Austintown truck driver Earl Evans is getting ready to go from 18 wheels down to two to help a young Salem college student who was injured earlier this year. He will be riding 1,000 miles in 24 hours on his classic Victory motorcycle.
The student he will be helping is Alissa Boyle. On Feb. 21 of this year, she was traveling in Perry Township with several fellow nursing students and a professor from Waynesburg University when they came across a flipped vehicle on an overpass on interstate 79. According to news reports from that date, it was dark and the students quickly decided to help the victim of the roll-over. As they were helping, a commercial vehicle was approaching the overpass and didn't see the students. Acting quickly, the students opted to jump from the overpass, not being able to see how high it actually was.
Boyle, 22, of Salem, and Cami Abernathy, 21, of Sewickley, both plunged more than 40 feet. A third student hung on the edge of the overpass until rescued. Abernathy suffered four crushed vertebrae and had to have a spinal implant.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Earl Evans of Austintown, is preparing to go 1,000 miles in 24 hours to help raise funds for a young Salem student injured while trying to help a crash victim.
Boyle also suffered a spinal injury and has been given a one percent chance of ever walking again, according to information Evans received. He said Waynesburg University is currently accepting donations for both young women to help with their medical costs and rehabilitation.
Being on the road a lot, news quickly spreads between truck drivers and Evans soon heard about it. Making it even closer to home, he found out that Boyle was the daughter of a high school friend.
"I went to school (Western Reserve High School) with Alissa's mother Lori (Young) Boyle," Evans said. "I can't even imagine a kid who was close to graduating, who just got engaged the week before the incident, then pow, her whole life is changed in a second."
When he learned of the situation, he decided to do something to help. In late June, he will plan a 24-hour motorcycle run that will cover more than 1,000 miles. He will start from Canfield and head into Sudberry, Ontario, Canada. From there he will travel the Georgian Bay and take a ferry to Buffalo, N.Y., then back home. He is planning about seven stops along the way and said if he can stay above 40 miles an hour, the 1,000 miles in 24 hours will be easy to reach.
"I've done several of these rides for Shriner's Hospital and for the American Cancer Society," Evans said. "If you take your time, it's really not that hard."
He said he will travel only two-lane highways and stay off the interstates.
As for donations, he said anyone can donate by sending a check made out to "Alissa Boyle Benefit" and send them to M.E. Evans Trucking, P.O. Box 522, Canfield, Ohio, 44406. He said an account has also been set up at Farmers National Bank to accept donations.
Evans said that Alissa is still in rehab, but in spite of her injury and the odds doctors gave her, she is remaining positive that she will recover.
"She is in the fight of her life and is optimistic about recovering from her spinal cord injuries," Evans said. "She is taking on the odds and has told them all that she will walk again."