Augusta cyclist recovers in nursing home after being hit by pickup

Emelyn Hunter said her brother Ernest Tanner, 58, suffered life-threatening injuries on Aug. 8 when he was hit by a pickup in the 1700 block of Tobacco Road.

An Augusta cyclist hit by a pickup truck in August on Tobacco Road continues to recover in a nursing home four months later, his sister said Tuesday.

Emelyn Hunter said Ernest Tanner, 58, suffered life-threatening injuries on Aug. 8 when he was hit in the 1700 block of Tobacco Road, near Deans Bridge Road. He spent four weeks in the intensive care unit at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, followed by two months in a regular room before he was discharged to a rehabilitation home off Walton Way.

He’s recovered to the point where he can talk and get out of bed, but Tanner’s future prognosis remains unclear.

“With a head injury, they don’t really promise you anything,” Hunter said.

Tanner is a recently-divorced father of four, who was living alone the night of the wreck. He doesn’t remember much about what happened, but Hunter said the family thinks he was cycling after a workout at the YMCA. His truck was later found on Tobacco Road.

“He’s always been physically fit,” Hunter said.

Tanner grew up in Sylvania, Ga., where he was the oldest of four children. He played high school football before becoming a teacher. Hunter said her brother taught middle school at a small Baptist school in Grovetown. History was his favorite subject.

Court records show that the truck’s driver, Willie Ferrell, 57, of the 800 block of First Street, has been charged with a misdemeanor, following too closely, in connection with the wreck. Ferrell’s attorney, Marty Puetz, said Tuesday that the case is still in the discovery stage.

Tanner’s wreck came a week after Dr. Daniel Dickinson was hit from behind while commuting by bicycle to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon. Dickinson died; no charges have been filed against that driver, Charlie Bussey, 76.

Thanksgiving was tough for Tanner’s family because his father was sick at the time and later passed away. Tanner wasn’t present, either. Hunter, who travels about every two weeks from Sylvania to visit her brother, said Christmas will be a challenge for everyone.

“It’s not going to be easy,” she said.

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