A motivational speaker says he forgives the uninsured drunk driver who hit him during a Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge.
39-year-old Jean-Pierre De Villiers was completing the charity ride to raise money for a brain cancer charity and was riding through Ilfracombe in Devon when the collision happened.
De Villiers was descending a steep hill when he was hit by Stephen Evans driving in the opposite direction, sending him flying and leaving him with two broken legs and his bike in pieces.
After two months in hospital last summer, De Villiers returned home to continue his recovery, and this week Evans was jailed for two and a half years, having been four times over the legal limit.
“I stopped breathing in intensive care. Even though it was mostly broken bones, other than the collapsed lung and the surgery, I was kept in intensive care for two weeks because they needed to keep monitoring me,” De Villiers said in court, reports the Birmingham Mail.
“I spent about seven weeks in hospital recovering and I’ve got pins in my legs, titanium rods in my legs, I have pins and screws in my arm, a scar on my stomach and lots of – about 50 – scars all over my body.
“I don’t really care, I’m just happy to be alive. It’s unfortunate knowing I have so much metal in my body, my nature is to be positive – I choose to think it’s cool.”
De Villiers says that he has chosen to let the incident make him and not break him, and has decided to forgive Evans.
“A lot of people can have a moment like this define their life in a bad way, I knew that could happen to me and I wanted this incident to make me not break me,” he said.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on forgiving the driver, accepting and surrendering to everything – that I may never be the athlete that I was, that I might have trouble in my later years – but I’m using the tools that I have to deal with the mental hurdles.”