Portsmouth pharmacy manager who survived 100mph horror crash says life is back 'on track'
THE survivor of a 100mph crash who underwent a leg amputation has said his life is back ‘on track’.
Portsea pharmacy manager Rusty Brown was hit head-on by ‘arrogant’ driver Kevin Zhou in a Jaguar 4x4. Zhou was jailed for three years.
Looking back on the horror crash Rusty, 48, says he fears he would have died had he not been driving a heavyweight Mitsubishi Shogun.
And now more than four years after the crash and winning cash from a legal case, Rusty is preparing to climb Ben Nevis despite having a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg.
Rusty, who says he focuses on the positive, said: ‘I was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – an oncoming vehicle was on the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with my car, with a high combined impact speed and a very forceful collision.
‘I am thankful that I was driving a substantial 4x4 vehicle, otherwise I fear I may have died.
‘I feel very thankful that I have recovered well, have had excellent rehabilitation and prosthetics provision, that my legal case has been settled in a very satisfactory way, and my life is very much on track.’
Since the crash on the A259 in West Sussex on August 17 in 2017, Rusty has moved to a bungalow, so he no longer gets ‘stuck’ in a wheelchair in his former narrow terraced home with steep stairs.
Funding from his legal settlement has seen him able to build a future – including adapting his vehicles with a left-foot accelerator and he has bought several prostheses.
He has different protheses for running, walking and hiking, one with a powered ankle for everyday use and another for swimming.
Rusty said: ‘The key message that I would like to convey, as a survivor of a serious accident, is that although it might not feel like it at the time, life-changing injury does not necessarily mean life changing in a negative aspect.
‘Fundamentally, for me, it has been a case of “let’s see things in a very different light”.’
And unlike many involved in dangerous high-speed crashes, Rusty was keen to get back in the driving seat.
He added: ‘For me, in the early stages, being able to drive again was a huge positive.
‘Using interim funding from the legal case, I was able to secure left foot accelerator pedals on five cars and two camper vans (my vehicles have always been important to me).’
As reported, Zhou admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop when he fled the scene leaving Rusty trapped in the Mitsubishi. Firefighters had to cut him out as members of the public tried to keep him calm.
Rusty had been driving home from work at Merali Pharmacy in Queen Street, Portsmouth.
Solicitor Paul Fretwell from George Ide LLP worked on Rusty’s case. He said: ‘Rusty’s injuries were severe and life changing, but everything he has gone on to achieve demonstrates how, with the right support and advice, people can go on to live rich and full lives.
‘I am pleased that we were able to help Rusty in a way that has enabled him to feel very positive about the future.’