Shawn Moriarty doesn't remember much about the crash.
"The car just came out in front of me so fast, I didn't even hit my brakes or anything," he said.
Moriarty, of Magna, was driving to work on May 24. The next thing he remembers is "waking up in the hospital, feeling this intense amount of pain over the entire front of my body, looking at a white ceiling thinking, 'Am I dead?' And then I thought, 'No, I'm in way too much pain to be dead.'"
Two other motorists who know each other were involved in some kind of disagreement, according to Salt Lake police. One man driving a pickup truck began chasing the other man who was in a compact car and trying to get away, police said.
As the two men rounded a corner near 4400 W. California Ave. (1300 South), police say the man in the pickup truck hit the compact car from behind. The impact from the collision propelled the fleeing car into oncoming traffic where it smashed into Moriarty's car. Moriarty says he was told afterward by one witness that the truck "just kept pushing (the other car) into oncoming traffic."
"He was trying to either seriously injure or kill the guy he ran into. But unfortunately, I was the one that almost got killed," Moriarty said. "I almost didn't survive."
Police said Moriarty was rushed to a local hospital in "life-threatening condition" where he immediately underwent surgery.
"Parts of his intestines were basically obliterated. They had to rebuild two spots in the small and one in the large, I believe," wife Kelly Moriarty recalled.
Shawn Moriarty also suffered a broken clavicle that required a plate and screws to repair, two broken vertebrae, broken ribs, a brain bleed and his abdominal muscles were left unattached, he said. He spent 11 days in the hospital.
But he also believes that his car, a 2022 Nissan Rogue that he had owned for only two months, likely saved his life. Both he and his wife fear if he had been in an older, less safe vehicle, he would not have survived. Furthermore, Moriarty believes he's lucky he wasn't hit by other vehicles traveling behind him.
"There was something looking out for me so that made everything go right," he said.
Last week, nearly nine weeks after the crash, Moriarty was able to shower, dry off, and dress himself without the assistance of others for the first time.
"Little things that everyone takes for granted, you have to gain back," Kelly Moriarty said.
Moriarty still does not have full motion range of his arms. He has lost 25 pounds since the incident and all of his muscle mass. Because of that, he believes it is unlikely he'll ever be able to return to his job, which was working in a warehouse that required some heavy lifting.
"I don't see me ever making it back to that," he said.
He has two large scars on his abdomen where doctors repaired his internal injuries. Although he says it no longer hurts in that area, "It feels like there's something in there that normally isn't in there."
The incident has also left him sensitive to loud noises. Moriarty recalled during Magna's recent Fourth of July celebration, which includes the firing of a cannon close to his house, he was "jumpy" for the first time in his life when he heard the "boom" go off.
"It sounded so much like the impact when I hit that car," he said. "Felt it through my entire body."
But while the crash has left the Moriarty family with plenty on their minds, one thing they'd like to not have to worry about is seeing the person responsible for the wreck brought to justice.
Police say the driver of the pickup truck fled the scene after the crash. The man has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him. Salt Lake police say they know who the driver is and have made contact with him. The investigation into the crash, however, remained ongoing as of Wednesday, with police noting that major accidents are always "complex" cases that require extra leg work.
While Moriarty says the driver needs to be held accountable, he can't sit around worrying about what police and the courts will do.
"Whatever happens to the guy, happens to the guy," he said. "I had to get to where I forgive. Not forgive him for what he did because that's unforgivable. But to forgive him in my own mind so I don't have to carry it with me, because I don't have the time in my life to carry around in my head and give that guy any more than what he's taken from me."
Moriarty also hopes his case will also serve as an example to other motorists who get angry or aggressive behind the wheel to convince them to stop and think about the consequences of their actions.
"My biggest thing is, especially after seeing so many accidents and stuff that are head-ons and people dying, my opinion is they're turning their vehicles into lethal weapons," Moriarty said, adding that he believes the penalties for such incidents should be stricter.
For now, Moriarty, who is 60, says one of his biggest concerns is being able to get back on the golf course.
"First thing I asked the doctors was whether I'd be able to golf again," he said.
Moriarty said in medical terms, he is expected to make a full recovery. But while he doesn't believe he'll ever be back in the condition he was before the crash, "As long as I can get back to golfing," he says he still has retirement to look forward to.