On May 31, 2011, a fatal crash killed bicyclist Nick Venuto and severely injured bicyclist Baron Herdelin Doherty. One year later, Venuto is remembered through this special memorial while Herdelin Doherty continues on his road to recovery.
It was a horrific scene off the Highway 56 bike path east of the Carmel Mountain Road Bridge exactly one year ago today. That's when an SUV veered off the road and plowed through a fence, killing one bicyclist and severely injuring another.
When that car plowed through the fence going between 70 or 80 mph, it changed lives forever.
The bicyclist killed in the crash was 40-year-old Poway resident and father of two Nick Venuto. A memorial honoring Venuto still stands today near the site of the accident.
The other bicyclist seriously injured in the crash was Solana Beach resident Baron Herdelin Doherty, CEO of the San Diego County YMCA.
Herdelin Doherty suffered a fractured pelvis, fractured elbow, broken ribs, kidney trauma and broken hips in the collision.
Months after the accident, NBC 7 San Diego followed him as he went through grueling and painful physical therapy.
He’s a former triathlete who had to learn to walk again.
“Early on, I couldn't stand up, couldn't walk, I was in a wheelchair, taking a shower. It's been arduous,” explained Herdelin Doherty one year after the terrible accident.
“After the accident, I aged 40 years. And every day I get younger,” he added.
In just one year, Herdelin Doherty has made tremendous progress. He has slowly started to swim, walk and even cycle again.
“I feel like I can do things that, seriously, I feel I could not do yesterday. Whether it's putting my sock on or running a little bit or seeing someone and telling the story of how this has affected me,” he said.
Herdelin Doherty knows he’s lucky to be alive.
These days, he said he has absolutely no memory of the accident and considers that a blessing.
“People ask me all the time, 'Hey, are you afraid of the cars, are you riding on the road?' I tell them, well, the blessing is, I don't remember any of that,” he explained.
The driver of the SUV from the fatal accident is facing misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges.
Meanwhile, the victims in this case have filed a negligence lawsuit against the driver, state, county and city.