SHIPROCK — Looking into the eyes of Ricky Gilmore, one can tell he has taken many roads but none like the one he dragged himself down last week.

Gilmore, a 49-year-old paraplegic from Newcomb, was left without his wheelchair on a desolate dirt road after he hitchhiked with a woman and man near Shiprock on Oct. 16.

For two nights and three days, Gilmore scooted against the dirt and rocks of the road not knowing if he would be found. During the darkness of the night, he would ball up to keep warm.

He had many enemies he did not have the use of his legs, he had no water or food and it was dreadfully cold. He said he pulled himself about four miles and wondered about the wild animals he would not be able to fight off.

"It was torture," said Gilmore at the Northern Navajo Medical Center on Tuesday.

Gilmore winced while recalling the ordeal, which began as a quick trip from Newcomb to Shiprock to buy liquor.

The trip became somewhat of a "joy ride," he said. The woman and man he hitched a ride with picked up another man, then took Gilmore home, dropped off his wheelchair, then dropped off one man elsewhere followed by a cruise on the Devil's Highway, U.S. Highway 491.

That's where hell broke loose, and the woman and the passenger decided Gilmore had to go.

"I didn't think anything like this would happen," Gilmore said.

He recalled the man yanking him out of the truck by his ankles.

"I was just trying to plead with him not to pull me out but he had those wild, devilish eyes," he said.


"I did not want to fight back...if i did fight back all hell would come loose...I know gangsters like that, they just that start clubbing away."

At the hospital, he leaned to his side to show large cuts that he got from pulling himself on the ground. The cuts went across his buttocks and legs. They were covered by wide swaths of bandage and oozed.

The wounds were worse when he was found by Wilfred Sisco on Thursday on the dirt at the side of Tocito Road, about 30 miles south of Shiprock.

Gilmore waved desperately when Sisco found him. His thighs were bleeding, his body shivering, and his right wrist sprained.

Sisco called an ambulance, which then took him to the hospital where he received treatment for a blood infection and acute kidney failure the result of the excessive energy he put into moving his upper half, hospital officials said.

He also had a body temperature of 94 when he first received treatment normal is 98.6. His wrist and shoulders were sore after his misery.

On his hospital bed, Gilmore showed his ragged pair of jeans, sadly looking through the holes created while he scooted himself over rocks and dirt. The jeans, threadbare, still were the color of the dirt and blood that soaked into them for three days.

Then, his button-up shirt, also worn through because of the rubbing on the road.

At night, the few items he had did little to keep him warm, he said.

"I didn't have a jacket. All I had was my shirt. I just curled up," Gilmore said, who does not think he would have lasted a third night. "I mean, it was cold."

The recorded lows for both nights were around 40 in Farmington, though it can sometimes be slightly colder or warmer in the desert, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

The absolute worst part of it, though, Gilmore said, was not the actual survival but the thought that someone would do that to him in the first place.

"I mean, I'm in a wheelchair. They should have that respect for people who have a disability. I was just being nice," he said. "The disrespect, you know, for people with disabilities. I didn't do nothing to them."

During the first two days he was stranded, three vehicles, including one from the Native American Church, passed by Gilmore while he waved at them.

"They just don't have a heart," said Gilmore.

Gilmore said he has been hitchhiking for 19 years, since he lost the use of his legs in a car crash on his 30th birthday.

Once he makes it home from the hospital, he intends to stop hitchhiking for a while, he said.

The Shiprock Police Department is working on a pending police report filed by Gilmore on Thursday.

Gilmore described the pair who abandoned him as Native American. The man, who allegedly pulled Gilmore out of the vehicle, is in his mid-20s and has a cursive written tattoo on his neck.

The female is heavyset and in her mid-40s.

Both suspects are believed to be from the Shiprock or Kirtland area.

The pair was driving a white pickup.

Gilmore said he feels lucky to have survived.

"I just got on the devil's ride," Gilmore said.

"I just want to heal up and go home and change my life around and keep going," Gilmore said.