Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

September 23, 2013

Man’s skydiving dream turns to nightmare

LOUISVILLE — For 26-year-old David Meek, optimism in the face of adversity is a philosophy he must live by after a skydiving accident has left him debilitated.

“I’ve always heard it has to get worse before it gets better,” Meek said from his bed at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.

 On Aug. 3, Meek’s daredevil dreams became a reality when he participated in a tandem skydive in Lumberton, Miss.

 The Floyd County man compared the experience to swimming through open water. From three miles high, the world before him was like a puzzle, with the many roads and waterways laying out the pieces.

 This dream quickly dissolved to a nightmare.

 “I remember (my instructor) him pulling the cord and nothing happened,” Meek said referring to his partner who was tied to the same parachute. “I heard him say, ‘Oh, shoot!’ and I asked him what’s wrong but he didn’t say anything. I asked him over and over but he didn’t answer.”

 The parachute had not deployed properly from the pack. Unable to catch any wind, the chute tangled as they continued their descent.

 The instructor, James Horak, Jr., was a veteran Special Forces medic with over 8,000 jumps to his credit. Meek said that Horak frantically attempted to cut the lines of the parachute so they could deploy the emergency chute.

 “The parachute provided some resistance, but we kept falling and spinning so fast,” Meek said. “I just kept praying and praying and praying the whole way down until I blacked out.”

 He woke to find they landed in a swamp. He said the impact left him in a hole three to four feet wide.

 Meek said he was lying on Horak’s legs when he woke up and both men were paralyzed from the waist down.

 According to Meek, Horak passed away from the severity of his injuries one hour after they landed.

 “I was out there four hours, five hours,” Meek said. “I felt like I was starting to go, too. I just prayed to God and said, ‘God, please don’t let this be it, but if it is, take my body into your hands. I don’t want to go anywhere else except to you.’”

 Finally, Meek heard a four-wheeler close by.

 Meek said he cleared his airway as best he could and called out to the rider. The landowner, Patrick Halcomb, was among many searching for the two after they landed away from the planned drop zone.

 “He’s my hero,” Meek said with a smile. “God sent him straight to me. If he had shown up 15 to 30 minutes later than he did, I wouldn’t have made it.”

 Meek was unconscious for two weeks after the accident, occasionally waking for a few minutes at a time.

 His mother, Londa Sue Lafferty, said all he would utter in those moments was, “He’s dead, mommy,” in reference to Horak.  Lafferty rushed from Kentucky to Mississippi to see her son after he had undergone nine hours of surgery on his back, ribs and jaw.

 Meek’s condition continues to improve. Barely a month after the accident, Meek is able to stand with assistance.

 “I’m just meeting God halfway,” he said. “That’s why I do everything double, because I have to meet him halfway.”

 Meek attributes every bit of progress he has to the strength God is giving him right now.

 Even though he is in pain, he is very thankful for the second chance at life.

 “God gives me the pain to not forget He saved me,” Meek said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • City to seek proposals for floating restaurant

    The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday voted to advertise for proposals to locate a floating restaurant on the city’s riverfront.

    April 24, 2014

  • Luallen says no to 2015 governor’s race

    After months of deliberation, former state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen announced Thursday she will sit out the 2015 race for governor.

    April 24, 2014

  • BREAKING: APD probes gun report near Blazer campus

    April 24, 2014

  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone