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Man hit by car speaks out against distracted driving

Posted at 7:04 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 18:25:18-05

Warning: The video above contains graphic footage of a collision.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Jeff Neumann says to go from walking 8 to 10 miles a day to depending on a walker is a life-changing event. But he's here to tell it. On January 20th, he was hit by a car as he crossed Fulton Street at Division Avenue.

"I remember standing on the corner. The next thing I know I was laying in the street," he recalled.

Neumann says video footage captured by a Rapid Bus and an autonomous vehicle help fill in the gaps of what happened to him that day.

"I'm alive. By the grace of God I'm alive," he said.

"I talked to one of the police officers that does traffic, traffic investigations. He said when he saw the video it looked to him like a fatal accident if he didn't know what happened afterwards," Neumann said.

The videos appear to show that driver ran a red light just before knocking Neumann onto his hood. That broke his leg and damaged his spine.

"The people on the bus, you could see everybody react to the collision and they were all saying 'he's dead. He's got to be dead,'" Neumann said of another camera angle on the bus.

Neumann says the driver of the autonomous vehicle was first to come to his aid.

"He blocked the traffic. Somebody jumped out of this car. I think she was a nurse," he said while looking at the video.

Neumann says if it wasn't for the video footage it likely would have been a 'he said, he said' situation as to who had the right-of-way. But he's hoping other drivers take a lesson from this.

"I do a lot of walking and riding my bike around the city, and we've had so many close calls... my wife and I. It's just incredible how drivers feel that they have the right of way because they're in a car. There's very respect for pedestrians and bike riders," he explained.

Neumann says he goes to physical therapy and is making daily progress. But he says the driver got off with a ticket. Again, he hopes others learn to pay attention to the road.