EUGENE — Tucker Bowman headed back to work Monday.
That may not seem like much to others immersed in the daily grind, but returning to his job is momentous for Bowman and his family.
Last June, a speeding car struck Bowman while he stood in the street near his north Eugene home, nearly killing him.
After eight months of recovering from severe injuries, Bowman was to return to his job with the engineering and consulting firm CH2M Hill. “It’s a very big day," said Bowman, 30.
His wife, Katy, said the couple are grateful for the support of family and friends.
The people at CH2M Hill, an international company, were especially kind by keeping her husband’s job for him all this time, raising funds to help with family expenses and sending get-well wishes from around the world, she said.
“It was just incredible," Katy Bowman said during an interview.
The car that struck Bowman fractured his skull in three places. Every bone in his face was broken. His hip and thigh bone were broken. He had seven broken ribs and other injuries.
Bowman spent three weeks in critical condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, slipping into a coma for 10 days and developing a blood clot in his lungs.
He went into respiratory failure and was hooked to a breathing machine for two weeks.
But Bowman, a father of two young daughters and stepdad to a 13-year-old boy, refused to give in to his injuries.
He finally started getting better. After being moved to Sacred Heart Medical Center University District, Bowman came home in August and spent the months since regaining his mental and physical abilities through therapy.
“I always tell him how proud of him I am because some people would have fallen apart," said Katy Bowman, financial manager of the NeuroSpine Institute in Eugene. “But he wanted to get better. And he really worked so hard. It’s been an honor to watch him."
Bowman, listening to his wife, said, “You are going to make me cry."
Bowman’s near-death traumatized his family, his neighbors and the 16-year-old driver who hit him.
But the experience reinforced the couple’s beliefs about never taking loved ones for granted.
The tragedy also contributed to the city installing six speed bumps on the street next to the Bowmans’ home. The bumps, one of which is near where Bowman was hit, are an attempt to curb the longstanding problem of motorists speeding in the neighborhood.
“The collision triggered the whole neighborhood to get something done," said Dwain Murphree, who lives across the street from Bowman.
Minda Drive is a neighborhood street used by local residents. But it also gets a lot of cut-through traffic because it connects a pair of busy streets.
Constructed years ago before modern street designs intended to slow traffic became common, Minda Drive is wide and straight, and it doesn’t have stop signs along its nearly half-mile length. Those conditions contribute to motorists driving faster than the 25 mph speed limit, city transportation planning engineer Chris Henry said.
Bowman recalls little about what happened on June 12. He said he was watering bushes on the side of his house around 9:30 p.m. when he took a couple of steps onto Minda Drive, in order to pull more of the garden hose to where he was watering.
“The only thing I remember is seeing a car drive by me real fast," he said.
Katy Bowman said police later told her the car that struck her husband had been traveling between 40 and 50 mph.