Ronny Rogers' eyes fixed down the road from his Bullard home Thursday as he thought about the night an unexpected punch from an assailant changed his life.
The 52-year-old said he is mad that his attacker has not been charged with a crime, although the one punch and subsequent fall onto the asphalt where he struck his head left him with a life sentence.
Rogers' wife, Phyllis, said it was a night she will never forget because the events of Sept. 25 put her husband in a coma for 18 days and left him with a brain injury that kept him hospitalized 147 days.
There were times when doctors were not sure Rogers would live, and things were only complicated when he suffered two strokes.
His injuries included three fractures of the left orbital bone, a fractured cheek, and his lip was torn from the inside of his mouth.
Rogers' wife, a former nurse, stayed by her husband's side and read everything she could find about closed head injuries. She was there as he underwent surgeries that removed the skull to allow for brain swelling, when he woke up, when he learned to walk again and every day since making sure he takes his daily medications.
But Mrs. Rogers said the tragedy of that night did not stop with his release from the hospital, but continues as her husband deals with short-term memory loss, mental deficits that leave him unable to drive or work and that often leave him confused.
Smith County Sheriff's Office reports from the incident indicate that Rogers and his daughter drove a golf cart down the road to a neighbor's where a large crowd gathered at a birthday party.
Rogers said he remembers talking to the disc jockey at the event and arguing with her, but he doesn't remember anything passed walking back down the driveway with three men to his golf cart.
The report states Rogers' daughter told deputies her father got into a dispute with the DJ when she would not play a song he wanted to sing karaoke to and the father and daughter were asked to leave.
The daughter said as she tried to find out what the argument was about, she saw a man hit her father with a closed fist before her father fell to the ground.
Mrs. Rogers said she is upset that her husband has been through all of the pain and suffering and was left unable to work while the man responsible has not faced any action.
"When (the sheriff's office) thought my husband was going to die they were all over this case, but when he came out of the coma it's like they lost interest," she said.
Smith County Sheriff's Lt. Tony Dana said it just took time to gather information and that his office would go forward under the advisement of the district attorney.
Dana said his agency still is working the case and hopes to discuss it with the district attorney's office this week.
"There are a lot of witnesses and we have been waiting for some lab work. Now that we have everything, we hope to get some direction from the D.A. if they want to take it to a grand jury or make an arrest prior," he said.
Mrs. Rogers said not only does she have to care for her husband, but that the financial problems are mounting.
"Ronny was a mud engineer for Haliburton and was making about $100,000 a year. Now he can't work and he is on Social Security disability," she said as she sighed.
Mrs. Rogers said that for the time being they are OK, but she is worried.
"Just this month I have written checks totaling $10,000 just for our part of the medical bills. This isn't including what insurance is paying."
Rogers said the biggest regret he had in the entire ordeal is that his daughter saw him so close to death.
"That's what bothers me the most, she was there and saw what happened," he said.
The Rogers said they extend their thoughts and prayers to 21-year-old Jacob Martin and his family.
Martin was "sucker punched" at a night club in Jacksonville last month and has been in ICU at East Texas Medical Center with a brain injury.
"We want them to know they are in our prayers and that if they want to talk to us then we are here for them," Mrs. Rogers said.
Ronny Rogers talks about how his life changed following a traumatic injury -- the result of a blow to the head. (Staff Photo By Kenneth Dean)