Brent Maze: Two years and still kicking

Published 10:15 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

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This past Sunday was a big anniversary for myself. It marked two years into the recovery from a bad crash that I had in Decatur, Mississippi.

I was the publisher of that paper. I was on my way to a chamber board of directors meeting when the unthinkable happened.

I still to this day don’t remember the impact or what exactly caused the crash. I’ve been able to reconstruct what happened thanks to seeing the photos from the aftermath and knowing the location of the accident.

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I was coming up a blind hill. When I got to that top, there was a slower moving vehicle there that I could not stop in time. It all happened so fast that the details are still very fuzzy. All I remembered was coming to and the sheriff was standing over me and telling me not to move. 

They loaded me into an ambulance to the hospital in Meridian. When I got there, I don’t really remember a whole lot of what happened. I know they did CT scans.

While they were looking over those scans, I remember a doctor was sewing up a severe gash above my right eye where there’s still a minor scar there. Then, they came to me and told me that they were concerned that I might have a brain bleed or something like that.

Because they didn’t do neurology, they decided to send me to UAB Hospital. Another ambulance loaded me up and took me up I-20/59 to the hospital. And I can tell you this, I remember where every pothole and bump was in the interstate because the fracture in my spine felt it every time. I don’t know exactly how long it took for me to get there, but it definitely seemed like the fastest trip to Birmingham I can ever remember. 

UAB then did their own scans of me. I don’t know if they read the scans wrong in Meridian or if perhaps a miracle happened on the way, but fortunately, I did not have a brain bleed or any type of brain injury. 

However, I did have a fractured spine, fractured knee, fractured wrist, fractured toe, fractured ribs along with that big ole gash on my head. That night in the emergency room was a busy one, unfortunately, as it was the same night as the “boomers potluck” shooting at a Vestavia Hills church. At least two of the victims came to the hospital that night, both of them died I would later learn.

Because I had been stabilized, It took a while to get back to me and they sent me up to the ninth floor. A day later, they would do surgery on my spine to stabilize it, and thus the path to recovery began. 

I am so grateful to the doctors and nurses at UAB Hospital for everything they did for me, along with my doctors and nurses at Brookwood Hospital where I was able to do inpatient therapy. It is great to see the relationship that UAB has with Selma.

There are times I still get nervous when I drive. I am worried that it will happen again sometimes and that I’ll have a momentary lapse of awareness. 

One piece of advice I will share with you is wear your seatbelt. I do believe that my injuries might not have been as severe if I had worn my seatbelt. I did get ticketed for not wearing it in the accident, but I didn’t need the ticket to reinforce the need for wearing my seatbelt.

Anyway, I am so glad to be back as close to full strength as I can for being a 43-year-old man. I know I am very fortunate that I am able to be independent. I’ve seen many accidents since then where people were not as fortunate as I was. Some have died. Some are paralyzed. 

I’m just very glad to be where I am, and I am doing my best to cherish each day.

Brent Maze is the publisher of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at