The route from his southside home to Bargersville was a familiar one.
Jon Kim has been a cyclist for years, and he sometimes rides at night because the weather is cooler and fewer vehicles are on the road.
As always, he wanted to get out of southern Indianapolis and northern Greenwood as soon as possible to avoid any traffic.
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The 26-year-old was westbound on Worthsville Road, west of U.S. 31, shortly after 12:30 a.m. Aug. 10 and about 20 miles into his 50-mile ride.
A warning that something was terribly wrong came in the seconds before the crash. A truck was approaching him from behind, and the headlights didn’t cast a straight light. He knew the vehicle was swerving, but he had no time to dismount or get off the road.
A nearby home’s surveillance video recorded the audio of the crash, the sound of the truck accelerating as it sped from the scene and what is possibly a woman screaming when realizing that a person had been hit.
Kim said he is not angry and accepts that accidents happen. But what bothers him is that one or more people in the truck that night can have such blatant disregard for another life.
In some ways, he feels sorry for the person driving and any passengers and imagines that they can’t possibly be functioning well considering their guilt.
To think that they feel no guilt is terrifying, he said.
He is asking them to come forward but is focusing on his recovery.
“I have no intention of letting this define me in any way, shape or form,” he said.
Greenwood police continue to investigate and are asking the public to report any tips and be a specific as possible with information. If you see a truck that matches the description, let the police sort out whether it is the suspect vehicle, Greenwood police Detective Doug Roller said.
The accident happened near the entrance to Summerfield Place subdivision. Police are looking for a dark-colored or black, likely Chevrolet or GMC full-size pickup truck with a lift kit, blue lights where the yellow turn signals are usually placed and a distinctive exhaust system, such as a tuned exhaust or a flowmaster exhaust kit. The truck is gas-powered, rather than diesel, Roller said.
The vehicle may have front-end damage on the passenger side, but passersby might not notice any damage because Kim’s body and his bike took the brunt of the force, Roller said.
Public interest in the days following the accident led to lots of tips from the public, but none of them provided enough details, such as license plates, to lead police to an arrest, Roller said. Detectives urge the public to not hesitate to report a possible suspect vehicle, Roller said.
“This is going to be solved by the public,” Roller said. “Somebody knows.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Greenwood Police Department anonymous tip line at 317-865-0300 or use the Police Connect portal on the city’s website at greenwood.in.gov.
A female may have been a passenger in the vehicle, and police specifically would like to speak to any passengers, Roller said.
“We can’t change what has happened to Mr. Kim,” Roller said.
But the person responsible should come forward, he said.
Kim suspects the driver was highly distracted or intoxicated because he never heard the engine slow down in an attempt to pass him. He estimates the truck was traveling upwards of 50 mph.
The truck hit him from behind and shoved him forward. He was clipped into the pedals, and the force ripped his feet from the clips, causing a high ankle sprain, although emergency crews initially thought his leg was broken.
He heard the truck tires squeal as it sped off. He never lost consciousness but was covered in blood from his facial injuries. His glasses had been shoved into his mouth. Kim dragged his body to his cellphone that had landed about 10 feet away and called 911.
A motorist stopped to help.
Pieces of the bike were strewn over the roadway. A police diagram even showed where Kim’s teeth were found. He spent several days at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.
Kim had 12 fractures in his face and nose, including his eyesocket and forehead. His upper jaw was shattered. Teeth had been shattered and shoved into his upper gums. His front teeth are gone, and his gums had to be split open to remove other teeth.
He is on crutches due to the ankle sprain and experiences pain in his upper leg. His knuckles are still healing, and he wears splints on several fingers.
He faces a surgery on his nose to correct the two breaks that have limited his nasal breathing to 30 to 40 percent. He will need multiple dental implants, and doctors are still working to resolve his leg pain.
“I am beyond grateful to be alive,” he said.
His helmet saved his life, but doctors told him his level of fitness is what made his body strong enough to withstand the trauma.
Kim was using a bright blinking light on both the front and back of his custom-made bike. He was wearing a helmet and special neon sleeves and socks that are reflective.
He manages the new Anytime Fitness in Bargersville, is an employee at the southside Gray Goat store and volunteers in the children’s ministry at Emmanuel Church Banta Campus on Harding Street on the weekends.
“It’s been overwhelming, the amount of support we’ve received from complete strangers,” Kim said.
Strangers have mowed his grass. Fellow cyclists he has never met have donated money. A fundraising ride has been organized for him and his wife, Stephanie.
For now, Kim said he is done riding on the road.
He had wanted to train for a full Iron Man competition and use the event to collect money for veteran organizations or other charities. That is on hold and road cycling is no longer an option.
And while he has always taken every precaution riding, too much is out of his control. He can’t put his wife through another scare, he said. He had been hit once two years ago and has ongoing neck problems.
“Each day we’re given is a gift,” he said.
Greenwood police want the public to report any information that could lead to locating the vehicle and driver involved in a hit-and-run accident on Aug. 10.
Vehicle: Dark-colored or black likely Chevrolet or GMC full-size pickup truck with a lift kit, blue lights where the yellow turn signals are usually placed and a distinctive exhaust system, such as a tuned exhaust or a flowmaster exhaust kit. The truck is gas-powered.
Contact: The Greenwood Police Department anonymous tip line at 317-865-0300 or use the Police Connect portal on the city’s website at greenwood.in.gov.
Gray Goat Sports owner Brian Gootee has set up a Go Fund Me to raise money to help Jon Kim with medical bills, lost earnings from time off work and possibly purchase a new bicycle destroyed when he was injured in a hit-and-run accident earlier this month.
Donate at: gofundme.com/jonkim
Riders can donate to Jon Kim’s recovery and also promote cycling safety and awareness.
When: 8 a.m. Sept. 11
Where: Ride leaves from Gray Goat Sports, downtown Franklin
Details: Cyclists can choose from 24-, 41- or 55-mile rides through Johnson and Brown counties. The rides end at Gray Goat with a barbecue.
A person riding a bicycle on the road has all the rights and duties as a person who drives a vehicle.
Cyclists may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
A bicycle operated on a highway from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red reflector or lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet.