died and others were badly injured ! I’ll keep checking for up dates !! Love Sue

  12. My precious brother Richard, lost his life in this accident. We ar so heartbroken. Thank you for your prayers.

    • ramblinmanjimj

      Hi carolyn,

      My condolences on the loss of your brother. I expect soon to publish a Blog entry that will have a photo of Richard in it. If there is any information about Richard that you would want me to include in that Blog entry, please send that information to me in an Email at jimjrver@gmail.com

      • Hi Jim – I would love to talk to you. Can I call you? Here is my beloved brother’s bio from the University of Hilo, Hawaii, where he was a Professor of Astronomy and Physics. We were very close and this is absolutely devastating for us. We just saw him the weekend before last at his oldest daughter’s wedding in Albuqueque.


      • ramblinmanjimj

        Hi Carolyn, You can call me on my cell phone at 860-575-6940. You may call antime between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM MDT.

        I thought you might like to have the photo that I took prior to our departure on the tour. I believe he is the fellow on the left with the white sweatshirt and brown hat. Am I correct? Jim

      • Hi Jim – in your first photo, you can see him sitting in the row through thedriver’s window. He has a brown hat on. I don’t know what colour his tshirt is but in one of your photos you posted today there is a photo of him on the ground with a blue pak on his head and his wife kneeling over him. It looks like he has a white long sleeved shirt on. You referred to her as “Claire” but her name is Deby. Thanks Jim for your prayers and support. Do you know the status of the 4 that were critically injured?

      • Thank you for your blogs Jim and Mary. I know some would find it offensive but for me it helps understand what happened and relive it with Richard and Deby and feel their pain. It brings closure. I am updating my family with them.

  13. Lorraine R. Wilson

    So sorry to hear that this happened to you, Mary and others in our beautiful Canyon De Chelly, I would never want something like this to happen to anyone. Senting you prayers to the both of you and all the others. My Condolence to Richards Family. God bless you all.

  14. oh my God! yes, it was terrible. glad you are fine.

  15. Frank Shearer

    Hello Jim & Mary, Frank Shearer here. I, along with DeWayne, Vern & Steve were the first to find you & the other passengers upside down under the truck. As you know we began digging everyone out with our hands & sticks. DeWayne walked you the tree to keep you in the shade, not everyone could be moved, so glad we could move you. Mary is such a trooper, I read now how sore she is, she hid her pain very well as she constantly moved from one person to the next offering help & support. You conducted yourself as a gentelman, your strength is incredible. It was a true pleasure to be of assistance to you. The second group of people to assist was a group of young people, young to us as we are close to or 70 years old. This secong group was most helpful, their assitance was invaluable. I am glad you have the pictures of the broken steering linkage. I owned automotive repair shops for fourty years, I spent many years rebuilding front suspensions & doing wheel alignment. You will notice in the pictures that the threads show no wear, they are not smooth, thus no up & down rubbing. I suspect this vehicle had a very recent repair on the tie rods/ ball joints. The nut that was found was given to the Navajo Police. I was reluctant to make this public posting but I could not find your e maill information. My e mail is frsawol@aol.com. I will furnish my phone to you if you e mail me with that request. God surley blessed me, DeWayne & Steve by placing us as your Guardian Angels & allowing us to be of immediate help. I wish you & Mary a speedy & complete recovery. Frank

  16. Vicky Foxworth

    Jim, Carolyn, Mary, others,

    I am so sorry about your accident and for your terrible loss Carolyn and Deby. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. My heart is with all of you, especially your family at this tragic time. I am dear friends with Sophie Zager and Bill Repshur, two others on the truck. Carolyn, thank you for asking about the four others who were critically injured. Sophie was one of the four. She is now at the hospital in Flagstaff and is in stable condition – she has many injuries and her pain is being managed. I spoke with her tonight and she is doing better than she was and undoubtedly not as good as she will be. Her injuries are such that that surgery won’t address the issues according to her husband, Bill. Hopefully a few months of bed rest will address most of them. We are not sure when she will leave the hospital. Bill will talk with her doctors tomorrow. Both Bill and Sophie believe she is getting excellent care. In unity and caring for your loss and for the full recovery, psychological and physical, of others who were on the truck. Vicky

    • ramblinmanjimj

      Hi Vicky,
      Thank you for your message and especially the information about Sophie and Bill. If any other folks reading these messages have any other information about the others involved, we would appreciate receiving those messages. Jim

      • Margaret

        Hello Jim. My name is Margaret and I was the last person dug out from under the truck. I was airlifted to Flagstaff and have been released with 7 broken ribs. I am now home in California. My friend Anita was with me on the tour and has also returned home to California. She has a severely bruised back, but is beginning to receive some relief. We are both dealing with the trauma and tragedy of this frightful afternoon. Hope you and Mary are healing. Take care

      • ramblinmanjimj

        Hi Margaret,
        Nice to hear from you. It’s good to hear you and Anita are together again. Yes, the trauma and tragedy have to be dealt with…but as we know…time heals all. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to both of you. Jim

