On July 16, Sgt. Kiley Sargent and a few of his friends from the Hall County Sheriff's Office decided to go for a motorcycle ride on a stretch of winding, mountain road known as the "Dragon."
This trip was not at all ordinary though the group makes it a point to ride their motorcycles in the mountains regularly. Though the weather wasn't ideal that morning, it turned into a beautiful day.
The group spent the day riding the 11-mile-long stretch of U.S. 129 in North Carolina, a road popular with motorcyclists because of its many hairpin turns.
On the way home, Sargent decided to go to the front of the group, taking the place of a friend whose daughter rode on the back of the bike. Sargent said the action was inexplicable.
"Right after that, not five minutes later, we went into a curve and that's when I saw this guy coming across the center line," Sargent said.
The motorcycles collided, throwing the riders into the street.
"I remember the accident. Going over the handle bars and laying on the shoulder and all my friends stopped, and it was like clockwork. Everybody knew what to do," Sargent said.
Sargent's left leg was broken in three places near his ankle, and his face sliced down the center, from his nose to his lip. Both riders suffered head injuries and were flown to an area hospital.
That night, Sargent underwent surgery on his leg and a facial surgeon was called in to mend his lips and nose.
Three of his friends drove their motorcycles to the hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. and spent the night with him there.
"It was very comforting to know I had friends there. I was in a strange hospital in a strange town," he said.
He was allowed to return home that Wednesday. He rode lying down in the back of a cruiser. He called the five-hour ride home a "trek."
"Of course, I felt every bump in the road. I am certainly glad to be home," he said.
With every familiar sight, from the Georgia state line to Hall County to his street, his relief increased. He said it never felt so good to see his house.
His fractures are still a source of discomfort but he is able to get around with the use of a walker. He is in high spirits and laughed as he said he hopes to graduate to crutches soon because "the walker is a little bit more cumbersome in the house."
The doctors told Sargent to stay off of his leg for the next week at least.
He expects to start physical therapy in the next few weeks.
They tell him it will be at least two months before he can go back to work.
He said in his 22 years of service at the Sheriff's Office, he has seen a lot of motorcycle accidents much worse than his own. He said he feels very lucky.
"I'm just really thankful. I thank the Lord everyday for just how much more serious this could have been. I'm so thankful for all the friends and family and the support that I've gotten since I came home," he said.