Kiwi cyclist's hit-and-run recovery

TONY BIRD
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2012
NEW MAN: Michael Torckler out and about checking out the California countryside.
Supplied
NEW MAN: Michael Torckler out and about checking out the California countryside.
BRUISED AND BATTERED: Michael Torckler in a Santa Rosa Hospital.
BRUISED AND BATTERED: Michael Torckler in a Santa Rosa Hospital.

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Kiwi professional cyclist Michael Torckler is looking forward to returning home early next week.

The 26-year-old New Plymouth man has amazed medical staff with the speed of his recovery from severe injuries suffered in a hit-and-run accident when on a training ride in California early this month.

Torckler was discharged from Santa Rosa Hospital last week to continue rehab. However, on Friday he was back in hospital undergoing surgery to pin a broken bone in his left hand.

Yesterday Torckler was well enough to go sightseeing with his parents Brohn and Linda, of Okato.

"It's good to be up and going again, that's for sure," Torckler said on the phone to the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

"I'm pretty lucky to be walking away from that one with a body that is healing up pretty quickly."

Torckler is expecting to be ready to make the long journey back to New Zealand sometime next week.

"It wasn't originally part of the plan, but I am looking forward to getting home," he said, referring to the racing programme he had planned with his new professional team Bishell.

Torckler's recovery from the serious injuries he sustained in the accident, including 22 fractures to his head and face and associated injuries, has been much quicker than expected.

The extent of the injuries has not put the talented young road racer off making a return to the sport he loves.

"Initially when I was in hospital I was a bit unsure, but it wasn't too long before I was back and eager to get into it again.

"I certainly can't wait to get back on the bike now."

His memory is still hazy and he can't recall any details of the crash, but he has retained good recollection of the lead-up.

"Before I actually started climbing the hill I came across a team-mate going the other way and I stopped to talk to him for a couple of minutes. Then I remember stopping up the top of the hill and turning around and catching my breath for a minute or so before heading down. That's the last thing I remember."

Californian media reports stated the arrested driver involved in Torckler's accident, Arthur Ben Yu, 36, had been charged with four felony offences.

He faces charges of hit-and-run causing injury, reckless driving with injury, auto theft with a prior conviction and possession of a car he allegedly stole from his father. Yu was also charged with a misdemeanour count of driving on a suspended licence and was being investigated for a possible fifth charge of drink driving.

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Michael's father, Brohn, is booked to fly back to New Zealand on Thursday (NZT).

His wife, Linda, is staying in California until Michael is ready to travel home, which is hoped to be Tuesday.

Brohn Torckler said the support locally and from afar continues to stream in and has been amazing for the whole Torckler family.

"Thank you, all of you, so much, from the depths of our hearts," was his message to supporters.

- Taranaki Daily News

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