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Man on Long Road to Recovery after Being Struck in Clarendon

by Katie Pyzyk — December 7, 2012 at 10:10 am 3,795 52 Comments

The man who was hit by a car while walking in Clarendon two months ago is making progress in his recovery, but there’s a long road ahead.

Just yesterday (Thursday), 27-year-old Michael Sizemore underwent another surgery to re-attach the section of skull that was removed to alleviate pressure on his brain. The accident had left him with a variety of serious injuries including a fractured skull, two broken legs and multiple lacerations. After being struck, Sizemore was in a drug-induced coma for days to give his brain time to heal. Sizemore’s father, Mark Sizemore, says yesterday’s surgery appears to have been successful.

“The injury to his brain was right above his left ear where the skull fracture occurred, and that’s your speech center,” Mark said. “The majority of the injury has affected him of course cognitively, and in his speech center. He is recovering his cognition and his speech is getting better every day.”

Doctors predict it will take about a year for Michael to rehabilitate his speech and his ability to walk. Mark said it seems as though his son understands what happened to him, but his focus is simply on getting back to living his life.

“Michael just wants to get back to living, is what he tells me. He’s not so much focused on what happened. I think that will come later,” Mark said.

Once he fully recovers, Michael is determined to return to his job as a lobbyist at the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, which advocates for organizations that help people with developmental delays, substance abuse problems and mental health issues.

“He tells me that almost every single day. That’s what we’re trying to work towards with his rehab,” Mark said. “I think he’ll do it. I think he’ll rehab to the point where he can get back to that job. That’s what drives him.”

Mark says his son and the rest of the family don’t harbor anger toward Tyler Bruce Wills, the man accused of striking Michael. They believe that justice will be served in due time.

“He realizes it’s really a random event that happened to him,” Mark said. “Michael is not looking for revenge against this person, he’s looking for justice to take care of that.”

Meantime, Wills remains in jail on charges of DUI and DUI Maiming. Wills waived his right to a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for last week, and awaits trial. Police say due to results from the alcohol test and multiple witness accounts, the evidence against Wills is quite strong.

As for Mark, he credits the doctors at George Washington University Hospital with saving his son. That’s where Michael was taken immediately after the accident, and where he had his surgery yesterday. Mark said the situation could have turned out far differently had the hospital and its head trauma experts not been nearby.

“Thank God it was there, because they saved his life,” Mark said. “If my son had not been close to that place, he would not have lived. It was a miracle.”

  • b-money

    Don’t be an idiot. Use the Metro, Cab, Bus, or Uber.

    • CW

      I’m assuming you’re referring to the drunk driver, but it’s not below the trolls here to fault the man for crossing the street on foot. You may want to clarify.

    • R. Griffon

      And if you can’t or won’t do any of those, DON’T DRINK!

      Also, it seems this Wills character has a long history of reckless driving, whether under the influence or not. Hopefully he’ll be off the streets for a long time.

      • Captain_Obvious

        or off the planet…

        • MC 703

          THAT would be ideal

      • Arlingtonian

        The driver will undoubtedly receive a short suspended sentence as a result of a plea bargain. Alternatively, a bleeding-heart liberal Arlington judge will suspend any sentence after hearing the arguments that the guy’s taxpayer-financed public defender will make and after hearing statements of remorse from the driver. That’s why the guy was driving when he hit the pedestrian. Because of his history, he should have been in jail at the time of the “accident”.

        • Charles

          Sounds like you’ve been there, thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Jack Tors

      Another Maryland driver driving like a Maryland driver. Ban them all in VA.

  • ArlingtonSSR

    Good to hear he survived. Get well soon!

  • Tabs

    Aw. Thanks for the update. >>vibes<< go out to Michael for a full recovery.

  • Arlingtonienne

    Thank you for the update on this story…he’s been on my heart since I first read the initial story.

  • craig

    still a sad story. That Wills dude is cooked.

  • fedworker

    Thanks for the update Arl.,now. Stay strong Michael. And Wills can rot in jail.

    • Oz

      He’s cute. He’ll be popular in the pen.

  • me too

    Thanks for the update. Michael’s been on my mind since I first read about this story. I hope his recovery continues to progress by leaps and bounds.

  • arlmom

    Thank goodness. I have been wondering how the victim was doing. God bless him and his family!

    Everytime I see a car on the ‘race track’ aka Wilson/Clarendon Blvds–I think of this accident. The speeds up and down our adjacent neighborhood streets and up and down the Boulevards are ridiculous. It is always some ‘hot shot’ burning rubber, music blaring.

    Slow down…or there is a bunk in Wills cell you can have.

    • BlueSkies

      Yes – totally agree.

  • jimmy

    I tried to google image search for Tyler Bruce Wills and all i see are pictures of Bruce Willis. LOL

  • JamesE

    People drive way too fast in that area, hammering down on the accelerator so they can reach the next red light faster. I sound like an angry old man but I constantly see people going well over the speed limit, like 15-20 mph over not 5.

    • CW

      I think it is a fair general statement regarding the DC area to say that speeds are too low on the big roads and too high on the neighborhood roads. Everyone is going 50 mph through neighborhoods with kids playing so they can get to 66 and be stuck behind two Washington Flyer cabs going 45.

