It is an understatement to say 19-year-old Jacob Blanton is lucky to be alive.
Blanton, a resident of Holly Ridge, decided to go for a nice Thursday evening ride on his motorcycle down Highway 17 south into Wilmington.
“It was a nice night, figured I would take the bike out and enjoy a ride,” Blanton said Monday from his hospital bed.
In a split second, his joyride turned into tragedy.
“Whenever I hit the car, I remember being thrown off the bike,” Blanton said. “The bumper flew off the car, then I flew off the bike, slammed into the asphalt and then I remember going across the median lane and two lanes of oncoming traffic. I could see the headlights coming at me.
“When the headlights were coming at me, and I saw 18 wheelers whiz by, I figured it was the end of me.”
But it wasn’t. Blanton landed on the northbound lanes against the curb across from two churches.
Out of nowhere, he said what he believes to be a Marine came out of the church parking lot to help him.
“He got beside me and he got on his knees,” Blanton said. “He held my arms down and tried to get me to stay calm and then he was telling me, ‘It’s gonna hurt’ and he pulled his belt off and put it around my leg like a tourniquet. He said I was losing a lot of blood.”
Blanton was rushed by ambulance to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. EMS teams say if it wasn’t for the act of this good Samaritan service member, Blanton may not have survived.
“The nurse said, ‘If he hadn’t been there and put the belt around your leg like a tourniquet kit, you would have bled out before we even got there,’ but the good Lord was with me, I believe,” Blanton said.
Blanton’s sister, Jessica, posted on Facebook over the weekend what happened to her brother, and that he wanted to thank the Marine who helped save his life.
“Hundreds of people shared the photos and what happened to my brother,” Jessica Blanton said. “I heard it made its way all the way up to Georgia. On Saturday, we got a call that the Marine had seen the post and my brother contacted him and they talked.”
Jacob Blanton said he believes there was another Marine there who helped him. He says he heard more than one voice and may have seen another man in a uniform.
“If there is someone else out there, I would like to thank them for helping to save my life,” Jacob said. “I couldn’t see 100 percent straight and I was in a lot of pain, but I think there was another person.”
Blanton’s leg is broken in three places and he has several broken toes, but he is expected to make a full recovery with surgery scheduled for later in the week.
The incident has ended his motorcycle riding days forever.
“This was the first crash I have ever been in and the last one I’ll ever be in,” he said.
According to the Highway Patrol, Donald Joseph Myers has been charged with failure to yield in connection to the incident and his first court date is in June.
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