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Trucker covered in tar during high-profile accident making miracle recovery

TORONTO, Ont. -- Against all odds, the trucker who was seriously injured when his tractor-trailer carrying hot tar ...

TORONTO, Ont. — Against all odds, the trucker who was seriously injured when his tractor-trailer carrying hot tar rolled over on the 401 last July is continuing to recover.

John Flegg was scalded by hot tar July 23 when his rig flipped over on Hwy. 401 near Keele. Good Samaritans helped rescue Flegg from his truck and held his head out of the tar. The driver was in a coma at Sunnybrook Hospital until Thanksgiving weekend. However, since emerging from the coma, John Flegg has surprised doctors by making a remarkable recovery, his father Bob told this morning.

The elder Flegg said the passersby who helped hold his son’s head up while waiting for an ambulance to arrive, undoubtedly saved his life.

“All he has lost is one little finger and it’s all because of whoever it was that held his head up when he was in the tar,” Bob Flegg said. “His face isn’t burnt because that man did what he did. His face is fine but the rest of his body is burned.”

He pointed out he’s been unable to track down the heroic motorist to thank him.

Meanwhile, John Flegg continues to get better. In November, 2007 he recovered his ability to speak and in January he was able to breathe without the help of a machine. He has been moved from Sunnybrook to St. John’s Rehab in Toronto where he continues to undergo rehabilitation.

“He’s going to be in rehab quite a while,” said his father. “He’s had a pretty rough go, but he’s going to make it now. He’s in good spirits.”

Flegg must continue to wear a body suit, which will help the skin heal. That could take another couple of years, his father said. He said his son’s physical fitness helped him pull through the ordeal.

“He never drank, he never smoked. He was healthy and strong. The doctors have a hard time believing he made it,” said Bob Flegg.

It’s unlikely that John Flegg will return to work as a professional driver. Bob said his son lost part of his vision in one eye. “I don’t think he wants to do any more trucking,” he said.

It still bothers Bob Flegg that the media initially reported the accident was his son’s fault. He said John Flegg was likely cut off, according to police reports. John has no memory of the accident.

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