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Elderly Canton man beaten by driver after car accident offers forgiveness to his attacker

86-year-old Ralph White says he wants to send Travonce Backie a bible in prison
Published: Jan. 2, 2022 at 9:43 PM EST
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CANTON, Ohio (WOIO) - Sunday morning, Ralph White sat in the pews of Grace Fellowship in Canton reflecting on the word.

“Resentment, anger, every time you see that person there’s something in you, said Pastor E. Keith Stephens. ”When we choose not to forgive, to carry the burden, to hold the grudge, then we won’t be forgiven by God,” he said.

And for White, the words were deeply personal.

“Don’t hold grudges against people because grudges will kill you,” said White.

Last February, the 86 year-old man was nearly beaten to death by Travonce Backie.

Investigators say Backie attacked White after their cars collided in Canton.

“So I rolled my window down to talk to him and he just starts cussing me out, opens the door and just pounds on me,” said White.

After the crash, Backie attacked White with his fists before fleeing the scene.

White was hospitalized and suffered multiple injuries including facial fractures and brain bleeding.

He told 19 News recovery has been difficult.

86-year-old Ralph White says he forgives his attacker, Travonce Backie. Backie was convicted of...
86-year-old Ralph White says he forgives his attacker, Travonce Backie. Backie was convicted of attacking White in a road rage incident back in 2021.(WOIO)

“I had headaches so bad, I go to bed, sleep four, five, six hours during the day. It was hard on my wife and she would be home, I would be there but she would be alone because I would be in bed. It made it hard. Our marriage was really hard for a while,” he said.

Backie was convicted of felonious assault and other charges and is serving five to 7.5 years in prison.

White didn’t attend the court hearings but says he wishes Backie well and forgives him.

“People say, how can you do that. I was raised in a Christian home, I was taught that way all my life and it will never change. I believe the good Lord will take care of me. I believe Mr. Backie will come out of prison a much better man,” said White.

These days, White and his wife of 67 years spend more time together, he loves playing with his grandchildren and he’s excited to meet his great-great grandchild due this summer. But he thinks of Backie at times.

“As soon as I get the okay, I want to send the guy a bible,” he said. “And I want to pray for him. I want everybody to pray for him because like I said, wrong place, right time and in my heart, I forgive the guy,” said White.

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