Jim Clark Rally spectator left in coma after crash driving again

Keith McCleary, whose injuries included a smashed pelvis, shoulder, ribs and a punctured lung, cant recall the accident in 2014. Picture: Cascade News
Keith McCleary, whose injuries included a smashed pelvis, shoulder, ribs and a punctured lung, cant recall the accident in 2014. Picture: Cascade News
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A motorsports spectator who was critically injured at the Jim Clark Rally in 2014 is back behind the wheel again.

Keith McCleary, 63, spent nine days in a coma after a car ploughed into the crowd at 100mph, injuring three other people, and was told he may never drive again.

“I feel I’ve made it,” said the father of three, a former rally driver who was a member of the South of Scotland Car Club and won the Galloway Hills Rally in 1972 with friend Ivor Clark.

“It’s been a huge ordeal and painful but I’ve turned the corner, so to speak.”

He spent four months in hospital recovering from a smashed pelvis, shoulder, ribs and a punctured lung.

Mr McCleary was warned he may never drive again but has overcome the odds to achieve his dream.

He said: “I didn’t know how close I was to dying after the horrendous accident. My family were told to expect the worst.

“Every part of my body ached badly and I’m still suffering at times. But the thought of never being able to drive again was dreadful. It was too much to bear at times.

“Getting behind the wheel and starting the engine again was just brilliant.

“I couldn’t face becoming dependent on family and friends driving me about.”

Mr McCleary knew nothing of the accident until he woke up from his coma in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

“When I came to I asked my son Grant where I was,” he recalled. “The last thing I remembered was talking to his flatmate in a field while watching for the cars to come round. The rest was a blank.

“Having done a bit of rally driving myself I was upset to find myself struggling to walk painfully to my car without the aid of crutches.

“But I was going to do whatever it took to drive again.

“Many of us take driving for granted but when you can’t you fairly miss it.

“The months recovering in the house were soulless, despite visits from my family and friends.”

His white Ford car lay in his driveway awaiting his return to the wheel.

Meanwhile, his dutiful family kept it clean with regular washing.

“I look at life in a different way now after all that’s happened to me,” he added.