Fetty Wap’s Merch Manager And Friend Shares The Story of Being In A Similar Motorcycle Accident Five Years Ago
There’s nothing glamorous about Paterson, New Jersey. Rundown homes, unlimited bodegas, and trash strewn about are what remain of a city once booming with silk factories. Half the population are content with their place of residence, and the other half are searching for a way out.
For many, “chillin’” translates into hazy nights hanging on the block, swapping tall tales and trading laughs with your extended family of friends. House parties are customary, a scene in which vices are indulged and restless energy is channeled into rambunctious celebration. November 20, 2010, was one of those nights for Elijah Wimbush, known as Dot Bwoii within his crew of RGF Productions/1738 affiliates, one which would change his life forever.
“I feel like the accident could’ve been prevented,” Dot Bwoii says, fighting through the stuffiness of a cold via FaceTime from his downtown Paterson home. Out of supplies in the late hours of the night, he left the party for a quick store run. “I asked a so-called friend for his car, but he wanted to be cool and ‘showtime’,” he says. That friend told him to take his bike instead. On the way to the store, Dot Bwoii chose to give another friend a ride home. Not having an extra helmet, it’s a good thing he chose to drop her off first. From there, he turned the corner and stopped at a red light. A gentleman in the car behind him honked to get his attention and complimented him on his helmet, customized with an ace of spades card and his childhood nickname.
“My sweater was poppin’ too, I remember,” says Dot Bwoii. “I had some jeans on, and I was killing the Cosby sweater.” Despite his jokes, his memory fails him after that. He remembers the light turning green and turning around to drive off. That’s where it stops. He never made it to the store.
He thought he saw “The Man” after that. “Yeah, I saw the light,” he says. “The room was all white and there was a hand helping me up. That hand that I thought was God was my mother.” His mom was a nurse at the hospital, the same one whose lights, it turned out, were the “clouds” and blinding white light he thought was the afterlife. “I realized where I was and thought, ‘Ok, let’s go.’” he says. “My chest was feeling crazy and I saw tubes sticking out the side. I’m thinking it’s a dream, so I go to get up and pulled the blanket back, and I just see this huge chunk of meat wrapped up. I didn’t feel the pain; I didn’t know my leg was gone. I woke up to a missing leg.”
His left leg had been amputated below the knee. He also had a broken hip; a broken hand; a lacerated kidney, liver and spleen; and staples in his chest and face. Yet, it still wasn’t enough to hold him down. He left the hospital only 10 days later.
His mom helped in his recovery in the weeks that followed. It was rough, to say the least, and Dot Bwoii started noticing random discolored wounds. Thanks to his mom’s medical expertise and observations, he knew the doctors’ assurances of everything being all right were false. He and his mom were right; after pulling some strings, they found out that he had contracted MRSA, a flesh-eating, bacterial infection, while in the hospital. After sufficient healing, he did physical therapy for a month and was back walking with a prosthesis in under two.
When the reality of his new life finally set in, Dot Bwoii spent sleepless nights angry and hopeless. Everything in his life changed, including his daily routine and diet. The support of his friends and the block got him through the tough times. It’s what kept him moving.
He returned to work. Ironically, before the accident he worked in the tibial department of an orthopedics company, helping manufacture the same type of medical equipment he relies on today. He also returned to the studio, where he formally met Fetty Wap in 2008. They had seen each other around the way since childhood, Dot Bwoii living on Paterson’s infamous 10th Ave and Fetty living on 12th, but they had never hung out. They formed an instant bond through music, both acquaintances of RGF Productions CEO Nitt Da Gritt. Along with a few others, they formed a collective and spent hours on end recording in the studio, a replacement to the street setting Dot Bwoii once knew.
Those hours resulted in “Trap Queen,” which blew up on the blocks of Paterson, thanks to their “aggressive marketing” tactics, well before reaching radio. “It’s crazy because I watched everything transpire,” he says. “It’s amazing. People that didn’t like you, now they’re your friend. Some people that didn’t like you still don’t like you and don’t like you even more now. People that loved you love you more, and some that did love you don’t love you anymore because they feel as if you’ve changed.”
These days, Dot Bwoii says he plays the cautionary role as the team’s grandfather. Older than most in the crew, and standing at a statuesque 6’3, he’s also the watcher. Now living life in the fast lane, he warned Fetty about getting a bike: the same warning his strict Jamaican mom gave him years ago.
Just this year, he discovered that the driver who hit him ran a red light and kept going. He was never apprehended and the case was never pursued, even though witnesses provided police with the license plate number. He also recently found out via Instagram that the woman who called 911 and saved his life was a friend, unaware of his identity.
The streets talk, and they led Dot Bwoii right to doorstep of his assailant. Years ago, he says he would’ve made a bad choice. But instead of being vengeful, he simply came in peace to show the man the consequences of his careless actions. Then he left, letting go of the past once and for all. He even wants the driver, a former owner of a car shop, to fix his car.
The similarities between Dot Bwoii and Fetty’s accidents are too eerie to shake: Fetty was hit as a driver ran a stop sign and sustained injuries to his left leg, throwing himself off of the bike to avoid getting crushed. “I don’t want to be the one saying ‘I told you,’ but of course we’re going to talk,” Dot Bwoii says. “I’m going to let him heal, then I’m going to chew him out.”
According to him, Fetty’s already said he’s not going to ride anymore. “I don’t want anything happening to my brother, you know what I’m saying? He’s a very humble person at heart. I had to learn how to cope with this.”
Dot Bwoii puts our conversation on hold to wish his girlfriend a happy birthday, returning minutes later, unaware that his well-wishes were clearly audible. It’s a far cry from the tough, sneaky guy he once was. “I’m growing, man,” he says before revealing his top-secret music and acting plans outside the shadows of being just “the friend.”
“You’re gonna’ see me as the amputee in movies. I’m gonna be one of the hottest amputees doing the music and movie thing,” Dot Bwoii says with a grin. “My accident calmed me down a whole lot. I was a daredevil. I know I could’ve been gone, man. There’s nothing good that comes out of being negative, though. Every day is like a building process for everybody. This team is a strong team, and we’ve been rocking for a while,” he says, referring to his RGF family. “It’s a strong foundation. Us coming together musically is bringing peace in our city.”
Dot Bwoii still passes by the scene of his accident often when he’s riding through the ‘hood. “I always look up and smile like, ‘Yo, I made it.’ Every day is an adventure.” He never ends our conversations with “bye,” a mentality he explains after brief reprimand. “You never say ‘bye’; say ‘I’ll see you later.’”
Images: Dot Bwoii