POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Powhatan army veteran says his near-death experience in a motorcycle crash forced him to use life-saving measures until first responders could get to him.

David Amburn told 8News that on July 4 he was traveling through Powhatan County along Route 522 with his girlfriend and a few other friends when he crashed into a car driving on the yellow line.

Amburn said he used his left foot to bounce off the car and prevent his girlfriend — who was on the back of the bike — from receiving much of the impact.

However, he flipped over the handlebars onto another car before sliding on the asphalt. Amburn said his girlfriend also flipped off the bike and split her knee open.

(Photo courtesy of David Amburn)

Amburn said he landed about 10 feet away from his bike but his heart sunk when saw his left leg across the road from his motorcycle. Then his bike caught fire.

“I could see my femur,” Amburn said. “I could see the back side of my knee. I could see my tibia and fibula and all the muscle was just like a ball like that big. I knew there was nothing there.”

But as a veteran who served in the Army at 24 years old, Amburn didn’t waste any time using his belt as a tourniquet. 

“I pulled as tight as I could,” he said. “I was holding it with both hands.”

A tourniquet is an object used to apply pressure to a vein or artery to stop blood flow. Amburn said his staff sergeant in the army taught him how important this skill was.

“If I didn’t have my military training, I don’t think I would’ve made it,” he said.

First responders got to the scene minutes later. They blocked off a portion of the road and flew Amburn to the hospital.

“It felt like somebody was shooting a nail gun through my foot,” Amburn added.

(Photo courtesy of David Amburn)

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported in 2020 that motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to die in a crash.

On July 5, Virginia State Police reported nine deadly crashes during the Fourth of July holiday weekend — three of those crashes were on motorcycles.

AAA Mid-Atlantic reports a similar amount of driver turnout in Virginia during Labor Day weekend this year.

“Travelers are expected to take to the roads despite higher than usual gas prices,” the report reads. “AAA expects Labor Day holiday weekend travel volume could return to near pre-pandemic levels, as it did for the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.”

Amburn first started riding his Harley Davidson in April. His stepfather was a motorcycle driver and promised to teach him how to ride before he died from cancer. 

Amburn now has a plea for motorcyclists and drivers on the road.

“Watch out for each other and don’t speed,” he said. “Don’t throw your grass trimmings in the road. It’s dangerous for motorcyclists.  It’s legitimately driving on black ice.”

Amburn attended a few doctors’ appointments at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Hospital in Richmond this month. He was fitted for a wheelchair and will soon get a prosthetic leg. The hospital also installed a ramp at Amburn’s home.

(Photo courtesy of David Amburn)

“I’ve got a family that depends on me. I’ve got nephews that look up to me,” Amburn said. “What kind of influence would I be if I just let this overtake me?”

He hopes to one day ride his motorcycle again, but next time with more caution.

“It’s a community. It’s a brotherhood,” Amburn said.

Amburn said it was the community’s support that has been keeping him strong during this time. Frisby’s in Powhatan County will hold a benefit concert in October to help with Amburn’s recovery.