Nearly three months after losing his left leg in a motorcycle crash, Jack Monti of Mastic returned home from a Port Jefferson hospital in style Thursday.
Monti, 49, his wife, Josephine, and an escort of about 20 members of Long Island ABATE, a motorcycle safety group, headed home from St. Charles Hospital Thursday morning.
He’s undergone weeks of rehabilitation at the facility after first being treated for his injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital.
In their minivan, the Montis slowly trailed two single-file lines of motorcycles Thursday, all flashing their blinkers.
“It made me so happy to see that guys I had never met before took time to do this and show their support,” Monti said. “I was completely humbled by the whole effort that they put in for me.”
Monti’s exit from the hospital signaled another step in his ongoing recovery two months after a taxi struck him on a June morning as he rode his motorcycle to work in Coram.
“I was almost there,” Monti said Thursday, recalling the moments before the June 6 collision that would cost him a leg and change his life forever.
Suffolk police said the 2009 Ford Crown Victoria operated by Lindy’s Taxi slammed into Monti’s motorcycle as he passed through a green light at an intersection on Route 112. Mindy Shaw, the driver of cab, ran a red light at the intersection, police said.
Shaw, 43, of Centereach, was not injured. Police said they issued her a summons for not stopping at the light.
Doctors at Stony Brook treated Monti for a shattered left femur, blood clots in his right leg resulting from the crash, and other injuries.
His full-face helmet likely saved his life, Monti said, but doctors couldn’t spare his left leg and were forced to amputate it just below the knee. He spent the next several weeks recovering and later building up the strength in his right leg and upper body.
“The first week or so of rehab went by very slowly. A couple of times I remember getting up out of bed and thinking my leg was still there,” he said. “It’s gonna take time to get used to things. I’ve got a long journey ahead of me.”
Though Monti said he hasn’t lost his love of motorcycle riding, he’s still unsure if he’ll ever “get back on a bike again.”
Monti’s wife, Josephine, said she tried to remain upbeat throughout the ordeal and is just glad to have her husband back home.
“Within the darkest clouds, there’s always a glimmer of light,” she said, “and I held on to that glimmer of light.”
After learning Monti was leaving the hospital, ABATE President Jim Barr rallied members to escort him home.
Monti met the bikers before they set out on the trip to Mastic. He said it was “humbling” to shake hands with them all, but especially with Mike Sorger, who pulled up a pant leg to show Monti his prosthetic.
Sorger, 57, of Selden, said he lost his leg in a motorcycle crash nearly two years ago.
“I wanted to help him realize that it’s not the end of the world,” Sorger said. “A prosthetic and a positive attitude will go a long way.”