As the trial begins Tuesday for a man accused of running down and injuring five cyclists in Kanata just over two years ago, the most seriously injured of the victims is making a miraculous recovery.
Robert Wein was told after the accident that he would never walk again. But, after using a wheelchair for a year, he is now walking, haltingly, with a cane or walker, and his aim is to walk in a 5K run next May.
Sommit Luangpakham, 47, was charged with multiple counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning, and a jury was selected for his trial.
The cyclists were hit on a stretch of March Road in Kanata in the early morning of July 19, 2009.
Wein, aged 39 at the time, was in critical condition with brain injuries when he was taken to hospital.
The brain injury means Wein has had to re-learn basic motor skills.
He types on his cellphone at incredible speed, yet his phone is loaded with photographs detailing each step of how to do pushups. "I forget people's names...I knew it but I forgot. It's frustrating because I think my memory is good but…it’s not."
Laurie Sweig is Wein's personal trainer.
"I've never seen anybody so determined, and just be so willing to try. He's actually such an inspiration for me. Every single tiny step in life has to celebrated, every single one of them," Sweig said.
Wein points out that walking is basic for most people but not for him.
"It takes effort to walk upright, and jumping is a big challenge. Everyone considers it basic. I consider it a huge accomplishment," Wein said.
As for his plan to walk in the 5K run next May, he said, "I'm goal oriented. I don't see what I didn't do. I see what I did, and the next day I'll do more."