Henry County

‘He was definitely an angel.’ Good Samaritan rescues motorcyclist who almost died on side of road

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A motorcyclist who lost his leg in a recent crash credits an angel for saving his life.

Dylan Durham, 23, was driving his motorcycle on June 8 near Stockbridge when he hit a deer around 4 a.m.

As he was lying critically injured on the side of the road, Joe Hoagland was on his way home along Hemphill Road.

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“It was blocking the road, so I couldn’t pass,” said Hoagland when he came across the mangled bike. He stopped and looked around with his flashlight. “All of a sudden, I heard this little voice, the little murmur. It was from a distance.”

The voice was calling for help.

He found Durham lying on the roadside, his right leg severed at the knee.

“All he kept telling me was man, please don’t let me die,” he said. “That’s all he kept telling me – please don’t let me die.”

Hoagland called 911, stressing to the dispatcher how severe the injuries were. But he said his main priority was keeping Durham, who’s an expectant father, comforted and calm.

“We talked about his family, we talked about his baby on the way, we talked about where he’s going to school,” Hoagland said.

Durham was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Hoagland’s wife managed to track down Durham’s mother on social media and arranged for the two men to meet in the hospital room. Durham suffered not only a severed leg but also a broken arm, fractured foot, crushed fingers, and other injuries.

“I remember the whole thing,” Durham said. “I never lost consciousness.”


He was driving his Yamaha 600 to a friend’s home when he crashed into the deer.

“I was screaming help, help, and he pulled up and found me,” Durham said. “I told him I got a baby on the way – I can’t die, bro. Please don’t let me die. He said you’re not going to die.”

In truth, Hoagland should not have been driving along Hemphill Road – it’s a route he rarely takes home from work.

“God put me there for a reason because I can’t explain it,” he said.

“He was definitely an angel, definitely an angel,” Durham said, who’s expected to go home from the hospital on Friday.

And he has a lot to look forward to in the coming months: “Taking care of my baby. I’ve got to take care of these kids, taking care of my family.”

Hoagland said he and Durham have forged a bond that will last a lifetime, “We’ll always stay connected. I feel like God put us together for a reason.”

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