A Knoxville bicyclist is truly lucky to be alive after a driver struck him and just kept going. It happened last Sunday evening on Tedford Lane in Southwest Knox County. Now, the Knox County Sheriff's Office needs the public's help to track down the driver who did it.
"The pain is more from the labored breathing," explained cyclist David Schlosser from his hospital room at UT Medical Center.
Each breath he takes is a step closer to recovery.
"I don't know if the leg broke first or if my arm broke first," said Schlosser.
Add to those injuries 10 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a busted hip.
"I was traveling 25-28 miles per hour. I ended up hitting a guard rail and going down in to a ravine," said Schlosser.
That ravine runs next to Tedford Lane, a narrow road with little traffic and challenging curves and hills. Schlosser said he was riding down a hill around 5:30 p.m. when a vehicle hit him from behind.
"There was a truck that came in behind me and tapped my back wheel. I don't know if it was a tap but it sent me careening across the front of the truck," explained Schlosser.
He estimates he landed about 20 to 30 feet off the road in thick vegetation, and said the vehicle drove off as he lay hidden from view.
"With the one good arm that I had, I crawled up to the road side an inch at a time," said Schlosser.
Schlosser is not sure how long he was out of sight, but he finally had an idea that likely saved his life.
"I threw my helmet on the road to alert passers by," said Schlosser.
Eventually, Schlosser said, a motorcyclist traveling up the hill noticed him and stopped to help. And in a twist of fate, UT Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Holt drove up a few minutes later.
"I didn't stop because I'm a doctor. I stopped as a person who wanted to help somebody who was in trouble," said Dr. Holt.
"I know he was an angel from heaven that came down to see me," said Schlosser.
Dr. Holt stabilized Schlosser until emergency crews arrived on scene.
"The handlebars are at a complete 90 degree angle with the way tires would have been," explained Schlosser's neighbor, and close friend, Dr. Wayne Fritts.
Police later delivered Schlosser's broken bike to Fritts, after he was the first person people on scene called to notify about Schlosser's accident.
"It's sad. He didn't deserve that. Whoever left didn't care if they killed him or not," said Fritts with tears in his eyes.
Fritts and his wife, Sherry, are caring for Schlosser while he heals at UT Medical Center. They are also coordinating donations to help cover medical costs that Schlosser's insurance won't cover, and prayers from friends, family, and the community. And, they're pushing for answers.
So is Charles Jensen, Schlosser's boss at Diversified Technologies in Hardin Valley.
"We're offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever did this," said Jensen.
"I'm very blessed to have a boss like that," said Schlosser.
Surviving is also a blessing for Schlosser as he breathes through the pain, knowing his life is changed. He will go to the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center for several weeks when he's strong enough. Doctors said it could be months before he can return to work.
Schlosser's uncle, who lives in Arizona, said Thursday that he is adding $1,000 to the $5,000 reward offered by Jensen.
The Knox County Sherriff's Office urges anyone with information about the accident to call them at 215-2243.