White Rock resident Peggy White came home from hospital on Friday to continue her recovery from a July 14 hit-and-run.
The active 52-year-old spent two weeks in Royal Columbian Hospital after she was knocked off her bike by a tandem dump truck while riding along 16 Avenue near 180 Street.
She suffered 11 broken bones, including fractures to her pelvis, sacrum, two vertebrae and two ribs.
On Tuesday, White greeted a Peace Arch News reporter at her Marine Drive residence, on her feet and moving, slowly, with the aid of a walker.
“I’m really happy to be alive,” she says.
White doesn’t remember the collision, only coming to in a water-filled ditch with Victoria resident Randy Duncan and Peninsula resident Norm Nagel, the Good Samaritans who came to her rescue.
“What do you say to someone who saves your life?” she says.
“I’m so thankful.”
She says both men balked at being called heroes.
Duncan does remember the collision.
He saw it happen.
The Island man was heading east on the thoroughfare around 11:30 a.m. on July 14 when he noticed White on her bicycle approaching in the “very, very small shoulder” of the westbound lane, and a dark red tandem dump truck coming up behind her.
The truck wasn’t moving over to give the cyclist room and it wasn’t slowing down.
“I thought, where’s he going?” Duncan told PAN a few days after the hit-and-run occurred.
“There was no room for him to veer over to the other side of the road.”
Then, Duncan says, the truck’s front bumper hit the rear of the bike.
“The bike flew, and parts of the bike, and of course, the cyclist flew through the air. I thought, I’m going to find somebody dead.”
When Duncan got to White, he says she was semi-conscious and starting to swallow water.
He supported her head and neck above the water, and when White began to come to, he held her hand and reassured her.
Nagel soon joined Duncan at White’s side, supporting her body weight, and both men stayed with her until emergency crews arrived.
RCMP Sgt. Drew Grainger said it was an “absolute miracle” that White survived.
“With the nature of her injuries, she could easily have drowned, because she wasn’t able to move,” Grainger said.
He said it is possible that the truck driver didn’t even know White was hit.
More than two weeks later, no one has come forward to take responsibility.
White is also very grateful for the paramedics who rushed her to hospital and the trauma team that treated her on arrival, calling them “absolutely amazing.”
She has also been amazed at how supportive people in White Rock are being.
“Everybody’s so nice, it’s unbelievable,” White says.
“It’s like living in a small town.”
White’s older sisters, Marion Howard and Dorothy Howard, have come out from eastern Canada to stay with her during her recovery.
Her daughter Careen says White is frustrated but “high in spirits.”
“She’s still in a lot of pain but she’s making progress.”
White has been told to expect at least six weeks of physiotherapy before she can resume her job as general manager of Guildford Town Centre in Surrey.
She is impatient to get back to work because the shopping centre is in the middle of a $280-million expansion and redevelopment that will make it the largest regional shopping centre south of the Fraser River, at 1.2 million square feet.
Anyone with information that could help police locate the truck and driver is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
– with files from Tracy Holmes