"Please don't leave me here," the national champion cyclist begged the shadowy figure hunched over him. He knew his injuries were bad.
"Please don't leave me here."
Then, with the sound of footsteps crunching on gravel like something out of an old western movie, the figure turned around, walked back to his truck, climbed inside and drove off.
Then it went black.
Metcalfe, 45, a Pacific Beach resident, was struck by a hit-and-run driver Jan. 22 while cycling on Lyon's Valley Road in Jamul, according to reports. He flew more than 100 feet before landing, breaking his right leg in seven places, and fracturing his hand and pelvis. The driver, according to reports, allegedly got out of his truck to look at Metcalfe, then drove off, leaving him for dead.
The incident was the second time in barely over a year that Metcalfe has been hit by a vehicle while cycling.
"I'm very grateful, it's pretty miraculous that I lived through it," Metcalfe said from his hospital bed. "It's sort of like being struck by lightening twice."
In the first accident, on Jan.13, 2005, Metcalfe was crossing Grand Avenue at Kendall Street in Pacific Beach on a beach cruiser when he was struck by a motorist. He suffered broken bones, a punctured lung and a traumatic brain injury. He had to re-learn basic motor skills during his time in intensive care and with home care. Though the motorist was insured, his policy did not nearly cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical expenses incurred.
Metcalfe said that doctors told him that most of the recovery from his traumatic brain injury would take place within 18 to 24 months of the accident. The second accident occurred before this deadline.
The suspect in last month's hit-and-run, Ronald Patrick Drinkard, 41, of Jamul remains at large. Drinkard is described by the CHP Traffic Collision report as 5 feet 11 inches, 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.
In an unrelated incident, Drinkard's brother, Kenneth Drinkard, of Jamul, was shot and killed by a Sheriff's deputy after an altercation on a routine traffic stop in Dulzura less than a week after the hit-and-run.
According to representatives from the San Diego District Attorney's office, there is a warrant out for Ronald Drinkard's arrest. He is charged with felony hit-and-run with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury, destroying or concealing evidence, driving on a suspended/revoked license and failure to provide proof of insurance.
The CHP report says that an officer recognized the description of the silver/gray pick-up truck with wooden stakes around the flat bed involved in the hit-and-run as similar to one belonging to Drinkard. The officer was familiar with Drinkard because of numerous calls to the California Border Communications Center advising of a possible D.U.I. driver in the Jamul area, according to the officer's statement in the report.
The report also says that Drinkard allegedly told family members that he had struck a tree, but later admitted that he had really struck a bicyclist. The report says Drinkard admitted Metcalfe did ask him to call an ambulance, but he left the scene because he was scared and did not know what to do.
"Unfortunately hit-and-runs happen all too often," said Brian Pennings, public-affairs officer for the California Highway Patrol. He said that there are several reasons why a driver involved in a crash may run, including fear or possible driving under the influence. He said that it is difficult to speculate what is going through their minds.
In the meantime, Metcalfe has had a lot of time to think about the future while he recuperates at the hospital. He said that he does not know if he will ever ride again, but that when he recovers, he wants to start a non-profit organization that promotes safety both for cyclists and motorists. Metcalfe is currently developing a website, www.safe-bicycling.org.
"My calling is now to be of service to others," Metcalfe said. "I think it's really important that both cyclists and motorist both take time to be aware of each other and give the other some courtesy."
Metcalfe moved to Pacific Beach from Westlake Village, a city near the Ventura/Los Angeles County line, shortly before his first accident. He said that he always wanted to live in San Diego because he thought it was a beautiful place and good for cycling.
He started cycling competitively in the early 1980s, and said he has since won 40 titles in national and state competitions, including a national tandem time trial championship in Seattle in 1985 and a win at the Nike Master's World Games in the late 1980s. Before the accident, Metcalfe trained up to four or five hours a day.
He started working in the bicycle industry with companies Raleigh and Lemond until he founded his own company, ABICI Bikes, in 2000, with partner Roy Knickman. ABICI bikes was projected to do $1 million in sales until Metcalfe was struck in the first accident, according to his Web site.
Unable to work because of his injuries, Metcalfe lost the company, though the ABICI Bikes logo tattooed on his right arm remains. He was also financially devastated by more than $150,000 in medical bills from the first accident. Metcalfe had no health insurance at the time.
Several friends of Metcalfe are rallying around him to raise money to pay medical bills. Larry Shannon of Rancho Santa Fe, who, along with his wife, has been cycling with Metcalfe for more than 20 years. The two volunteered his web design services to set up www.helpclark.com, a Web site that accept donations for Metcalfe's medical expenses.
Since launching earlier this month, the site has helped raise more than $1,000. It also accepts PayPal donations.
The business community in Pacific Beach is also stepping up to help Metcalfe.
"He's just a really nice guy," said Michelle King, who works in the Pacific Beach office of Dr. Kimberly Quan, DDS, where Metcalfe is a patient. "We think it's horrible what's happened to him." Hearing about the financial troubles Metcalfe encountered from the accidents, the office forgave his debt for previous dental work.
Though recovery will be long and slow process, Metcalfe said he is trying to keep a positive attitude. He said that if cycling is going to be promoted as an alternative form of transportation to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in San Diego, than it must be made safer for cyclists.