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Crash Survivor Runs Marathon with Driver Who Hit Him

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In a message of hope and forgiveness, crash survivor Dean Otto sprinted the finish line of this year’s Northern California 13-mile Napa Half Marathon together with the surgeon who reconstructed his broken spine and the driver who almost cost him his life.

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Ellen DeGeneres/Twitter

The long distance runner who also participated in 2015’s New York City Marathon was only given a two percent chance of walking by his attending surgeon, Dr. Matt McGirt. But his miraculous comeback through a series of surgical procedures and intense physical therapy proves that anything is possible.

Otto was riding his bike September last year, when Will Huffman plowed his truck on him. The driver was apparently having a hard time seeing through his foggy windshield.

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Napa Valley Register

Otto suffered several injuries including a crushed spine, a broken pelvis, a several fractured ribs and a tailbone. His legs were severely fractured that his attending physician ruled out he could never walk again.

The car crash survivor never lost his spirit despite his injuries. He said that he was never scared about his predicament and never held any resentment against the driver.

In a featured article written by NY Post, Otto said that he forgave Huffman right away saying: “I knew if I didn’t, the resentment would eat me alive.”

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Dean Otto

Dr. McGirt, Otto’s attending surgeon, said that upon getting the victim to the hospital, he immediately began operating on him. He said: “His spinal cord was salvageable. I knew he had a shot in the dark – a slim shot – so we took him straight to the operating room.”

Otto underwent several surgeries to rebuild his crushed spine and the other injuries he sustained. He regained his walking abilities and even challenged his doctor for a marathon race.

Otto also reconnected with Huffman and invited him to be part of the race. Huffman said: “I wasn’t so much surprised that he forgave me.” But he is amazed at the friendship they have developed despite the ordeal.

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Dean Otto

The car crash victim, the driver, and the surgeon finished the Napa Half Marathon together.

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