A CYCLIST who broke his back in five places in a horror crash exactly a year ago has thanked the people who saved his life.
Gabriel Danton, 29, was riding to work along Selsey Road on November 16, 2013 when he was hit head-on by a car on a bend.
He was struck with such ferocity that he ‘totally demolished’ the car’s windscreen’ before crashing back into his careering bike, which ended up broken into three pieces.
The accident left him with a catalogue of horrific injuries, including a broken nose, fractures to the base of his skull and to five vertebrae in his back, two broken wrists as well as cuts and bruises to his entire body.
Gabriel was rushed to St Richard’s, where he had a number of operations and skin grafts on his badly-damaged shin.
The severity of his back injuries left him bed-ridden and unable to move to around six weeks.
Thankfully he is looking forward to a far better Christmas then his last spent in hospital, and has come forward to praise those who helped him.
“The doctors kept saying you’re so lucky, you’re so lucky to be alive,” said Gabriel, who now lives in Chichester after moving from Bracklesham Bay.
“I’ve also been told a medical expert from St Richard’s was a few cars back from the accident and came to help me, and if it hadn’t been for her not moving me, untold damage could have been done to my back.
“I don’t remember anything about the crash. The first thing I remember is a nurse removing glass from my face in hospital.”
Gabriel has said a special thank-you to the ‘brilliant’ staff who looked after him at St Richard’s, as well as his aunt and uncle who were there by his side throughout. “Both my parents died in the last ten years but my aunt and uncle have really been there for me so I want to say thank you to them as well.”
In May this year the elderly female driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention, fined £87 and handed four penalty points.
Determined not to give up his passion, Gabriel is back on his bike, though he admits: “I am still nervous while cycling, I’m not yet managing to make the distances I used to ride, partly due to physical restrictions and fear.”