2 months after crash, school chief Dan Boyd returns

Dr. Dan Boyd speaks during his first school board meeting back since being injured in a Thanksgiving holiday crash on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 7:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 7:45 p.m.

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dan Boyd returned to the dais on Tuesday night, nearly two months after a car crash during the Thanksgiving holidays that killed a longtime friend.

"When you lay around for as many weeks as I have trying to rehabilitate broken bones, it gives you a lot of time to reflect on things," he said. "I've concluded I'm one of the lucky people in the world."

Boyd on Tuesday attended his first School Board meeting since the accident and said he plans to return to work full-time today.

"I'm feeling fine," he said. "It's good to be back at work."

Boyd was a passenger in a car crash the day before Thanksgiving. Longtime friend Dr. William "Billy" Canfield Evans Jr., the driver, died as a result of the accident. Evans attempted to make a left turn in front of a semi truck, authorities said.

"I was thinking what a big bumper that semi had," Boyd said. "It looked like two feet of chrome."

Boyd said both drivers attempted to avoid the collision, but the semi struck his side of the vehicle. Boyd sustained many injuries, including a fractured pelvis, shoulder, ribs, arm and ankle.

"I kind of got it from top to bottom, but I'm very fortunate," he said.

The men were headed to Rodman Reservoir for a fishing trip. Evans was one of Boyd's family physicians since the 1960s and both men were members of the Hawthorne Gainesville Hunt Club. About 10 years ago, Evans invited Boyd to go freshwater fishing, Boyd said.

"That little invitation led to an almost weekly outing," he said.

Reflecting back on the accident, Boyd said the last thing he remembered was watching Evans try to steer away from the truck.

"My next recollection was in the ambulance, and they were cutting my clothes off with scissors trying to determine the extent of my injuries," he said.

Boyd spent nearly a week in the Shands at the University of Florida trauma center before moving on to a rehabilitation facility.

"Those good people at the health park really helped me learn how to do things we take for granted, like how to sit up in bed and slide, so I could put my feet on the floor," he said. "That was an absolute ordeal."

Throughout his recovery, Boyd remained connected with the school district's daily dealings, officials said.

Boyd said his plan to return to work this week coincides with the conclusion of his therapy.

"I look forward to being back full time dealing with all the issues we have in the school district and I'm just so grateful for all the good work the teachers and principals and staff are doing," he said.

School Board members were pleased Tuesday to see Boyd return.

"Happiness is having Dr. Danny back," said board member Barbara Sharpe.

While Boyd was away, high school grades were released and a resolution was reached on the long-running stormwater dispute with the city. Deputy Superintendent Sandy Hollinger filled in while Boyd was away, although he was kept abreast of the district's dealings at all times, officials said.

Boyd said he has weighed the prospect of retiring, but plans to continue working for now.

"Every time I look in the mirror, a stranger stares back at me compared to what I remember from my youth, so I know it won't be long," he said. "I've been blessed."

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