Three months after Clay Bloodworth sustained life-threatening injuries in a Lexington crash, the UNC School of the Arts student is retiring his walker and getting back on his feet.
Bloodworth, 20, sustained two broken femurs, three broken vertebrae and several broken ribs after he was struck head-on by a woman driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone in August.
“I’m really excited to get back to classes and see my friends,” said Bloodworth, who was visiting Winston-Salem this past week from Florida where he has been completing physical therapy. “I’m slowly getting back to normal.”
Bloodworth had titanium rods placed in his legs and underwent several surgeries to repair holes in his intestines after the Aug. 30 wreck. He had to take the fall semester off to recover.
Lashantha S. Wilson, 33, of Lexington, was charged with speeding 75 mph in a 35 mph-zone, reckless driving, driving left of center and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, the Davidson County District Attorney’s office said Thursday.
Wilson, who wasn’t injured in the wreck, is next scheduled to appear in court Jan. 11 in Davidson County.
“There’s been a lot of things to adjust to, like using a shower chair and re-learning to walk and other things I didn’t think I’d have to deal with at my age,” said Bloodworth, who is planning to return to school in January. “I want her to understand that she made a mistake that cost me a lot.”
Bloodworth was leaving his Lexington girlfriend’s home around 1 a.m. on Aug. 30 when he was struck.
Bloodworth, an aspiring filmmaker, said he doesn’t remember much from the accident or the following weeks, some of which he spent unconscious.
“It’s been a long road. He’s very lucky he survived,” his mother, Stacey Bloodworth, said. “He’s been getting better, but he’s only just got to the point where his stomach is closed from all the operations repairing his abdomen.”
After Bloodworth was declared stable in late September, he was transported by ambulance from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to a hospital in Florida near where his parents live, his mother said.
He spent the month of October doing three hours of occupational and physical therapy a day at a specialty hospital as he learned to walk again, Bloodworth said. He can now walk short distances without his walker.
“It’s been pretty hard. My femurs feel different,” he said. “I can walk more, but it still hurts after a little while.”
While Bloodworth has made progress, doctors said he could continue to deal with repercussions from the accident for a while to come.
But, a small silver lining has been all the interesting people he’s met along the journey, he said. From physical therapists to hospital employees, he envisions them as future characters in the films he makes.
Bloodworth, who began making movies when he was 13, has received awards from around the country, including best student film at the Illinois Film Festival in 2016 and a silver award at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in 2014, when he was in high school.
He likes to make “documentary-esque dramas,” he said.
“At a certain point, I realized I spent too much of my free time just watching movies, so I figured I’d spend my time trying to make them,” Bloodworth said.
In October, UNCSA held a showing of Bloodworth’s favorite film, “George Washington,” directed by school alumnus David Gordon Green, as a fundraiser.
The community also raised nearly $8,000 on Go Fund Me to help his family with hospital and rehabilitation bills.
Bloodworth said he plans to continue school in January as a third-year student and is working on arranging an independent study with a professor so he can get up to speed on his studies.
“It’s definitely been frustrating, but I’m excited for next semester,” Bloodworth said. “This has changed my life.”