      • frsawol@aol.com

        Hello Margaret. I am Frank Shearer, one of the men that helped dig you out, I also helped carry you to the top of the canyon. I was in a vehicle with your first responders, we were in a Chevy Suburban, we came along within seconds of your vehicle going over the top of the canyon. We were with a Navajo guide named Percy. Four of us slid down the hill to assist while our wifes stayed on top, they found the nut that came off of the steering system. I hope you recover soon. Our thoughts are with you. Frank

  17. OMG, im glad you are ok and I pray for your speedy recovery.

  18. Glad you are ok. Terrible accident.

  19. Tony Adams

    From Tony Adams:

    Here is the article in the Hilo Tribune-Herald about my very dear and close friend, Richard Crowe:

    UHH astronomy professor dies in rollover Jeep crash
    June 5, 2012

    (Hilo, Hawaii)


    Tribune-Herald staff writer

    Richard Crowe, co-founder of the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s astronomy program and astronomer-in-residence at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, was killed Sunday in a bizarre Jeep accident near Chinle, Ariz. He was 60.

    Crowe and his wife, Debra, were on the mainland for the recent wedding of their older daughter, Ginger Albrecht, in Albuquerque, N.M., their younger daughter, Jasmine Miranda Anderson, said Monday.

    “We were all together at my sister’s wedding in Albuquerque, and he and my mother went to Sedona (Ariz.) on a road trip. They were there for about a week,” Anderson said.

    While in Sedona, Richard and Debra Crowe took a commercial Jeep tour to Canyon de Chelly. On the return trip, the Jeep went off the edge of a narrow road and rolled end over end down a hillside. Richard Crowe jumped from the Jeep and was struck by the vehicle.

    Debra Crowe was treated for minor injuries and released at a nearby hospital.

    “She didn’t really understand how badly he was injured,” Anderson said. “It took three hours for the helicopter to come and take them (to the hospital), I think.”

    Crowe’s condition worsened and others on the tour initiated CPR while waiting for the medevac chopper to arrive. Medics attempted defibrillation, but he died at the scene. Anderson said the family is “in shock.”

    “It’s really hard,” she said. “It’s just totally unexpected and out of the blue. We’re all just pretty shaken up about it and really devastated.”

    The Montreal-born Crowe earned his doctorate degree from the University of Toronto and was a support scientist for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope atop Mauna Kea before co-founding UH-Hilo’s astronomy program in 1987 with Bill Heacox, the department’s current chairman.

    “He was a very good astronomy teacher and that was his principal job here at UH-Hilo,” Heacox said. “Very well liked by his colleagues, very well liked by his students, won several teaching awards. He’ll be greatly missed.”

    Crowe also taught physics at UH-Hilo.

    In 2010, Crowe and ‘Imiloa Planetarium Manager Shawn Laatsch were presented with the Taniguchi Award for Innovation in Teaching and Research for using the planetarium to teach introductory astronomy. Heacox said that Crowe spread the gospel of astronomy through his outreach work in the public schools.

    “That’s where he did most of his best work, I think,” Heacox said. “He had a portable planetarium that he purchased on a grant from the National Science Foundation and he would take this planetarium around to schools.”

    Crowe was active in the community and was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay. In addition, he played clarinet in the UH-Hilo Orchestra and the Hawaii County Band and sang in the Kanilehua Chorale. County band director Paul Arceo called Crowe a “very committed” musician.

    “Actually, when they had the Hamakua County Band, he was the assistant director under (the late) Dave Lorch,” Arceo said. “… Richard’s always been active, singing (and) playing clarinet. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

    Tony Adams, a longtime professional composer and musician and close friend of Crowe, said that Crowe was “a very fine musician.”

    “He played clarinet very well with the band and practiced determinedly,” Adams said. He added that Crowe was also a “very good pianist.”

    Adams said that as a person the outgoing Crowe “never knew a stranger.”

    Anderson, a singer, violinist and guitarist, said she became a musician because of her dad’s influence and support.

    “He was a great musician and taught me so many things about music, and I loved to perform with him,” she said.

    Other survivors include stepchildren Heather Carson and David Craig; father, William Crowe; sisters, Carolyn Ibele and Mary-Ellen Gooch; one niece, three nephews and four step-granddaughters.

    Tony’s Note: A memorial service will be held at the Imiloa Atronomy Center for Richard on Sunday, June 24. We are expecting a huge number of people paying their repects as Richard was a very important member of our University, our town, our state, and the nation. Mahalo nui.

  20. Richard Laszok

    Jim and Mary et al,

    This is Richard Laszok. My wife, Debbie, and I were the first couple to be evacuated and were flown to the San Juan Regional Medical Center, New Mexico. We were in the hospital until 1530 hrs 2 Jun. We eventually made it home to Sierra Vista on the evening of 4 June when I had my first opportunity to read your wonderful blog. We offer our sincere condolences and prayers to Debbie Crowe. The Crowe’s sat beside us in row two on the tour truck. The tour started off so well. It was to the Crowe’s that I asked, as we loaded the truck to start the tour, “does anyone know the wheels on the bus?” We were all in such wonderful spirits. Who would ever have guessed the tragedy that we were about to face?

