Valley native survives motorcycle crash, needs recovery money, plans to graduate in December

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A 30-year-old Valley native and civil engineering student at Auburn University is in need of financial help after experiencing a serious motorcycle crash. Anyone who wants to chip in can donate money on his GoFundMe page called “Bentley Bonner’s Recovery Fund.”

The GoFundMe page states that on April 10, Bentley had been studying late at night at his school library for an upcoming exam when he got on his motorcycle and attempted to drive home. A driver swerved into his lane and hit him head-on. He was airlifted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he received emergency surgery to amputate his right leg. His numerous injuries include a broken hand, a broken pelvis, a broken scapula and a shattered right femur.

Bentley has undergone several surgeries, and it is unknown how many more he will need.

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Britt Bonner, Bentley’s brother, said that Bentley is in good spirits.

“He keeps getting hit with bad news after bad news, and he just kind of soldiers through it right now,” he said. “I mean, that’s all he can do.”

Britt said that Bentley had a fever of 104 for two days, leading doctors to find an infection in his leg.

“You can imagine, you know, it’s a big celebration after four surgeries,” he said. “You’re done. Your leg’s closed up, and you’re on your road to recovery and then, a day later, your fever’s going up and we’ve got to open your leg back up. So they did and found some bad tissue.”

Britt said that to battle his fever, Bentley has to sleep on a 10-degree ice blanket. He said Bentley’s pain comes in cycles as he takes medication and it starts wearing off.

“He’s got an open leg right now,” Britt said. “Make no mistake about it — the leg is just wide open. So he’s laying there with that. That amount of pain is excruciating. I don’t know what it feels like. I can’t relate to it. I’ve never had it happen to me before, but the pain is almost where it makes him pass out sometimes.”

Fortunately, Britt said medical staff think Bentley will be alright in the end. Their biggest goal at the moment, he said, is to get his infection under control.

Britt said Bentley has been receiving a great deal of support from friends, family and strangers.

“The outreach has been incredible,” he said. “Not only from friends and family but total strangers. We can’t even keep up with all of it. But he’s got a very large support group from the Auburn area, students that he’s in school with to his professors, all the way down from hometown people that he grew up with to my friends and his in-laws and, I mean, you name it — people are reaching out and wanting to help.”

Britt described Bentley as a social butterfly who gets along with everyone. Students who went to engineering school with Bentley have told Britt they wouldn’t graduate without Bentley’s help, Britt said.

“He’s a fighter,” Britt said. “I don’t know what else to say. He’s passionate, and he’s determined and very focused, especially with school. And he studies 14 hours a day. He put his mind to it and said, ‘I’m going to school for engineering, and I’m going to graduate.’ And when he turned that switch on, he turned it on.”

Britt isn’t exactly sure what Bentley wants to do with his civil engineering degree but said he has been recruited by a couple of construction companies already. Bentley is on his school’s dean’s list and set to graduate in December.

A golf tournament fundraiser and a 5k run fundraiser for Bentley are in the process of being planned, Britt said.