      • 7-11-bum

        Well said

  • Sam

    Thanks for the update on this story and best wishes to Michael on his recovery. I love seeing updates on your past reporting so keep them coming!

  • Hope

    It’s actually the Virginia Association of Community Services BoardS, with an “s”. Community service boards are agencies in Virginia that help people with disabilities and substance abuse problems. Ironically, a CSB might help someone with an alcohol problem like Tyler Wills apparently has.

    Best of luck for his recovery.

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      We’ve clarified that reference.

  • MC 703

    Unfortunately, this scumbag will probably only end up doing a few years in prison and if he follows all the rules, he’ll get to get on with his life with full mental and physical capacity. The victim will spend the rest of his life fighting just to have a normal life.

    • Cakes

      Breaking news: Life not fair.

  • NoVapologist

    Maryland driver. Figures.

    • JamesE

      two operating modes, well below the speed limit, or well above.

      • fedworker

        Q. You’re driving on I-295 (two lane portion of the highway) and a MD driver is in front of you. Are they driving in the left or right lane? A. Yes.

  • JimPB

    Thanks, ARLNow.Com, for the update.

    I’m glad that Michael and his family are not consumed with anger (often self-destructive) about the injuries and difficulties, which I fervently hope are time-limited.

    Going forward, all should join in preventing drink driving (and behavior generally — drinking has a strong correlation with domestic violence; and indeed, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption is virtually the only change that significantly reduces domestic violence).

    Offender Willis should be a part of this prevention effort — and contribute to the costs of the injuries that his drunk driving inflicted on Michael.

    The sentence for Willis should include
    (1) extensive community service of talks in which Willis relates drunk driving to accidents, injuries and fatalities;
    (2) being subject to a life-time financial responsibility to compensate Michael for the financial and personal costs of his drunk driving;
    (3) being subject to life-time probation and restriction on driving to ONLY when he tests zero for alcohol;
    (4) violation of any of the elements of the sentence should result in incarceration but without his disappearing from sight, e.g., he could be put in stocks outside the jail during day light hours (maybe the public punishment and shaming will have an effect, if not on this offender, then perhaps by helping to prevent others from drunk driving and behaviors).

    • North A-Town Snob

      I saw replace the half cop, half cab car they have on display, just put this Wills schmuck in the stocks you reference on the same site with a large sign detailing his crimes. I’m all for the public square justice for idiots like this.

      • North A-Town Snob

        *say* not saw

  • MrMeow
  • jan

    Thanks so much for following up on this story.

  • jar

    vibes your way

  • Soto

    God bless your son and i hope he recovers fast my s/o had a similar accident and 8 months later he is now learning to walk and speak again. Have faith GW is the best they did an awsome job and NRH also helped alot

  • Elliot Ness

    Reattach a section of skull? Saw that once on a TV medical program (pbs-ish). The skull piece is placed inside the person’s abdomen to ‘live” until it can be put back with the rest of the skull. Kinda cool, but kinda weird.

    Glad dude is recovering.

  • Skip

    I know far too well the pain Mr. Sizemore feels, and the route he will need to travel toward recovery. I had a similar accident twelve years ago when I was struck by a public bus as a pedestrian. From what the article says, he is having issues similar to mine. I also had brain injury, a fractured skull, etc.

    It was a long, painful recovery (almost four years in total, with more than a few surgeries), but I did recover. It took more than six months for me to begin to be able to speak comprehensibly again. I had to relearn a number of things. I was thankful for my friends and therapists, without whose assistance I would not have succeeded.

    Today, I can once again walk, speak, think clearly, etc. I wish him well and offer this: do not give up hope. The human body is more resilient than most people think. Things will improve and wounds will heal. The important thing is to retain a positive spirit.

  • gospelsinger

    Michael needs coconut oil to heal his brain too – it is amazing stuff that most don’t know about. Hope he will heal soon!

  • yequalsy

    Is it normally the case that a trauma victim in Arlington gets taken to GW hospital?

    • Ben Casey

      This topic was covered extensively under the original posting.

      • yequalsy

        I missed that (obviously). It actually makes sense to go to GW given that it’s the closet Level 1, but for some reason I assumed Inova Fairfax would be the default.

        • dk (not DK)

          My sense from reading accident descriptions on this website is that Arlington trauma victims usually do go to Fairfax.

  • ARLrez

    Best wishes to Michael as he recovers.

  • http://www.arlnow.com Lauren

    Thanks for the update. What a tragedy for all. Prayers to the family and the victim for a full recovery.

    I also think about people who are injured in accidents. Both this gentleman and the couple on the bikes on 4 Mile Run come to mind often.

    Hugs and prayers to all!

    • Joan Fountain

      Don’t forget the Alzheimer’s patient hit by a bicycle.

  • SHLady

    Thank you for the update, and best wishes to Michael.

  • Lindsay

    Thank you for the update, Arlnow.com — I’ve been thinking about Michael since I first read the original story. Sounds like he has a positive attitude and that’s really importnat. Good luck and stay strong, Michael!

  • Penrosey

    Thank you for this update – I have been wondering how he was doing. Glad to hear his surgery went well. Best wishes to him for a full recovery.

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