OAKLAND, Calif. - An East Bay man who survived a horrific hit-and-run crash that killed two of his friends shared his story with KTVU.
Daniel Nasser said the ordeal was life-altering and he now faces a long and painful road to recovery.
Almost seven weeks after surviving a hit-and-run crash in Oakland, he took his first steps on Thursday with the help of crutches.
"There are days when it's still not real, still coping with that," said Nasser.
He's coping with a fractured foot, shoulder and back injuries.
But the pain is not only physical.
He's grieving the loss of his close friend, Derrick Shaw and Shaw's fiancé, Vera Hampton. Both were killed in that same crash.
"He was like a big brother to me. I catch myself wanting to call him and realize that he's not there," said Nasser.
On the morning of Sept. 24, the three were going to church. Shaw was driving his white SUV in east Oakland and was making a left turn.
A 25-year-old man driving a stolen black sedan crashed into the passenger side of the car where Hampton sat.
Nasser was sitting behind her.
"I remember looking out the window and the car hitting me on that side. And everything is a blank until the fireman pulled me out and put me in the ambulance," said Nasser.
The 45-year-old credited his sister with helping him with his recovery.
"I think he's being really strong about the whole thing. I'm just thankful that I have him," said Rebecca Palpal-Latoc, Nasser's sister.
Police arrested suspect Patrick Nickerson of Oakland near the crash scene soon after it happened.
He faces charges including vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving with serious injury and possession of a firearm by a felon.
He is scheduled to enter a plea Nov. 29.
Nasser said he forgave the hit-and-run driver.
"Blessed. I think about it every day," said Nasser,"I'm thankful to be alive. That I'm very thankful for."
Nasser said he would be undergoing physical therapy for his injuries.
He hopes to be able to return to work as a custodian in the Albany school district in January.
He said he's not sure what medical expenses his insurance will cover.
His sister has started a GoFundMe to help.
Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU, Instagram @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU.