Motorcycle Crash Survivor Shares His Story
by Laura Monteverdi, Reporter
July 05, 2013 7:23 PM
Friends and family continue to mourn the loss of 23-year-old Jake Huggett, the young man who lost his life in a motorcycle crash in Sioux Falls on Tuesday morning.
Officials say Huggett and a passenger were traveling at a high rate of speed when they went through the intersection of 26th Street and Kiwanis Avenue and crashed into a chain link fence.
Huggett died at the scene.
“I just remember hitting the ground, waking up and seeing him and then my heart started seizing up and I passed out,” said Tobben Aischliman.
20-year-old Tobben Aischliman doesn't remember much of the night that he lost his one of his best friends, 23-year old Jake Huggett, in a motorcycle crash. It was a night that nearly cost him his own life too.
“Me and a friend that was here were kind of getting into it and so I needed to leave and just get out of the hous and Jake’s like hey lets go for a ride now and I was like alright," said Aischliman.
Aischliman and his friends were partying at his home on 26th Street in Sioux Falls when he decided to hop on the back of Huggett’s bike. It’s a decision he will always regret.
“I saw him have a few beers. I wasn't with him the whole night. Probably more than enough to not be drinking and driving that's for sure,” said Aischliman.
20 minutes later, the fatal crash occurred.
"I didn't know it was coming. I thought we might skid or something because we were coming at that light pretty fast. But we kept going," said Aischliman.
"I wish I would have known, but I keep telling myself I really couldn't do anything. I try not to blame anything on myself,“ said Tony Ridgeway.
20-year-old Tony Ridgeway is Aischliman’s roommate, and the lead singer of the band “Close Clearance” that Aischliman and Huggett were both a part of. He recalls what he remembers of that fatal night.
“I saw my roommate Tobben being put on the stretcher and into the ambulance. I saw his eyes moving so I knew he was at least OK at the time. But I looked at my other friend Jake and right after I looked over there they pulled the sheet over his head and I broke down. I just couldn't handle it anymore," said Ridgeway.
For Aischliman, a valuable lesson was learned that night; a lesson learned a little too late.
“It could have been prevented. We should have worn helmets. I wish we thought ahead about it before we did it,” said Tobben. “Yeah, we made a mistake.”
While his wounds will heal, Aischliman says the memories of that night will never fade away.
“We were both there on the ground and I don't know why or how come I got brought back, but he couldn't be. It kind of haunts me a little bit," said Aischliman.
Aischliman suffered a shattered scapula and a broken hand in the crash.
He says he will have to have surgery soon.