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Updated: Monday, 25 May 2009, 11:04 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 25 May 2009, 9:50 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - There were several crashes in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, but the
worst one sent Vitor Meira to the hospital with a broken back.
Meira will remain in the hospital until Wednesday.
After putting on a special back brace, Meira told 24-Hour News 8
he walked around for about 15 minutes Monday afternoon for the
first time since the accident.
Meira said, "Things started to happen really fast. It was actually the fastest crash I've ever had. The way everything happened, there was no time to realize I was crashing. I realized I was crashing after I was already crashed out."
The accident happened in the closing laps of the race, coming into turn one. Raphael Matos hit the back end of Meira, causing Meira's car to slam into the wall. The car slid on its side, on two wheels, for about a quarter-mile.
"The thing that stuck in my mind the most was the pain in my back," Meira said. "I also remember the car being upside down and backwards. I remember moving my hands and legs to make sure everything was alright even before the car stopped."
This is the first Indy 500 race Meira has not finished since he joined the league in 2003. Meira said he's disappointed, but he isn't holding a grudge against Matos.
"He didn't want to crash. I didn't want to crash," Meira said.
Matos came to visit his fellow countryman at the hospital Monday morning. He then mentioned the accident at the victory banquet Monday night.
"It was just a very unfortunate incident in the end of the race," Matos said. "It took both of us out, both me and Vitor. I'm just extremely sorry for what happened."
"If you're pushing, if you're trying to win, you will crash," Meira said.
Meira said he can't wait to get back into the driver's seat.
Recovery, which includes physical therapy, will take about four
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