A cyclist has nearly been killed near the finish line of a charity bike ride following a horrific hit-and-run.
Jean-Pierre de Villiers, 37, was 1200km into the cross-country cycling challenge from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall in England’s southwest when he was knocked off his bike on May 22.
The car hit the 37-year-old with such force he went over it, flew over the barriers at the side of the road and was discovered wedged in between a tree and the barrier with his bike shattered into pieces.
After the driver fled the scene, Mr de Villiers was found after a passerby spotted a vehicle with a smashed windscreen driving towards her before spotting his smashed bike and hearing screams coming from the side of the road.
Mr de Villiers was airlifted to hospital with two badly broken legs, a fractured arm and other potentially life-threatening internal injuries including a perforated bowel and punctured lung.
His wife of three years Jules believes angels were watching over her husband as within 10 minutes of the accident, a paramedic and off-duty police officer coincidentally passed the scene.
A member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was also nearby and brought oxygen.
“At first, I didn’t know if he was going to make it,” Ms de Villiers said.
“Doctors said if he wasn’t as fit as he was, he might not have and certainly if he wasn’t wearing a helmet we would be telling a very different story.
“The crash was so senseless, it was almost like it had happened on purpose.”
After multiple complex operations to improve his condition he developed a chest infection which caused breathing problems and an irregular heartbeat.
“It was such a horrific thing to happen, but at the same time we can’t believe how lucky we were,” she said.
Family and friends set up a GoFundMe page for him to help with rehabilitation.
Mr de Villiers is already walking again within one week of being discharged from the intensive care ward.
"It's been amazing to see his positive attitude but it's also been hard because even getting out of bed is exhausting for him and he's lost so much weight,” his wife said.
“The first time he got up, he realised how long and hard it's going to be learning to walk again.
“But I have no doubt JP will use what’s happened to him as fuel to inspire even more people.”
A 69-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, taking a vehicle without consent, driving while disqualified and driving whilst unfit.
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