BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For two months now, Central High senior, Daniel Wesley, 17, has been out of school recovering after he was shot, then run over by a car while trying to help a woman left for dead on Essen Lane in November 2016.
Wesley was headed home on on Nov. 27 when he saw April Peck in the street. She had been shot and tossed out of her boyfriend's car, according to officials. Wesley stopped to help her, but that's when he said Peck's boyfriend turned on him.
"He came back and ran me over. I flipped over the car, broke my arm, separated my ulna and radius right at the tip," said Wesley.
That's when the man allegedly shot Wesley twice. Wesley's foot twisted 180 degrees. He spent three weeks in the hospital, and despite wearing a sling on his arm and undergoing surgery on his leg, he never lost hope. "I never thought I would ever be able to run again or compete or any of that and I'm still never going to think that," said Wesley.
In fact, the week after he was released, Wesley was walking with the help of a harness.
"Erik, my physical therapist, he'll pull on a rope, which would lower the weight on me and then we would walk back and forth," said Wesley.
On Monday, January 23, nearly two months later, he has come a long way in his recovery. He's balancing on one foot and regaining range of motion in the muscles around those joints. He's squatting to strengthen his leg, in which there is a good bit of shaking, that his physical therapist, Erik Strahan, said shows the weakness, but he's fighting through it.
"I would expect for somebody to have a very long recovery, but with Daniel, he's been working so hard and he just pushes through everything," said Strahan.
Wesley is also performing stretches with his legs and arms. "He'll crank on my arm and he'll do it for like ten seconds and that's ten seconds of pain," said Wesley.
He's also doing exercises in a pool. He's able to perform tasks in the pool that he's not able to do on the ground because he's lighter in the pool. He's able to walk and reach for his legs with his arms, and even swim. He also works against resistance jets to make the exercises more challenging.
"It allows us to challenge him even more, make his muscles work harder," said Strahan.
Wesley returns to school Tuesday for the first time since he was shot. He wants to compete with Central High's track team, something he has not done since middle school. "I set the bar high, that way I push myself," said Wesley.
"I think he can do anything he wants to do," said Strahan.
If he could go back to that November night, would he do it all over again? "Yes, in a heartbeat," he replied.
"My goal is in life to be the person, like people say the world is evil, but I want to be the person people look at and say, 'Oh, there's still good in people.' I want them to see the goodness in people through me," said Wesley.
Wesley said he does keep in touch with Peck's sister and two young boys and plans to make sure he's in their lives as they grow up.