KELOLAND’s Don Jorgensen & wife share details of their crash, recovery

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been a little more than two weeks since KELOLAND’s 10 o’clock newscasts have been missing a familiar face. Evening anchor

Don Jorgensen and his wife Pam crashed when a car illegally turned in front of them this past Memorial Day. Now opening up about how they’re both doing since the crash.

“I’m doing ok, some days are better than others,” Don said.

Two weeks after their crash, the bruises are starting to fade.

“My arm was really bruised up to begin with, but this side was all trauma,” Don said.

But Don and and his wife Pam are still working to cope with their injuries.

“I broke my tibia down here, fractured my wrist up in here, fractured my cheekbone up in here, so you can still kind of see it’s swollen and a little disfigured,” said Don.

They spent five nights in the hospital where they both had two surgeries to repair their broken left legs.

“The first surgery they had to place, what we called an erector set,” Pam said. “Something to screw into the bones to keep it straight and sturdy, before they do the second surgery which was to put the rods in,” Pam said.

Now they’re continuing their recovery at home thanks to family helping to make their space more accessible.

“Our family has been amazing,” Don said.

“They basically converted our lower level so it can be handicap accessible, our neighbor even built us a ramp,” Pam said.

Don and his wife Pam return home from the hospital on June 5, 2021.

“Just getting around right now, it’s been a struggle,” Don said. “You take the little things for granted, just walking around, watering the flowers, going on walks together, just getting up and going to the refrigerator to get a water.”

“We’re lucky, I mean we really are lucky, but it doesn’t make things any easier. We’re definitely getting to know each other better than we have before, every minute of every day right next to each other because I help him and he helps me,” Pam said.

A bond that’s grown stronger since the crash completely changed their perspective on life.

“I remember hitting the brakes, and laying the bike down, after we got hit, I guess we went tumbling. And I remember most of it, my first thought was like, ‘Oh my God, how’s my wife’,” Don said.

“I just remember thinking ‘where’s Don’ and I heard somebody behind me say, ‘where’s all this blood coming from’ and I’m looking and I don’t see any blood on me so I knew that it was him,” Pam said.

“I remember blood coming down into my mouth, into my ear, dripping in front of me, I tried to stand up and I couldn’t. All the people were there so fast and they were just telling me to ‘lay back, lay back’,” Don said.

A traumatic moment many motorcyclists know all too well.

“They always say the most dangerous place on the road for a motorcyclist is an intersection and we just found that out,” Don said.

It’s Don’s first crash during a lifetime of riding.

“I grew up riding a motorcycle since I was in 6th grade, I had motorcycles all my life. Pam and I, on weekends, that’s what we do. When the weather’s nice we go riding, even when it’s not nice sometimes, we love to ride,” Don said.

While their wheelchairs aren’t the kind of wheels they’d like to be riding this summer…

“We will ride again, the first chance we get,” Don said.

They’re both incredibly thankful they’ll be able to get out on the road again.

“A lot of people say you’re lucky to be alive, I know one thing, we are, we’re happy to be here,” Don said.

Pam is grateful to still be able to celebrate with family

“My daughter gets married July 31st, I don’t think I’m going to be able to walk down the aisle, but it will be fine,” Pam said.

And Don is looking forward to another chance to return to his passion of more than 30 years.

“I long to get back into the studio and I don’t know when that will be,” Don said. “But I look forward to that day when I can sit back down at the anchor chair and say ‘good evening KELOLAND’. That will be a good day,” Don said.

It will be a good day for all of KELOLAND as its clear many viewers miss seeing Don too. He and Pam say the outpouring of support from everyone in the community has been incredible and continues to help encourage them and push them through their recovery.

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