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Georgia on My Mind

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Stanley/Released)

Permanently injured and disfigured in a car crash, Master Sgt. David Ingram, Air Combat Command's weapons safety manager, shares his story of driving fatigued. (Courtsey photo/Released)

(Courtesy photo/Released)

Recovering in the hospital following a 2012 accident in which his brother fell asleep at the wheel, Master Sgt. David Ingram suffered several broken ribs, a fractured right ankle, a broken thumb, shattered teeth and a gashed tongue, as well as losing 13 inches of his small intestine. He also sustained burns and lacerations to his face, which required 35 stitches, and lost nearly two liters of blood. (Courtsey photo/Released)

(Courtesy photo/Released)

Recovering in the hospital following a 2012 accident in which his brother fell asleep at the wheel, Master Sgt. David Ingram suffered several broken ribs, a fractured right ankle, a broken thumb, shattered teeth and a gashed tongue, as well as losing 13 inches of his small intestine. He also sustained burns and lacerations to his face, which required 35 stitches, and lost nearly two liters of blood. (Courtsey photo/Released)

(Courtesy photo/Released)

After Master Sgt. David Ingram's brother fell asleep at the wheel, their Ford F-150 truck drifted off the road, hit an embankment and went airborne over a trench. The front end of the vehicle violently slammed into the ground. They were only a few miles from their final destination. While Ingram suffered severe injuries, his brothers only sustained minor cuts and bruises. Fortunately, all three were wearing seat belts. (Courtsey photo/Released)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- "I heard a rumbling noise, then silence … then an intense ‘BANG!’ followed by another."

Those sounds echoed through Master Sgt. David Louis Ingram Jr.'s ears during a tragic car accident that changed his life forever.

While visiting family in southern Georgia on Nov. 3, 2012, Ingram, a weapons safety manager at Langley Air Force Base, Va., was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle as the driver, his brother Sam, veered off the road after succumbing to the effects of fatigue.

"I started feeling tired, so I asked my brothers if they were going to be alright to finish the trip home," Ingram said. "I was under the impression that my other brother Randy was going to stay up with Sam while I took a nap."

But Sam drifting off to sleep then drifted off the road only a few miles from their destination. Their truck hit an embankment, sending it airborne over a trench. The front end of the vehicle violently slammed into the ground.

“After I gathered myself, I looked around and noticed my brother slumped over the steering wheel not moving," Ingram said. "He finally came to and seemed really dazed. He walked around to the front of the truck, opened the door and got me out.”

Ingram’s stomach began to hurt – badly. Then it instantly swelled, he said.

Ingram's brothers, who only suffered minor injuries, rested him on his back next to the crumpled truck and dialed 911. The ambulance arrived about 45 minutes later.

"It seemed like forever for the ambulance to get there," Ingram said. "Once they got me on the stretcher, I was out."

He spent the next 12 days in the hospital.

Ingram suffered several broken ribs, a fractured right ankle, a broken thumb, shattered teeth and a gashed tongue, as well as losing 13 inches of his small intestine. He also sustained burns and lacerations to his face, which required 35 stitches.

"My doctor explained to me that I had lost almost two liters of blood," Ingram said. "Had I been there a little longer, I would have bled out."

All three of the brothers wore seat belts, which is probably why all three survived, Ingram said. But he admits they still made plenty of mistakes when it came to driving fatigued, decision-making and planning.
“We should have planned a little better,” Ingram said. “Any time you’re fatigued, pull over. I never thought I would be in this situation since I work in safety. It just goes to show it doesn’t matter who you are, it all comes down to planning.”