A 65-year-old Tempe man is still recovering from injuries suffered when he was hit by a sport utility vehicle while riding his bike in September.
But already he has aspirations to compete in a triathlon in the spring.
Reginald "Reg" Batt, a well-known portrait photographer whose clients include several Tempe high schools and sports teams, was left with broken ribs, a dislocated hip, two broken vertebrae, a broken foot and a concussion after the Sept. 20 hit-and-run in Tempe.
Batt, an avid runner, swimmer and bicyclist, spent 10 days at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix and then four more at Mesa General Hospital for rehabilitation before being released. But things are not quite back to normal yet, said his wife, Jean.
"There’s a lot ahead," she said. "He’s going to get back — but it’s going to take some time. It’s been a hard thing. It’s been a complete change in how we live."
When first released, Batt needed a walker to get around. He still wears a plastic upper body brace to keep pressure off of his healing vertebrae. Not even that can stop Batt. He still walks and has recently begun swimming laps again at a local pool.
Batt is still taking things slow — he’s spending more time at his business and still going to physical therapy — but he is again thinking of future events. There’s another competition coming up: The Generations Triathlon at Sun City Grand — an 800 meter swim, 12-mile bike ride and 5K run, scheduled for March.
"I’ve got my application for that sitting on the counter," Batt said. "I would like to be able to do that."
Gary Venturo, head football coach for Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, said Batt’s shop, "Portraits by Reg," does team photographs and also took his children’s senior portraits.
"He’s just a good man," Venturo said. "He’s a fighter. I’m just glad he’s back."
Tempe police detective Mark LaBelle said that so far the investigation into the crash has not revealed any solid leads on the SUV, described as a late model Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban or GMC Yukon or Yukon XL.
The SUV would have had damaged headlights, and dents on the front and right sides of the hood.
LaBelle said he is still hoping for that call from someone who remembers the SUV with that specific damage. Anybody with possible information on the hit-and-run is urged to call Tempe police at (480) 350-8311.