On April 18, 2015, Ray and Angie Eidson made their way to Rural King in Marion on their Harley Davidson motorcycle, riding alongside their friend, Randy Reeder.
They went to purchase chaps for Angie as motorcycle season was upon them but as they drove down Ohio 4, a teen driver ran through the stop sign at the Ohio 4 exit off of US 23, changing Ray’s life forever and ultimately, ending Angie’s life.
“She T-boned us. I don’t know how, but Randy was not hit, thank God,” Ray said.
Ray would later learn that the teen driver, Christina Widrig, was traveling 16 miles per hour as she glided through the stop sign.
“Angie told her sister that she looked right at the girl but their eyes never met, she never looked up,” Ray said.
Ray said he was thrown about 40 feet from the motorcycle while Angie landed in front of him, about 45 feet from the impact of the crash.
Both Ray and Angie, who lived in Chatfield, were taken by medical helicopter to Grant Medical Center in Columbus.
“We didn’t get to see each other at first. It was funny because Angie was having the nurses take photos of my breakfast tray and show them to her so she could make sure I was eating,” Ray said with a grin.
The couple met when they were children.
“I think Angie was 5-years-old when they moved into our neighborhood,” Ray said.
The couple married in July of 1988 and always took care of each other. Angie battled kidney disease yet always worked and by all accounts, always had a smile on her face.
“I gave her dialysis treatments at home, every morning at 4:30 a.m. before we both headed to work,” said Ray, who owned and operated his own construction and roofing company until the crash. “We always took care of each other.”
Ray’s left leg had to be removed due to the severity of his injuries while Angie lost one leg and was scheduled to have her right hand and other leg removed.
“She had told her mom that she did not think she could live like that. She had a stroke on the day her leg was to be removed,” said Ray. “She fought so hard to live all those years but this was just too much.”
Angie died that day, May 13, 2015.
“I miss her every day,” said Ray, a look of pain flashing across his face.
Widrig was sentenced on May 12 after she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter and failure to yield in Marion County and was sentenced to 11 days in jail and 16 under in-home monitoring, as an alternative to a full 17-day sentence. She will also be required to perform 24 hours of weekend observation at a Columbus trauma center and 40 hours of community service in Marion County. Following her release from jail, Widrig will be placed on three years of probation. She is prohibited to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and her driver’s license has been suspended until May 12, 2019.
But Ray said the most important part of Widrig’s sentence is that she has to speak to students at all 10 high schools in both Crawford and Marion counties about the dangers of disoriented driving.
“I hope her story makes young drivers focus on their driving and to stop, look both ways, pay attention. And everyone needs to look out for motorcycles,” said Ray. “Bike week in Sandusky is coming up and I worry about my friends that will be going.”
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 163 motorcycle-related fatalities in 2015. The Ohio Department of Transportation reports a total of 3,870 crashes involving motorcycles happened in 2013.
Ray said he has forgiven Widrig.
“Angie told her sister and mom before she died that she is just a little girl and that she could not die with hate in her heart. If Angie could forgive her, I needed to also. I know the accident has made a huge impact on her and I feel she truly is sorry for her mistake,” Ray said.
Ray said that he has learned to walk with a prosthetic leg, has returned to playing on a golf league and will ride again.
“I want to buy a trike in the future. That’s the only way I can ride again,” Ray said. “Please watch out for motorcycles. Take an extra second at the stop sign. I really hope to be back in the wind myself someday. Angie and I loved to ride. I miss you Angie.”
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras