Bicyclist injured in deadly crash starting to recover

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:54 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:46 AM EDT
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HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) - Days after suffering life-threatening injuries in a deadly crash, bicyclist Natalie Rainer is starting to recover.

Police said on the morning of Aug. 13, Rainer and Jonah Holland were hit by a drunk driver while riding their bikes near Osbourne Turnpike and Village Field Lane in Henrico.

Holland died at the scene, and Rainer is still hospitalized, but her family said doctors have removed a breathing tube and temporarily suspended the pain medication.

“She’s got a broken collarbone, numerous broken ribs, and a fractured bone in her face,” said Bob Rainer, Natalie’s uncle.

According to her family, among her first words after regaining consciousness were, “I will live for Jonah.”

“When she woke up, she said, ‘I have to live for Jonah,’ and I think that’s the battle cry of this ordeal,” Bob said. “Just nobody should have to live through this situation.”

Over the weekend, doctors had to repair the damage to Rainer’s liver.

Now, the family is waiting on the first of many surgeries, including one expected to happen on Thursday, where plates and pins will be put into her pelvis to heal where it was broken.

To try and help with the costs, family members have created a GoFundMe, which has already raised over $70,000.

Bob said it’s emotional to see the support from the community and from people they’ve never even met before.

“I just think that the situation touches people’s hearts, and they see a reason to give,” Bob said. “It’s just very touching, out of all of this hardship, that you can see the good in the community.”

While everyone is still unsure how long the road to recovery will be, Rainer’s family said they know Natalie will come out stronger.

“She’s the kind of person, who, after she’s healed, if that ever happens, she’s going to come out of this as a deeper, better person,” Bob said.

Jeffery Brooks, 18, has been charged with DUI and manslaughter in connection to the crash. He’s due back in court next week.

The Richmond Area Bicycling Association will be holding a memorial ride for Jonah and a recovery ride for Natalie.

The ride will start at General Sheppard Crump Memorial Park in Glen Allen Thursday night at 6. After some remarks, the group plans on riding 21 miles. They ask you to bring fully charged lights and to wear a helmet.

Natalie’s uncle says he plans on being there as well.

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