INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - There were several crashes in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, but theworst 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 8he walked around for about 15 minutes Monday afternoon for thefirst time since the accident.
Meira said, "Things started to happen really fast. It wasactually the fastest crash I've ever had. The way everythinghappened, there was no time to realize I was crashing. I realized Iwas crashing after I was already crashed out."
The accident happened in the closing laps of the race, cominginto turn one. Raphael Matos hit the back end of Meira, causingMeira's car to slam into the wall. The car slid on its side, on twowheels, for about a quarter-mile.
"The thing that stuck in my mind the most was the pain in myback," Meira said. "I also remember the car being upside down andbackwards. I remember moving my hands and legs to make sureeverything was alright even before the car stopped."
This is the first Indy 500 race Meira has not finished since hejoined the league in 2003. Meira said he's disappointed, but heisn't holding a grudge against Matos.
"He didn't want to crash. I didn't want to crash," Meirasaid.
Matos came to visit his fellow countryman at the hospital Mondaymorning. He then mentioned the accident at the victory banquetMonday night.
"It was just a very unfortunate incident in the end of therace," Matos said. "It took both of us out, both me and Vitor. I'mjust 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 fourmonths.
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