They usually say seatbelts save lives.
However, Tyrone Franklyn, a 35-year-old employee of Crane and Equipment Limited, believes that had he not unstrapped himself from the truck he was driving seconds before it slammed into a cane trailer earlier this month, he could be dead.
As he sat up in his hospital bed with both his broken feet held together by titanium rods and in casts this afternoon, after undergoing surgery last night, Franklyn insisted that his actions saved his life.
“The people who saw the accident told me that the steering wheel was imprinted on the back of my seat,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“They also said that the metal rod which holds the steering wheel went right through the seat as well. “So if I had left on my seatbelt and stayed in that seat, that rod would have went straight through me and I would have been crushed by the steering wheel as well . . . so I would probably have been dead,” Franklyn added.
He recalled that after the truck had suddenly picked up a slide, he had fought to bring it under control but to no avail.
“The rain had just drizzled and the truck picked up a slide. I was trying to correct the slide to bring the truck under control but after I pressed brakes the truck just shot off.
“When I saw the trailer coming towards me I unbuckled my seatbelt, but the weight on the back of truck was so heavy that it just kept pushing the truck forward,” he revealed, as his mother Shirley Franklyn and girlfriend Kenya Franklyn listened attentively.
“As I got closer I told myself the only thing I can do is to try to pull the steering wheel as hard as possible . . . but unfortunately my legs got pinned.”
And while Franklyn said the good news was that he was told by the doctor he would be discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital within the next five days, he knows that he faces a long road to recovery.
“The doctor told me my legs are going to feel like rubber,” he noted while flashing a rare grin.
“I was told I’m going to have to use a wheelchair first and then a walker . . . and then as they begin to heal I will have to start using crutches so as not to put too much pressure on them.
“I’ll also have to do a lot of therapy to help strengthen them before I begin to walk again. I know it won’t be easy, but things could be worse,” he admitted.
Shirley, who was home when she received the call informing her of the accident involving the second of her three children, said when she arrived at the scene and saw the state of the truck she thought her son was dead.
“When I got the call I ran and went up there and when I saw the truck I thought he had died. Afterwards the police told me that he still had life so I was grateful for that.”