- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 13, 2005

INGLESIDE, N.C. (AP) — Larry Green stepped out of the darkness so suddenly that the car that hit him didn’t even leave skid marks. The impact sent his shoes, socks and the unopened beer in his hand flying.

Mr. Green came to rest on U.S. 401 alongside a trash-strewn ditch, where he was examined by paramedics and declared dead. Over the next 2 hours, the bloody body with a gaping head wound was zipped into a black vinyl bag, taken to the morgue and put into a stainless-steel refrigerated drawer.

There was just one problem: Mr. Green was alive.

Two weeks after that shocking discovery, the 29-year-old Mr. Green, who is paralyzed, clings to life in a hospital intensive care unit.

Anguished family members have listened in horror as officials described the many missed signs and miscues that led to the error. They and others in this rural tobacco community northeast of Raleigh are left to wonder how something like this could have happened — and whether it has happened before.

On the chilly night of Jan. 24, Mr. Green and two friends showed up at the Ingleside Grocery about 8:45 p.m. to pick up beer to take back to his trailer down the road. Mr. Green never made it.

According to reports from state troopers and the Franklin County Attorney’s Office, 36-year-old Tamuel Jackson did not have time to stop her car before it slammed into Mr. Green as he tried to cross the highway in front of his trailer.

Randy Kearney, an off-duty paramedic, was on the scene at 8:54 p.m. and found no pulse or sign of breathing. Blood had formed a footwide corona around Mr. Green’s skull.

When county paramedics Paul Kilmer and Katherine Lamell arrived moments later, Mr. Kearney told them Mr. Green was dead, but asked Mr. Kilmer to double-check. Mr. Kilmer replied that his determination was “good enough for me,” according to Mr. Kearney and two firefighters.

Mr. Kilmer told officials he could not remember saying that, but doesn’t deny it.

Paramedic Pamela Hayes arrived at 9 p.m., and the medical examiner, Dr. J.B. Perdue, examined the body at the scene about half an hour later.

Paramedics put Mr. Green in a body bag and drove him to the morgue in nearby Louisburg. There, Dr. Perdue examined the body a second time. He took a blood sample, lifted Mr. Green’s eyelids and sniffed around the man’s mouth for alcohol.

Miss Hayes, who had accompanied the body, thought she noticed twitching in Mr. Green’s right eyelid. She asked Dr. Perdue if he was sure Mr. Green was dead. Dr. Perdue responded that the twitching was a spasm, “like a frog leg jumping in a frying pan.”

Mr. Green probably would have remained in the stainless-steel container had state Trooper Tyrone Hunt not arrived around 11:20 p.m. and asked Dr. Perdue to help him determine the direction from which Mr. Green had been struck.

This time, Dr. Perdue observed slight movement. He could not find a pulse in Mr. Green’s neck, thigh or wrist, even with a stethoscope. Dr. Perdue summoned paramedics and an electrocardiogram, which was able to pick up a faint heart rhythm.

Family members who have kept vigil at Mr. Green’s bedside said his eyes fluttered at times and he showed signs he recognized those around him.

The family has retained an attorney.

The paramedics weren’t available for comment.

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