After a life-threatening motorcycle accident, motorman for City of Miami Police Department recovers

By: Krysten Brenlla

For Miami native Ruamen DeLaRua, 60, serving his community is part of his identity.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 42 years – I started when I was 14 years old as a police explorer,” DeLaRua said. “My passion has always been the Miami community, its people, and law enforcement.”

For seven years, DeLaRua served as a motorman for the City of Miami Police Department.

On September 9, 2023, what seemed like a normal day, DeLaRua was in a life-threatening motorcycle accident while on his way to escort patrons during a funeral service.

“I was heading east by Zoo Miami in the center lane,” he said. “A broken down truck was stopped in the right lane ahead. As I got closer to the truck, the car behind it came into my lane, striking me and my motorcycle. I still remember the crunch.”

Bystanders immediately called for help. DeLaRua was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson South with extensive injuries, including a broken right leg, a broken femur, and fractures in both of his hands.

Upon arrival, the Ryder Trauma team stabilized him and took him into emergency orthopedic surgery. After a successful five-hour procedure, he spent four days at Jackson South recovering.

Upon discharge, DeLaRua was transferred to Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at UHealth/Jackson Memorial.

When he first arrived to Lynn Rehabilitation Center, DeLaRua could not place any weight on his right side and could not use his hands.

“I wanted him to be as functional as possible – we used a platform walker to teach him how to walk again, with a goal of walking at least 150 feet before discharge,” said Benjamin Ferreira, a physical therapist at Lynn Rehabilitation Center. “We also worked with his wife to be more comfortable in taking care of him at home with his wheelchair.

Ruamen and his family were extremely motivated.”

For two weeks, DeLaRua pushed himself through physical and occupational therapies. With physical therapy, he worked on his balance and walking, and with occupational therapy, he learned how to dress himself, brush his teeth, shower, and eat using adaptive equipment.

When it was time for him to go home, DeLaRua surpassed all of his rehabilitation goals. He was walking further on the platform walker, and his endurance greatly improved. Additionally, DeLaRua had a ramp installed at his home, and used an electric wheelchair to get around while he continued to recover.

“We were so proud of all the progress he made,” Ferreira said. “Ruamen worked hard, and with the support of his wife and family, we pushed him to be as independent as possible.”

Eight months after that fateful day, DeLaRua is still recovering. However, he has reached a major milestone.

“I can now walk on my own without any assistive device, and bend my knee completely,” he said. “Throughout all of my therapy sessions, I was focused on working hard and getting better. My therapists at Lynn Rehabilitation Center taught me everything I needed to know to take care of myself on my own.”

With the help of at-home rehabilitation therapy, DeLaRua hopes to return to a normal life, which includes walking 100 percent on his own without pain. For the future, he’s looking forward to spending more quality time with his wife and grandchildren.

He credits the teams at Jackson South and Lynn Rehabilitation Center for saving his life.

“My heart goes out to all of the teams,” DeLaRua said. “I really appreciate the time and effort they took on just one person. They really treated me like family.”