SALT LAKE CITY — A man is trying to put his life back together after he was badly injured in a road rage hit-and-run, only to have it happen again.
Jared Hansen can’t remember much about the accident that should have killed him last October.
“I don’t remember flipping. I don’t remember flying out of the car. I don’t remember anything,” he said.
His family members say the car careened off state Route 201 near 8000 West. Hansen was ejected, breaking several bones including a clean break at the bottom of his neck.
“I’ve got two pins in my neck. I’ve got pins in my hip,” Hansen said.
Now with his neck broken again, Hansen and his family are hoping someone saw something that can help identify the driver who sped away, leaving him shattered a second time.
Hansen's first crash was on I-15 in Mona, Juab County, about 11 years ago. In that first crash, one of the drivers hit the brakes suddenly — also known as “brake checking”— causing the accident. The other car drove off.
In Hansen's second crash, the driver of the other car knew a violent wreck had happened, since they stopped for a moment then drove away, according to Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said.
Doctors had to remove a chunk of Hansen’s skull to reduce swelling on his brain before going in to fix his spine. This is the second time Hansen has broken his neck due to a hit-and-run car crash.
Hansen’s sister, Alisha Hansen, remembers racing to the hospital only to be placed in a separate room to prepare for the worst.
“We heard bad news," she said. "It was that Jared was not going to make it.”
Doctors were only keeping him alive to harvest his organs, but roughly 10 minutes later, a miracle happened.
“They had come back saying they’d got movement out of him and that his pupils were dilating,” Alisha Hansen said.
But even after that, his mother, SueAnn Gardner, said water on his lungs nearly killed him.
“I remember looking at him thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s dying. He’s dying right before my eyes,’” Gardner said.
It all happened because of road rage between two drivers. Hansen was a passenger. Royce said road rage cases are difficult to investigate because it’s hard to know who was truly at fault, and, in many cases, it’s both drivers.
“There are always two different stories. There is always ‘Who is the aggressor? Who’s the victim?’” Royce said.
UHP is still searching for the driver of that silver BMW and they’re hopeful someone might remember seeing or hearing something about the crash on that afternoon last Oct. 22.
“We also look for other people that might … brag about what they’ve done or talk about what they’ve done,” Royce said.
Hansen counts himself lucky. He’s able to walk and isn’t sure why he survived.
“I can’t explain it. Just, somebody was watching over me,” he said.