This is what Aaron Horsley remembers about what happened on October 10: He and his friend, Kyle Bohannan, were riding off-road motorcycles in the off-limits but seemingly irresistible Honda Valley.

Horsley, 17, jumped off a ramp the boys had built and blew a rubber gasket on his motorcycle. They decided to drive back to the Bohannans' house, where they hoped Kyle's father Brian could repair the bike.

The Hesperia High School senior doesn't remember what happened next.

According to witnesses, at the intersection of Redwood Avenue and Kimball Street, 279 feet away from the Bohannan house, a motorist cut him off. Horsley apparently lost control of his bike and skidded under the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck.

Wearing a full set of protective off-roading gear, Horsley became entangled in the undercarriage of the vehicle, and was dragged along beneath the truck almost 400 feet, while the motorist behind the wheel of the truck swerved back and forth, trying to shake the boy underneath loose.

Finally, his left hand in tatters, his spine fractured, his older brother's helmet ground down on one side, Horsley came loose, cradled by Brian Bohannan as the family waited for the ambulance to arrive.

The next thing Horsley knew, he was in an 8th floor room of Loma Linda University Medical Center, a breathing tube down his throat, painkillers coursing through his system and paralyzed from mid-thigh down.

Thursday, the breathing tube was out at last, and he would press a piece of gauze to his throat, covering the tracheotomy hole in his neck whenever he would speak. His words came in short bursts.

"Upset, sad," Horsley said, describing his feelings, each word separated by a wet rattling gasp for breath. "I can't feel my legs. ... I wish I could [remember]."

Never a heavy teenager, Horsley is now positively emaciated, the feeding tube in his right arm unable to keep him from taking on a skeletal appearance, his shoulders bowed forward, his ribs visible on his chest. His left hand and wrist bulge with tan, healthy flesh: A portion of his thigh, complete with blond hairs, has been transplanted onto his arm, veins and tendons to replace the ones Horsley left on Redwood Avenue three weeks before.

His doctors have not yet decided whether he will be sent home and go through out-patient rehabilitation or remain at the medical center for months to come.

"I'm excited," he said quietly. "I can't wait for it to start."

If he goes home, he'll be home-schooled so he can catch up on his missed schoolwork and graduate with his classmates in May, although his intended post-graduation career in the military now seems unlikely.

His older brother Chris, a specialist in the U.S. Army, was manning a checkpoint in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq, when the call came that his brother had been in a serious traffic accident, and he was going home. Horsley had been wearing his brother's off-roading gear when the pick-up truck dragged him on October 10.

This isn't the first time Horsley, an off-roader since he was 4 years old, has gotten hurt riding a motorcycle. He's previously broken both his arm and collarbone.

"I love to ride. If [my parents] wouldn't let me have a bike, I would have been miserable," he said.

Horsley's mother Marilyn has remained steadfastly optimistic about her son's progress and prospects, sleeping in the chair beside his bed many nights.

"The first thing he asked when his friends visited is `where's my bike,'" she said.

The day before, Horsley sat up in a wheelchair for the first time.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies now say was the motorist who dragged Horsley down Redwood Avenue was suspected drug dealer Pedro Gaspar Tellado Oviedo. He had not been apprehended by press time on Friday.

"I hope they catch him. Let's put it like that," Horsley said.

With almost 4,000 students at Hesperia High School, most Scorpions are anonymous figures to many of their classmates. But not Horsley, not any more: His classmates visit daily and status reports on his health have gone out over the school's public address system. The first day Horsley was allowed to have visitors, 80 classmates and parents skipped school and showed up in Loma Linda, trooped into his room two at a time.

"Thanks for the prayers," Horsley said.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.