ANDERSON — De’Shawn Nance hobbled around the dining room table with his ankle in an ace bandage without grimacing or any assistance. About two weeks earlier the 16-year-old thought he was going to die.
De’Shawn, a junior at Anderson High School, was struck by a vehicle traveling 60 miles an hour while he was riding his bike on Aug. 18. The driver never stopped.
His mother says he wasn’t lucky that day. He was blessed.
“Just the fact my son had someone with him was a blessing in itself because he probably would have bled out there with his wounds,” said Ra’shia Nance.
De’Shawn and a younger teen from his church were riding bikes around 3:22 p.m. on Indiana 13 between Fall Creek Drive and County Road 900 South when a vehicle narrowly missed the younger teen and struck De’Shawn.
The teens were riding into traffic, but said they were in a bike lane and the driver had to swerve into the lane to strike De’Shawn.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department believes the driver was a white male who was driving a 2001-2003 silver Hyundai Elantra and fled after striking De’Shawn. The Elantra is reported to have damage to the front passenger side including a broken headlight and the fender and hood also might have been damaged.
“I had no time to react,” said De’Shawn. “There was nothing we could do.”
De’Shawn was thrown about 25 feet into the air and suffered serious injuries that required two surgeries and a steel rod be implanted in his thigh for a broken femur.
“It ripped his thigh open real bad,” said Nance. “We’ve had a hard time with the healing process.”
De’Shawn said he never lost consciousness, but details surrounding the actual impact are a little foggy.
“I remember lying on the ground in the ditch afterward,” De’Shawn said. “There were a bunch of people with me. There was this one lady who was talking to me the whole time. She was asking me questions telling me to keep my eyes open.”
De’Shawn was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and his mother rushed to be by his side.
“It was the longest 50-minute drive of my life,” Nance said. She said a church member drove her to the hospital and it “felt like an eternity.”
“When I see him and he was alert and conscious and there was people praying with him and over him,” Nance shook her head. “It was packed with people from church in the visiting room. They showed love for real and I know that has a huge part to do with his recovery.”
Nance said she has been overwhelmed with people offering prayers and support and donations to a GoFundMe account to help pay bills and expenses while she was off work to care for her son.
“I know that has a lot to do with his recovery,” she said.
She said her son wanted to hug everyone who walked into the room.
“He was worried he was going to die,” she said. “We didn’t know if he had internal bleeding because they hadn’t got him back there yet. Then we found out he did not have any internal bleeding.”
De’Shawn said he did not have a helmet at the time of the accident, but a woman gave him one after the accident along with a new bike.
At first, De’Shawn said he was angry the driver did not stop after hitting him.
“In the healing process I chose to forgive him because being angry at him isn’t going to help me heal any faster or help me at all,” he said.
Nance struggled at first to forgive the driver, but she has and it gets easier every day.
“I will just say I’m disappointed, “ she said. “He is going to have to face the man upstairs at the end of the day.”
Nance hopes someone will come forward with new information or the man will decide to be accountable for his actions.
“I want him to own up to what he did,” she said. “That’s really all I want. As time passes, my son says ‘Mom, you can’t keep saying you forgive him and keep talking about it.’
“I do forgive him, but I want him to come forward.”