FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- Former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley was injured in a motorcycle accident in Alaska on Sunday, and is receiving treatment at a hospital in Fairbanks, according to friends and family members.
Riley, 66, lost control of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle while traveling on a gravel road north of Fairbanks. He suffered 7 broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a punctured lung, according to Rob Riley, his oldest son.
Rob Riley said he spoke to his father late Sunday. He said doctors told him his father would be hospitalized for at least several days.
"He's pretty banged up, but he's fine," Rob Riley said. "He's disappointed because this isn't the way he wanted to end the trip, but otherwise he's in good spirits."
The single-vehicle crash occurred during daylight hours. Conditions were rainy and wet, Rob Riley said.
"He basically just laid it down," Rob Riley said.
He said his father was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Riley, who retired in January after 2 terms in the governor's office, is on a cross-country motorcycle trip that took from from his hometown in Ashland to Alaska over the past two weeks. He intended to spend a couple weeks in Alaska before heading home next month.
Rob Riley, a lawyer in Birmingham, said he was leaving this afternoon to fly to Fairbanks, and that his mother, former First Lady Patsy Riley, would fly up later this week.
“God was watching out for him,” Patsy Riley said in a statement released by the family. “We feel blessed because it could have been so much worse.”
Friends and supporters said they were encouraged that Riley would make a full recovery.
“Throughout his trip, he has been relaying to me some wonderful experiences of seeing different parts of our country, enjoying the beautiful landscape and visiting with all the cowboys, truck drivers, mechanics, waitresses he’s encountered on the road," said Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn. "I am disappointed he won’t be able to complete his trip as planned, I am thankful that he will be okay.”