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Germani struggles to recover, one year after hit-and-run | News

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Germani struggles to recover, one year after hit-and-run

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- One year ago -- June 2014 – The story of Decatur cyclist Greg Germani became the lead story on the evening news.


Struck by a hit-and-run driver in town, Germani was in a coma near death at Grady Memorial Hospital while Atlanta Police searched for the driver who hit him.

Fifty-three weeks later, Germani struggles to reclaim pieces of his former life while accused driver Joseph Lewis sits in a jail cell waiting for trial on an attempted murder charge.

On Monday, 11Alive's Jeff Hullinger visited Germani in his Decatur home, for what marks his first interview since the accident.

"I have it pretty damn good, I have to say," he said. "I've had a rough spot here in my life. The comeback has been slow and steady."

It's amazing there has been a comeback at all. A passionate cyclist, Germani rode his bike to Turner Broadcasting every day through the streets of Midtown for 25 years. June 9, 2014, an incident on Montgomery Ferry Road led to a confrontation with a driver in a red Dodge Nitro.

Investigators said a home video showed the driver chasing Germani down Flagler Avenue. It is there, where the cyclist went down with a brain injury. Lewis fled the scene, and was eventually captured by police weeks later. As for Greg Germani, his life will never be the same.

"It has proved to me how good I have it, with family members and friends all on my side, with all the help I've been given, makes me feel cared about and loved, and that's important," Germani said.

"I love him," said Beth Anne Harril, Germani's girlfriend and caretaker. "And every day, he improves; makes me feel thankful he is part of my life."

Harril is an attorney who has helped lead him through an incomprehensible journey of pain. She has seen strides in his recovery, but of course, is philosophical toward the future and what it may mean toward recovery.

"If all you looked at each day – you would lose the forest for the trees," she said. "But when I look over the course of the year for what Greg has accomplished, it's miraculous."

There have been fundraisers and some of the money has helped recondition the 65-year-old house into a space Greg can navigate. A fundraiser in Little 5 Points helped create a bathroom. A Go-Fund-Me account has been set up in Greg's name. The daily financial needs are immense. Greg has always been smart, funny and hip. He still is. His record collection of old country music is immense. He has photos of his favorite performers on the wall, too.

"He is one of the most resilient people I've ever known," Harril said. "No one works harder on a daily basis."

Believe it or not, Greg says he still feels blessed.

"It's true -- it's something I've said several times over the last year," he said. "If I sit back the plusses outweigh the minuses."