After eight broken ribs, a punctured lung and damaged kidneys, it's pretty remarkable Dean Pace, 52, is alive after being hit by a van driven by a 14-year-old boy who'd stolen it for a joyride.
The accident two months ago on Highway 26 near Sandy nearly killed him, but Pace harbors no bitterness toward the boy charged in the incident.
"I saw him in the median and I saw it, the wheel get caught in the mud, coming into the lane and starting to roll," he said.
Pace slammed on the brakes but couldn't avoid getting hit.
"They cut the door off the car, brought me out on the stretcher (and) I remember the paramedic saying, 'Life Flight's on its way.' And I said, 'Who's Life Flight for?' He goes, 'You partner.'"
At the wheel of the van was a 14-year-old Sam Barlow High school student who police said ran from the scene.
"Here I am, I couldn't move hardly at all in the car," Pace said. "That's kind of discouraging, he shouldn't run from an accident."
In the hospital, Pace fought for his life with his wife, Olga, of just six months, by his side.
"It was probably a period of about a couple weeks or so where it was really scary," said Pace's daughter, Demi. "He was just sedated all the time and they just couldn't say what would happen."
Pace says it doesn't do him any good to be angry at the teenager; in fact, he has hopes for that boy and his future even though his own life will never be the same.
"Maybe through this he realizes what he did was bad and maybe he can turn his life around and be a better kid. ... He's changed my life forever. I'll never be back to the way I was on Feb. 6. I have scars from surgeries; my kidneys probably will never be 100 percent. So there's always the threat of dialysis for me."
While in the hospital, Pace suffered infections and pneumonia. And since he's been home the last couple of weeks, he has a hard time standing for long periods of time before getting winded or the pain from the broken ribs proves too much.
He said he's extremely grateful to his friends, family and doctors and nurses who've helped him recover.
The boy who hit him goes to juvenile court at the end of the month on felony hit-and-run charges and vehicle theft.
The boy's father said he's been told not to say anything but they are, as a family, praying for Pace every day.