Hit-and-run victim to driver: 'I wish her no ill harm'

Matthew Belknap suffered multiple fractures in August incident

SAN ANTONIO – A Fort Sam Houston soldier nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver is sharing his story of recovery. 

Matthew Belknap was riding his bicycle to work in August in Kirby when a driver struck him and took off. 

The list of fractures and injuries is long. Doctors placed 11 plates and 50 screws between his eyebrow line down to his jawline to put his face back together.  

Related: Reporter Debrief: Soldier defies expectations following hit-and-run 

Months later, doctors are still discovering new fractures all over his body. 

But Belknap's spirit remains unbroken.  

"I tell myself everything happens for a reason, and I hope this happened for a good reason," he said. 

Related: Soldier hit by runaway driver recovering at home, struggling financially

Belknap is very dependent on his wife and kids to get around the house. He's blind in his right eye and legally blind in the other. 

"I have no depth perception, so even walking outside, I have to have someone with me," he said. 

When KSAT 12 News first caught up with Belknap in early September, he was bedridden and his wife was spoon-feeding him.  

"I finally got the feeding down. I figured out where my mouth hole is and not make a mess like a 2-year-old," he said jokingly.

Kirby police arrested Marisa Ross for leaving the scene and not rendering aid. Ross is currently out on bond. Police are also investigating to find out if she was intoxicated.  

Related: Soldier in critical condition after being hit by runaway driver

Belknap said his focus is on getting better, and there's no room for anger against the driver who changed his life. 

"She's made some mistakes in her life, she's only 25. I wish her no ill harm," he said. "But she has made a few mistakes that she does need to see the error in her ways."

Belknap had recently joined the military and was making private first class pay when the incident occurred. The family of six, and another one due in January, depended on two incomes. His wife, Katie, has been unable to work due to having to help her husband get around at home and drive him to multiple doctor appointments weekly. 

He's coming to terms with accepting that his military career will be cut short. 

"I was looking forward to doing 20 years and retiring. I'm not angry about it. It's upsetting, but if it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be," Belknap said. 

Belknap doesn't know yet what type of job he will seek until his body and brain fully heal. 

He began intensive therapy on Monday. 

Belknap's wife is excited about how well her husband is recovering, but she knows there's still confusion in his brain. 

"He's doing phenomenal. A lot of people see him and say, 'Wow. Wow. From the time you were here to now, amazing,'" she said. 

Katie Belknap credits a higher being for his recovery. Belknap credits his recovery to his wife. 

"The way I see it, the only reason I'm sitting here today is because of the wonderful woman sitting next to me," he said. 

Matthew Belknap still has many more surgeries to undergo, but for now, he's glad to see the sun rise again.  

"The doctors told the wife if I live I'll be a vegetable. Well, here I am. A walking carrot," he joked. 

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.