Harrington recovering, but injuries in Arizona accident were life-threatening

Published 6:20 pm Friday, February 4, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington almost died from internal complications after being struck by a car last month in Arizona.

Doctors at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center took “emergency procedures” that saved his life, Harrington said Friday.

Harrington, his wife and another couple were struck by a car Jan. 11, the day after Auburn won the national championship.

Harrington’s left leg was broken in three places: above the knee, below the knee and the knee itself. Doctors performed surgery on the leg, and Harrington was sent to rehab before things took a turn for the worse.

Harrington’s gastrointestinal system would not function. He said his “entire insides basically just shut down and quit working.”

Morphine, trauma and orthopedic surgery led to the complications. He received blood at the hospital, and his liver and blood levels still haven’t returned to normal.

Harrington, 62, was hospitalized for 18 days. He was released from the hospital Jan. 28 and returned home Jan. 29.

“I think I’m the last Auburn fan to make it out of Phoenix,” Harrington said.

Harrington will be in a wheelchair for three months. Plates and screws were put in his left leg. He cannot put pressure on it.

Harrington, wife Kathryn and Ed Skinner and wife BJ Skinner flew to Arizona together for the game. Judge Harrington and Ed Skinner were old roommates and fraternity brothers at Auburn.

They attended the game Jan. 10 and were to fly home in the early morning hours of Jan. 12. On Jan. 11, they took an afternoon trip to the Old Scottsdale area, a popular tourist attraction.

At about 4:30 p.m., they were crossing the street in a crosswalk with the cross light when a car hit them on their left sides.

Harrington said the woman that hit them never saw them, and they never saw the car coming.

“We never saw her until she hit us,” said Harrington, adding that the driver never applied the brakes until hitting them.

Ed Skinner suffered a broken shoulder, torn ligaments, a bruised knee and a concussion. BJ Skinner suffered a concussion and needed stitches in her head. Both Ed and BJ were knocked unconscious from the impact.

Kathryn Harrington received some internal injuries and bruises all down her leg. The impact sent her rolling down the street like a “tumble weed,” Judge Harrington said.

Several people who witnessed the crash, including a doctor and several nurses, rushed to help. They were all Oregon fans wearing Oregon shirts, Harrington said.

The driver of the car was charged with failure to yield the right of way, Harrington said.

All four were transported by ambulance to the hospital. Harrington was admitted into the hospital, while Kathryn Harrington and Ed and BJ Skinner were treated and released the same day.

Harrington offered sincere thanks to the community for all the prayers and thoughtful comments and cards he and his wife received during their ordeal.

“I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of well-wishers and offers of assistance,” Harrington said.

He said he’s “anxious” to get back to work. He’s already been working from home on some opinions and orders from cases tried before Christmas. He is “bound and determined” to return to work part-time next week.

In his absence, Judge Al Crowson, a retired former presiding judge, is helping with Harrington’s civil docket. Harrington said Crowson’s help is a “real blessing.”