There’s Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and now there’s… Ladislav Cumpelik?
Cumpelik is the B.C. cyclist who against all odds survived when his morning commute went from Mission: Impossible to Die Hard.
A lot of stuff was going through my brain… ‘Is this my last journey?’ – Ladislav Cumpelik, cyclist
The 37-year-old Saanich man says he was riding to work on Thursday, coming down a steep hill along West Saanich Road, when a flatbed semi-trailer truck sailed right out in front of him.
Cumpelik desperately slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. He lost control of the bike, hit the road hard and was rapidly sliding between the truck’s wheels.
“My front tire went from underneath me, I started skidding on my back and behind, and I noticed…I didn’t have enough speed to go underneath the truck and through to the other side.”
All hope seemed lost.
‘I had a death grip on’
But what happened next was like a scene from an action movie.
“I grabbed on to his brake line and held on tight and started screaming.”
Sliding along the road, underneath a moving truck, Cumpelik was hanging on for dear life.
“A lot of stuff was going through my brain… ‘Is this my last journey?’ … And I was just screaming at the top of my lungs… I had a death grip on.”
Police say Cumpelik was dragged half a kilometre at an estimated 50 km/h before the truck stopped, after another motorist who witnessed the incident sped up alongside the trailer, honking and yelling.
Nothing short of a ‘miracle’
When emergency responders arrived, they found a man, battered, bruised and broken — but amazingly, alive. Saanich Police Const. Paul Cain described it as nothing short of a “miracle.”
“I’ve been doing this job for over 27 years and that was the first time I have ever seen anything like that,” said Cain.
Cumpelik is now recovering in hospital, having suffered some cuts, bruises, broken ribs, a broken shoulder and what he happily describes as “road rash.”
This isn’t the first time Cumpelik has had a lucky escape.
Last year, he says, he had another close call while out cycling. And when he was two years old, his mother says, he drowned, but was revived by his father.
“He’s our miracle baby… He’ll be bruised and he’ll remember this for a while, but I’m really glad he’s with us,” she said tearfully.
B.C.’s new action hero says he feels like Indiana Jones — but it isn’t something he’ll be doing again.
“It was a thrill ride, I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it. It was certainly an interesting journey,” said Cumpelik.
“But I don’t wish it on anybody.”