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Back to school board Robert Moreno | Sat, Sep 28 2013 12:00 PM

Sweetwater Trustee John McCann returned to the Sweetwater school board meeting Monday after nearly losing his life in a July 24 car accident.

“I’m just very thankful to be alive, originally the call was a fatality accident,” McCann said.

McCann, 45, sat on the dais looking alert and responsive, but left hours later because he said he was “exhausted and just wanted to go home.”

The former Chula Vista councilman said he is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, although, he said, it may take him up to a year to recover from four broken ribs and the neck and back pain he is still suffering from.

He said he received about 1,000 letters of support and phone calls during his recovery.

McCann said it was a priority of his to get back to the board meetings so he can continue to serve the students in the district.

“I’m technically not back on my job, I’m still going to rehabilitation during the day,” he said.  “But I thought it was important to get back on the school board, it only meets once a month.”

Kevin O’Neill, said it was nice to see the board member back in action.

“I’m glad to see that he is up and running,” O’Neill said. “Hopefully he can recover fully and get back to 100 percent.”

On the same day McCann made his post-accident debut on the school board, the Chula Vista Police Department released its investigation report, which clears McCann of any blame in the accident.

“The police report totally vindicated me,” he said referring to rumors that the accident was caused by him being on his cell phone.

In the early stages of the investigation, police had McCann “most at fault,” because he failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.

The other person involved in the accident is Martin Duncan, 50, a district employee.

But after downloading data from Duncan’s 2011 Dodge Challenger, it was determined that the district’s information technology worker was driving at an unsafe speed.

Duncan sustained a laceration to his right forearm and complained of pain to his back  and knee.

The accident occurred at 4:55 p.m. on Telegraph Canyon Road at the intersection of Old Telegraph Canyon Road, where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. Data collected by the police department reveals that Duncan traveled at 87 mph two seconds before the collision occurred, and at 63 mph prior to impact.

Information from McCann’s 2006 Saturn showed he was accelerating steadily during his turning movement.

Had Duncan been traveling at the speed limit, McCann could have safely turned left onto Telegraph Canyon Road from

Old Telegraph Canyon Road, the investigation determined.

The report states that police could not determine if McCann was using his cell phone at the time of the collision.

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