Riding with the angels
By Michael Johnson, Editor
Tom Bell likes the feel of the wind in his face. Sitting in a bed and watching TV is not his ideal way to spend two months of prime motorcycle riding. But after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in July he’s done little more than pray and go through daily rehabilitation in and around his bed. When he got up the strength to get up on his friend’s motorcycle Saturday afternoon it was a feeling of great freedom, even if he wasn’t the one driving. That Saturday, he rode off from Coleharbor with about 50 friends in tow, all supporting him and glad to see the old biker back in the saddle. He hasn’t had the chance since a tire on his Harley malfunctioned as he pulled out on I-94 on July 10 east of Bismarck. He’s still not entirely sure how the accident happened. Bell, a Riverdale resident and mechanic at the Leland Olds Power Plant near Stanton, remembers pulling unto the interstate but nothing beyond that point. When he woke from his drug-induced coma, over a week later, doctors walked him through his injuries. A few of those included a cut to the side of the head, a broken shoulder, broken arm, seven fractured ribs, and his leg was completely shattered to the point he had to have a donor’s leg bone replace his own. But on Saturday, two months after the accident, he walked into the Harbor Bar in Coleharbor on his crutches with a smile across his face.