Inverness hit-and-run victim left paralyzed, remains positive

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An Inverness man is making a remarkable recovery after a woman allegedly ran him over and then took off in March.

He spent months in the hospital and is finally back home, but he and his wife have ongoing battles – at home and in court.

Jarrett Suydam and his wife, Samantha are adjusting to their new normal after their lives were changed, in the blink of an eye.

"I was walking home from the Inverness Family Dollar. I was about three-quarters of the way down the street to here, and that's when I was struck in the back," Jarrett said. "I've had bladder surgeries, pelvic surgeries for internal bleeding. They also went into the same opening because I was bleeding into my lungs."

Authorities say 65-year-old Elizabeth Rose McKee hit Jarrett with her truck and kept driving. A day later, she turned herself in and allegedly admitted to the crime.

"When I got to the hospital and learned how bad it was, that's when reality hit me. I was scared the whole ride there and then I had anger. I didn't understand how someone could leave another person laying there," Samantha said. "He's had 22 procedures. And he'll have a surgery once a month for his catheter due to the kind of catheter it is and we'll have reconstructive surgeries along the way as well."

That March night was the first of many Jarrett spent at the hospital.

"Doctors were talking to me about what was going on and, within a couple seconds, he crashed. There was nothing - no heart rate, his blood pressure, they were trying to push me out of the room. They were trying to push me out of the room and I had to watch them ventilate him, it's hard," Samantha remembered.

Now, four months later, the 26-year-old is back home. He is paralyzed, but says he is staying positive.

"You're just doing everything from a seated position. You have a hard time reaching some things that are too high or some things that are too low, but thankfully I have my wife to help me with all the things I can't do by myself," Jarrett said.

His physical and legal battles are far from over, but he's glad to be alive.

"I'm thankful and lucky to be here, and that's really what matters."

McKee was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and could face up to 15 years in jail. A court date is for August 1.

"We want to see justice. We don't hold the hatred in our heart, but we do feel that punishment is the biggest thing," Samantha added.