mainmbutimelinelogo-copy

Stronger: An ATV Accident Unites Family

Jerason Gines reflects on family members’ accident and the importance of cherishing the people in our lives.

The family remains close after a frightening accident

The family remains close after a frightening accident.

__________________________________________________

Note from the Author: As Christmas approaches I am reminded of a terrible day when I was 5 years old and my family and I were taught that each day we should count our blessings and be thankful for what we have and who we have in our lives.

For many the babbling brooks and wonderful scenery of the New Columbia hills can calm and clear your mind, but for two brothers the hills are a constant reminder of a fight of a lifetime.

Jeremy Hunerkoch, 18, and Justin Hunerkoch, 6, were enjoying the clear spring weather when suddenly their day of brotherly bonding changed their lives forever.

“Before I knew it I was underwater and could feel the four-wheeler’s weight on top of me,” Jeremy Hunerkoch said as he recalled the horrifying incident which happened May of 1996.

The two brothers were on an old family four-wheeler they had ridden countless times before without any unexpected incidents.

As they made their way up a small hill in their front property, panic came over Jeremy Hunerkoch when he noticed that the four-wheeler was on its back two wheels and falling rapidly backward.

“There was nothing I could do but try and keep the four-wheeler stable and guide it back down the hill before it flipped,” said Jeremy, but to his dismay the four-wheeler did flip and sent the two brothers in a dangerous tumble.

When the brothers hit the bottom of the hill, they landed underneath the weight of the 500 pound ATV and were sinking to the bottom of a small creek bed with their heads and bodies completely submerged.

“I was young so I don’t recall much of the incident, but I do recall the fear I felt as a 6-year-old boy hanging on to what I thought would be my last breaths,” Justin said as he recalled laying helplessly underneath the water’s surface.

Just when their situation seemed grim, Jeremy Hunerkoch summoned everything in his body and tried to push the ATV off of him and his younger brother, using what little strength he had left.

The adrenaline was flowing and desperation had completely taken over his body, but Jeremy was finally able to wiggle out from underneath the four-wheeler and rescue his adolescent brother.

As Jeremy ran back toward their house, carrying his younger brother, he began yelling for their mother, who had heard the commotion and was franticly looking for the boys.

“The only thought I had was that I had killed my little brother and it was all my fault,” said Jeremy Hunerkoch, who at the time did not know whether or not his brother was unconscious or lifeless.

Patty Hunerkoch, the boys’ mother, found the two boys and quickly took control of the situation, assessing them for injuries and reviving Justin back to consciousness.

“So many emotions went through my mind when I caught up to the boys, but the first was that I had to make sure they were OK, that was obviously the most important,” said Patty Hunerkoch.

Thankfully Dr. Thomas Staton assessed both boys with only minor injuries and both have a much-deserved respect for ATVs and other large off-road vehicles.

None of the family members will ever forget this day and the brothers will always remember the day they fought for their lives and came out stronger.

 

Jerason Gines

Jerason Gines

Jerason Gines is Managing Editor for MBU Timeline. Gines is a junior majoring in Public Relations. He is a member of the men’s volleyball program and works as a student ambassador for Missouri Baptist University. After graduating, Gines would like to pursue a career as a magazine editor.

@mbutimeline

Recent Stories

About MBU Timeline

MBU

DID YOU KNOW?
   
Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
   
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
   
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
   
*The WordPress website has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
   
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
   
*We have readers in every state and more than 90 countries around the world. We have several readers in South America, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
   
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
   
*We do not accept advertising as we are a not-for-profit online newsmagazine.
   
*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Reach out to us on Twitter at: @mbutimeline.