NKY man recalls life-changing crash as alleged driver faces charges

The 28-year-old says he arrived at the hospital ‘dead’ and only woke up thanks to support from friends and family.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 9:35 PM EST
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - The recovery continues for a Northern Kentucky man months after getting hit by a car.

The car struck William Dewayne Clifton in Latonia at Caroline and 36th streets, according to the police report. The alleged incident happened May 21.

Over the next seven months, Clifton endured multiple surgeries, and both emotional and physical scars remained.

Now the 28-year-old says his life is shattered. He can’t believe it happened, nor can he fathom that driver didn’t call police for help afterward.

Clifton had been playing pool that evening and was walking along Caroline Street around 1 a.m. when the driver approached.

“I look up, there is a car on the sidewalk coming right at me,” he said Wednesday. “Like, boom. The impact lifted me up a little, and it squashed my legs in between the car and the concrete.”

Behind the wheel, according to police, was 19-year-old Matthew Storms.

Matthew Storms
Matthew Storms(Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office)

To make matters worse, Clifton says his pants got stuck on the front of the car, so that as Storms backed up, he was dragged. He remembers the horror of that experience.

“As I’m getting drug, my head is hitting the concrete,” he recalled. “I then broke into a seizure.”

Clifton was eventually freed from the car’s clutches. But rather than stop or remain at the scene, police say Storms fled without offering Clifton help or even calling 911.

EMS transported Clifton to the hospital, where he says he “died on arrival.”

He continued: “I don’t remember seeing a light or anything like that. It was just dark, and a void of darkness. Next thing I knew, I was waking up, and they had to teach me how to articulate words and how to say things again, because I was just mumbling, and I couldn’t get words out.”

Police say Clifton and Storms had gotten into a verbal altercation earlier in the night, which led to the incident. Clifton claims he doesn’t know Storms and never got into an argument with him.

“He knew what he was doing when he hit me, and he backed up,” Clifton said. “He knew. His first instinct was getting out of this situation.”

Asked whether he believes Storms tried to kill him, Clifton answered, “I was dead. Essentially, he tried, but I got a lot of people in my corner and people praying for me, and ultimately, I woke up.”

A knee surgery awaits the 28-year-old. He’s already had two brain surgeries and a nerve surgery.

Storms faces charges of assault in the first degree and leaving the scene of an accident.

He says he has no room for forgiveness. “Ten years... Maybe then I’d be in a forgivable state. I’d be able to forgive him then.”

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