KENDALL (CBS4) – Lying still in a hospital bed at Kendall Regional Trauma Center is brand new to 32-year-old Thomas Jennings.
He normally rides his bicycle, runs, or swims every day. Now, with stitches, staples and metal rods, and plates holding his arms and legs together, Jennings is learning about sitting still.READ MORE: 3 Rushed To Area Hospitals Following Shooting At Aventura Mall
He recalled being hit by a car on Fontainebleau Boulevard in Northwest Miami-Dade last Wednesday.
“All I could look at was the blood, the amount of blood around me…It was completely silent. Then I heard the ambulance and I snapped out of it,” he said in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
Once the shock of being hit by the car wore off, Jennings felt the pain.
“My knee was shattered, so they had to put some screws and a plate. My bones popped out of my lower leg…this right knee kind of exploded on impact,” he said.
Jennings was riding his bicycle with traffic when he says a driver came across the opposite traffic lanes and T-boned him. The accident has dramatically changed his life. He is self-employed and a father of three young kids.
“I support my family, they can’t go without me,” said Jennings.
He says he used to ride without a helmet until friends recently convinced him to use one.
“I went out and bought the best helmet I could buy, I got the top of the line, and luckily for that I’m still here.”READ MORE: Miami-Dade Police Lieutenant Faces Rape Charges In Palm Beach County
After multiple surgeries, and 200 staples Jennings turned on the news from his hospital bed. He saw that fellow cyclist, Aaron Cohen was killed in a hit-and-run, just hours before his accident.
“It really makes me reflect on my life, and if I was gone, how lucky I am. He was not so lucky….I’m just so thankful to be here.”
Laughter is helping Jennings heal. He even jokingly refers to himself as Frankenstein.
“If this was a month before Halloween this would be perfect. My costume would be ready,” he said smiling as he glanced at his stitched up arms and legs.
He hopes the next time you encounter a cyclist on the road you’ll follow the law by moving over.
“Three feet, give me three feet please.”
And despite the pain and the fear of being hit again, Jennings plans to get back on a bicycle as soon as he can.
“People say I’m crazy but I’m really looking forward to getting back to my training…This is not going to stop me.”
Miami-Dade police ticketed the driver who hit Jennings, Gustavo Hernandez, for violating the right of way. The investigation is still ongoing.MORE NEWS: COVID In Florida: 3,977 New Cases, 66 Additional Deaths Reported Saturday
To read what the law says about driving next to cyclists, and the laws cyclists need to follow click here.