Driver struck by concrete struggles to pay medical bills

New law makes man's legal battle difficult

Published On: Jan 17 2013 09:23:29 AM CST
FALL RIVER, Wis. -

A drive home nine months ago on U.S. Highway 151 changed a man's life forever when a softball-sized piece of concrete crashed through his windshield, seriously injuring him.

Now, Kevin Droz is in a legal battle that seems to have little hope.

"I just wonder, how the hell did I make it?" the Fall River man said, as he recounted an incident he has little memory off.

The 51-year-old said he thinks about the incident every day.

In April 2012, Droz was driving on Highway 151, just outside Sun Prairie, when a chunk of concrete crashed through the windshield of his car and hit his head. Although he was critically injured, he somehow managed to drive himself 20 miles to Columbus Hospital, only to be airlifted to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

Droz said the Med Flight bill alone was $13,000, and his medical bills from the incident add up to more than $100,000.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office said it determined that the piece of concrete probably was kicked up by another car. Investigators said in April they determined that the chunk came from a broken-up section of road in the middle of northbound U.S. Highway 151 in Madison.

"What we believed happened was that another vehicle kicked up some of this broken concrete, which then propelled the chunk that went through the windshield and injured (the driver)," said Elise Schaffer, spokeswoman for the Dane County Sheriff's Department, in April.

Shortly after the incident, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation told WISC-TV the stretch of Highway 151, at American Parkway, was inspected the day before.

The DOT continues to stand by that. But Droz claims someone was negligent, so he planned to sue.

However, just 12 days before this happened, the state enacted legislation that gives immunity to state and local officials when it comes to liability involving highway conditions or repairs.

"(I feel) anger -- absolute anger," Droz said. "There's just any number of things that could happen, and guess what? They're just going to go, 'Oops, sorry.'"

Droz said he is permanently disabled because of what happened. He is blind in his left eye and part of his face is numb. He experiences memory loss and constantly deals with the huge emotional toll. Droz said anyone who's been through what he survived deserves something.

"I can't work. I'm pretty much financially ruined," he said.

Droz's attorney, Greg Wright, told WISC-TV they're exploring all of their legal options.

He said a case looks daunting right now, but they're not giving up.

Droz shared a photo of what he looked like just after the incident. The photo is graphic but it shows how severe his injuries were. To view the photo, click here.