NC man nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ after surviving DWI hit-and-run, police say

Brandon Sowells and his injuries in WFMY photos.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WFMY) – Brandon Sowells has little memory of New Year’s Eve. The last thing he can see when he thinks back to that night, was watching the ball drop at midnight with his friends.

He doesn’t remember walking to a store. He doesn’t remember a car hitting and nearly killing him. He doesn’t remember an ambulance ride to Moses Cone Hospital.

He only remembers the 3-2-1 countdown before waking up a week later in ICU.

“I didn’t know what happened and I’m asking her (the nurse) how did I get here,” said Brandon. “I started freaking out because I was like I have to go to work! Unhook me, I’m going to lose my job! She said, ‘you’re not going nowhere’.”

According to a police report, Brandon was the victim of a hit and run. Police said the driver, Fabian Dwayne White, 25, of Maryland, turned himself in to officers.

White told police he hit Brandon with his car in the parking lot of the Madison at Adams Farm Apartments. But, police said his story didn’t match evidence at the scene where Brandon was found.

Police told Brandon they believe White hit him at one location, then moved his body somewhere else. White was charged with driving while impaired and felony serious injury by vehicle.

Brandon suffered two broken legs, a torn ACL, a hole in his intestines, two broken fingers and a broken neck. So far, he’s had at least three surgeries and now has a metal rod in his right leg.

“Metal rod that goes all the way up. I have five screws in my knee.”

Brandon spent 35 days in the hospital. On day 15, he took to Facebook, writing to all his friends, “I almost didn’t make it.” During his stay, he lost over 70 pounds.

“I went from 255 to almost 180.”

Doctors originally told him it would be mid-March before he could go home. But, his will to get better allowed his family to take him home two days before his birthday, on February 4th.

“The doctors and nurses were actually surprised and caught off guard with how well I’ve healed.”

Brandon sat in his living room in a wheelchair, smiling as his friends surprise him with a birthday cake, all the while, reliving the past month of his life.

“It put everything in perspective as far as my life is concerned.” said Brandon. “It’ll be awhile, if ever, I get back to 100 percent.”

But, the soon to be 28-year-old said he is still optimistic about his future. He said he likes to look at the glass half full. Yes, his body is broken, but his spirit is strong. And thanks to his endurance, his friends and family thought of the perfect nickname.

“Everyone’s being calling me Iron Man,” he laughed. “Because of all the metal in me and literally just surviving the accident and being alive.”

He said one day, he’ll get a tattoo of Iron Man, after his body heals from the multiple injuries. Brandon said it will take months for him to regain the ability to walk. During his down time, he plans to finish online college courses and dreams of one day owning his own food truck. He also said he wants to work towards completing a Spartan Endurance Race after he recovers.

But one thing he doesn’t have to work on; forgiveness.

“I forgive you, honestly,” Brandon said when asked if he had a message for the man who admitted to hitting him.

Brandon took it one step further admitting he’s made mistakes in the past, even driving once or twice while drinking.

“I’ve done it and I’ve had my close calls myself and I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I’ve been through. It’s sad this had to happen to me for me to realize, Brandon, this isn’t smart,” he explained. “One wrong decision can literally change your life. He could be dead. I could be dead.”

Before the accident, Brandon worked for an Elizabeth’s Pizza in Greensboro. His boss said his job will be waiting for him when once he heals. In the meantime, a Go Fund Me account was started to help with medical bills.

Police are still looking for information regarding the night Brandon was hit by White’s vehicle. Officers said the wreck happened between 2:30-4:30 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and that White drives a gold-covered 2013 Honda Accord.

Police asks anyone with information about the crash to contact Crime Stoppers at (336) 373-1000 or text the tip to 274637 using the keyword “badboyz.”

(© 2017 WFMY)

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