Cyclist left for dead by drunk hit-and-run driver during 1,000 mile charity ride from John O’Groats to Lands End completes journey two years later after relearning how to walk
A cyclist hit by a drunk hit-and-run driver while on a fundraising cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End has completed the journey two years later – after relearning how to walk.
Jean-Pierre ‘JP’ de Villiers, 39, from Welton, Northamptonshire, was left with two shattered legs, a fractured arm, punctured lung, bowel and heart trauma.
He was 880 miles into the 1,000 mile cycling challenge when he was mowed down by a disqualified driver in a stolen car outside Combe Martin, North Devon on May 22 2019.
Hit with such force, JP was found by locals at a nearby holiday camp wedged between a tree and a barrier at the side of the road with his bike shattered to pieces.
Screaming in pain, the cyclist was airlifted to hospital and put on a life-support machine for 15 days.
The motivational speaker had metal plates fitted into his legs and right arm, and a rod attached to his right hip down to his knee.
Miraculously, he defied doctors’ expectations by learning to walk again just a month after the horrifying ordeal with the help of physiotherapists.
Last month JP, originally from South Africa, returned to the crash site and finally finished the cycle challenge.
Cyclist Jean-Pierre ‘JP’ de Villiers, 39, from Welton, Northamptonshire, completed his 1,000 mile fundraising journey two years later – after relearning how to walk after he was mowed down by a drink driver
JP was left with two shattered legs, a fractured arm, punctured lung, bowel and heart trauma after he was airlifted to hospital and put on a life-support machine for 15 days after he was hit in Combe Martin, North Devon
JP had almost completed his 1,000 mile charity fundraising cycle for brain cancer charity, the Addie Brady Foundation, when he was struck down by a Ford Focus.
He spent two months in hospital following the crash, and publicly forgave the drink-driver who was behind the wheel that night, Stephen Evans.
JP said: ‘For me, this was a life changing experience, but I am grateful to be alive. It just doesn’t seem real that it happened.
‘Because of my job as a mindset coach I never thought “Why me?” and feel sorry for myself.
‘It is what it is and I used it as fuel to practice gratitude and drive me to the goal.
‘Of course it wasn’t plain sailing. I suffer from PTSD from the accident and I felt like I lost who I was.
‘But I was determined to finish it. As soon as I woke up from intensive care I knew I was going to finish it.’
Realising he was almost at Land’s End but still needed to rack up some extra mileage to hit his 1,000 mile target, JP decided to take a detour through north Devon.
As he wove through the hills of Ilfracombe, he was ploughed into head-on by Mr Evans – who continued driving even with a smash windshield.
JP added: ‘One of the first thoughts when I woke up in hospital was I couldn’t wait to get back on my bike.
‘I was mentally planning it while bed bound and that’s what got me through it.
‘Because of the pandemic I had to push it back so I’ve been itching to go out and do it.
Hit with such force, JP was found by locals at a nearby holiday camp wedged between a tree and a barrier at the side of the road with his bike shattered to pieces (pictured)
‘I called up the campsite which phoned emergency services when I was knocked off.
‘It’s something I’ve had unticked for two years. I’m so happy and proud I was able to finally do it.’
Pensioner Stephen Evans, 70, was four times over the drink-drive limit when he hit JP.
Evans, from Ilfracombe, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving, driving while disqualified and uninsured, and failing to stop.
Mr Jason Beal, defending, said Evans was suffering from alcohol addiction at the time and had expressed true remorse.
He was given a 24-month sentence last year and a ten-year driving ban.
During the trial at Exeter Crown Court the jury was told Evans was so drunk police found him collapsed in an alleyway shortly after the crash.