Road to Recovery: A Texoma Man Involved In Biking Accident Speaks Out
February 18, 2015 at 12:26 PM CST - Updated July 2 at 1:15 PM
Wichita Falls, TX - A Texoma man involved in a cycling accident is happy to be alive. He shared his story with Newschannel 6 and has a message for drivers about sharing the road. It happened nearly two weeks ago on the Access Road along Interstate-44 heading southbound.
Newschannel 6 Jimmie Johnson and the rider went back to the crash site as the rider reflected back on that day.
It has been an emotional ride for Les Akins, who is used to getting up each day and taking his bike for a ride. Now he is riding the road to recovery and wants to bring awareness of the importance of sharing the road.
“I'm alive and I understand that I shouldn't be,” said Les.
On Sunday, Feb 8., it was a beautiful day, blue skies, hardly any wind blowing in North Texas. That is how Les Akins described the day he almost took his last ride.
“I made a phone call to my wife, believing that it was the last phone call I was going to leave her," said Les.
The avid cyclist was on the Interstate 44, Access Road near Bacon Switch Road.
“I ride this road thousands of times, because it's right by my house and its the safest road in Wichita Falls."
Unfortunately that afternoon it all changed, when he was hit by a car from behind.
The incident tossed less nearly 50 feet in the air, breaking his ribs, fracturing his back in two places, and leaving him with bruises and scars.
"He went into surgery the next day, had the spine fixed and he was out of the hospital in two days; walking, do his physical therapy,” said Dr. Anne Rizzo, a surgeon at United Regional Healthcare System. “
Rizzo told Newschannel 6 Les positive motivation to recover has been crucial to his quick ‘Road to Recovery.'
Nearly two weeks after the crash, he and his wife walk hand-in-hand to his first check-up and its good news.
Dr. Rizzo told Les that he looks to be making a smooth recovery and it was time to remove the stitches placed on his head following the accident.
While Les was happy to get those stitches removed from his head, another thing he said would like to remove is the memory of that day.
Despite the difficulty of going back, Les took Newschannel 6 to the scene where skid marks from the vehicles tires still remain.
“I was given a second opportunity and so grateful that god chose to save me,” said Les.
A reminder his wife captured in a shadow box that includes a piece of his bike's tire, torn to shreds, along with his ER bracelet and image of that day.
An image Les hopes will remain in the minds of drivers.
“We're sharing the roadways with cyclist, motorcyclist, people walking and jogging. We just got to be careful,” said Les.
As far as to how the accident occurred, the Wichita Falls Police Department said the driver of the vehicle told police they looked away for a split second before the crash. Currently, the incident is being worked as just an accident. Also, police said the driver of the vehicle did leave the scene to figure out their location and then later returned.
WFPD said within the last five years there have been more than 70 accidents involving people riding bicycles. Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6