    I have at least 7 broken ribs. Debbie’s injuries are more serios and pemanent with compression fractures in the disks, fractured pelvis and still some undetermined neurological things going on in the arm and neck. We begin physical thearpy next week.

    There were two young girls and a young gentleman that assisted me the entire time after I was extracted from the crash. The young ladies were students from Virginia. I am convinced they saved my life. Once I found out my wife Debbie was OK I remember I started to feel very, very tired. I was afraid I might be going into shock and asked the girls to keep talking to me to keep me awake. They told me their names but I simply can’t now remember. We are trying to get their names now but I wanted to say publicly thank you for all your help.

    To all of you who helped at the crash site..our deepest gratitude and thank you. We would not be alive today without your assistance.

    Richard and Debbie Laszok.

    • ramblinmanjimj

      Hi Richard and Debbie,
      It’s so nice to hear from you and yet so sad to read of the nature of your injuries. I feel like a real wimp complaining about my pain after reading about what you both have been through and yet to face. We knew you had been flown out, but knew nothing about thereafter. I shuddered when I read your message and remember thinking…My God and we were just three feet away from them!”

      Mary and I both send our best wishes to for a fast and complete recovery. Please keep in touch to let us know how you are doing.
      Jim and Mary

    • Frank Shearer

      Hello Richard, Frank Shearer here. I am one of the four men that first arrived at your accident scene. I was with my wife Ruthie, Vern & his friend Susan, DeWayne & his wife Kathy & Steve. We were in a Chevy Suburban driven by Percy our Navajo guide. We slid down the hill & began digging everyone out from under the truck. Another Duece 1/2, a truck like the one you were in came along, how much later I don’t know, this vehicle had the lovely & helpful girls that you spoke of. Their male friends/husbands? were very helpful in helping dig people out & tending to the injured needs. I helped carry Debbi up the hill, she is such a trooper. I knew she was in horrible pain, she tolerated the climb up the hill, it was clear that she was in pain. We were in the right place at the right time, I do believe that God placed us there to help those in need. I wish the both of you a speedry recovery. Regards, Frank

      • Richard

        I do not have the ability to properly express my thanks to you for helping to save my Debbie’s life. I do not think she could have remained much longer in the position she was in which was really restricting her ability to breathe. I will say a prayer every day for you, the others on my tour and those from the tour behind us who assisted in our rescue. You are all heroes! Thanks

  21. Hello all: We are so terribly sorry to hear of all of your painful injuries and the long road to recovery for several of you. We pray that the Lord will restore your bodies, physically, mentally and emotionally to completeness. We thank all the people who stopped to help/rescue the accident victims – you are truly angels. This is what life is all about – helping others in need. We grieve over the loss of our beloved Richard even though we believe he is in a better place and we will see him again. We know that everything was done by the ‘angels’ to try to help him. We can’t thank you all enough for your kindness. We take each day at a time.
    Blessings, Carolyn Ibele (Richard’s sister) and family

  22. Richard Laszok

    Carolyn, Debbie and I offer you and Debra and your entire family our condolences and prayers. We will expecially pray on the 24th durng the memorial service. As Catholics, beyond personal prayer, the only other spirtual offering we can provide Richard and your family is to have a mass celebrated for the repose of Richard’s soul. Tomorrow I will go to our church and have a mass scheduled. I will let you know when the mass will be celebrated. Sincerly, Richard and Debbie

    • carolyn ibele

      Thank you so much Richard and Debbie for your condolences on the loss of our dear Richard. Thank you for your offerings as well. That is very thoughtful and kind and goes beyond gratefulness! We believe that Richard is now with the Lord and we will see him again. Each day is a little less painful. We are grateful for the wonderful memories and the blessings that our Richard brought to us and the world. We praise the Lord that our Deby is in one piece and she is taking one day at a time with the help of the family and the Lord of course. May the Lord restore you both to completeness in all ways and may you keep Him as the centre of your lives.

      Blessings from Carolyn (Crowe) Ibele and Family

      • Richard

        Carolyn and family,

        Catholic mass will be celebrated In Richard’s memory on 24 June at 1700 hours Arizona time. Father Ariel Lustan will be the celebrant. If you would like to receive the mass card please send me your mailing address. Deby and Richard and your entire family will remain in our daily prayers . Richard and Debbie

      • carolyn ibele

        Thank you so much Richard and Debbie – please send the mass card to me Carolyn Ibele c/o FaithLife Financial, 470 Weber Street North, Waterloo, ON N2J 4G4. This is very thoughtful of you and we much appreciate it. Coninued blessings and healing to you both.

  23. Andrea Hardy

    Just read about the accident. It’s incredible that so many escaped reasonably intact. Was Paul Moeller on this trip, and if so, how did he fare? Cheers and take care of yourselves.

    • ramblinmanjimj

      Paul Moeller is a friend of my girlfriend, Mary Matzek. He was in a serious accident August 16th and is healing. He was not on the Canyon De Chelly Trip. You can read details of his accident at the end of her post about Paul on August 18th.

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