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Kelly Stevens speaks candidly about life-changing crash

4:12 PM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Last month, listeners of B98's morning show got a bit of a shock. Popular host Kelly Stevens was badly injured in a crash on his way to work.

The wrong-way driver who hit him was killed.

What most people didn't know is the extent of Stevens' injuries and how that crash has changed his life.

"I've done it every weekday for years."

Kelly Stevens is talking about the commute, the way one can do it on autopilot, the same road, the same time of day for years. For Stevens, one half of the Vikki and Kelly Show on b 98.5, the morning of August 24th was like any other. It was 3 a.m., he was driving to work, heading south on 400.

"I probably made it to the freeway by 3:05 a.m., now I'm 400 Southbound and I'm merging over to the left lane like I always do."

A few minutes later, Stevens says he saw a van next to him flashing its lights. What he didn't know is that the driver was trying to warn him. 

"From the time I looked over to the van and saw his lights flashing to the time I looked back to my lane of travel, a second went by and the car was there."

Unlike many crash victims, Stevens remembers every second of the head on collision he was about to have with a wrong way driver.

"I remember the explosion -- it was this terrific loud, abrupt explosion and I remember seeing the hood of my car start crinkling in and that point the airbag went off."

Steven's Toyota 4runner flipped several times. He was not wearing his seatbelt.

"I could feel the sensation of just tumbling. And it stopped and I guess it stopped with the car on its hood upside down and I was somewhere in the back seat on my stomache -- and there was just silence, there wasn't a sound, nothing."

One month after the crash, one week out of the hospital, Stevens is still at the beginning of his recovery. A shattered arm and leg, broken ribs and a fractured vertebrae mean he still cannot walk, but he is alive, something emergency responders and e-r docs said is amazing. Stevens says the flashbacks of the crash are constant.

"Sometimes I'll get a strange sensation in my mouth, like the taste of the airbag powder."

And sometimes he still can't believe he's here.

"It's a miracle. It's the only thing that made sense. It's the only thing I can think of. It's the only thing that made sense. That poor girl."

Stevens breaks down talking about 22 year old Carly Royball, the wrong way driver killed on impact.

The crash has given Stevens perspective. He proposed to his girlfriend Katie Buser.

Buser says, "I've told him over and over again I would rather have him broken in a thousand pieces than be dead. It's totally totally worth it."

He will be a father to her two boys.

"They're good kids. That makes it easy. And they love me and I love them."

The wedding is next month. Walking is next month. A return to radio, the rest of his life -- will come after that.

"I got a second chance at life and not a lot of people do that. I'm going to make the most out of it."

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