Today was a bad day. Chop rang my phone at 4:55am. He was at the Ryder Cup so I figured he was calling to tell me he was sitting front row waiting for Tiger to tee off. I didnt answer. He called again. I still didnt answer. Then I got to thinking that I should call him back. So I did. No answer. A few minutes later he called back. I answered and he told me that our friend Jason was missing. Jason is a very close friend to us. Jason had gone to the Iowa State football game the previous night and was supposed to drive back to our home town that night, but never showed up. His wife had called his parents around 3am. They took off driving and looking. Jason's dad called Chop and Chop called me.
Jason has had a couple of OWI's so my first thought was that he was sitting in a county jail because he tried to drive home drunk. I called all the county jails en route from Ames to our hometown. He was a resident at none of them. I was very concerned. It wasn't like Jason to not show up when he was expected without calling. I decided to drive up to Ames and pick up our friend Nick, whom Jason was with at the game. Nick and I proceeded to drive up the interstate looking for Jason.
The Winnebago county Sheriff had the phone company "ping" Jason's phone to give us a point of reference. It "pinged" to a cell phone tower south of the Dow's turnoff. Dow's is a small town about 45 minutes north of Ames. Nick and I sped to the Dows turnoff. There is a rest stop and a gas station there. We thought maybe Jason had decided to stop and was still sleeping there. We both thought if he was sleeping in his car at the rest stop we would kick his ass for making everyone worry and not calling. But like I said before, that wasn't something Jason would do.
There was no sign of Jason at the rest stop of the convenience store. Nick and I waited there for Jason's parents to come by so we could make a game plan. We decided to continue North on I35. We thought it was the route Jason was driving so we should head that way. We drove about ten miles and pulled off. We didnt want to get out of range of the cell phone "ping". At that point, another couple, Jason's parents friends, (the parents of two of our friends) showed up to help look. I had called their son very early in the morning and he notified them so they came to help. Very nice people.
From there the three carloads of us split up to search for Jason. We thought that we had searched the interstate and he was nowhere to be found. Nick and I did alot of gravel travel today. I don't have any clue as to why Jason might have been off the interstate but you never know what may have happened so we were searching everywhere.
About an hour later we recieved a call that Jason's aunt and uncle had joined the search and they had found him. They found his car in a drainage ditch along I35. Nick and I sped there. We got there just behind the Dows rescue team. Jason had crossed the median went into the ditch on the opposite side of the interstate and jumped a drainage ditch but didnt make it. He had hit nosefirst into the opposite side of the ditch and his car was resting at the bottom of the ditch. Thankfully we are in the midst of a drought so the ditch was empty. If you had seen his Envoy like I did you would think there is no way anyone survived. Jason had sat in his wrecked car unconscious for twelve hours.
Before I knew it the helicopter was there. Between the medics in the lifeflight and the Dows rescue team there are some great people. I couldnt thank them enough.
Jason is currently at St. Mary's in Rochester, MN. He basically crushed his lower body. Many issues from his pelvis to his feet. Above his waist he was bleeding out of his ear. It stopped but they are currently monitoring his brain for swelling and hemmoraging. He had surgery to fix a missing pulse in his left leg but cannot do anymore tests until his brain stabilizes.
I don't have any brothers. Jason, Chop and a couple of others are the closest thing I have to brothers. I grew up with them and we are very close. Today was one of the hardest days I have ever endured. Please pray for Jason. He needs it.