Brain injury victim gets his day in court

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A 26-year-old Columbus, Ohio man will spend four years in prison for robbery after driving over a Wal-Mart customer service manager in a shoplifting incident.

The former manager, who no longer works for Wal-Mart, suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the October 2010 incident. Doctors told his mother his brain injuries were so extensive that he would be lucky to survive. They predicted he would never be able to lead a normal life.

According to court documents, the convicted man’s 29-year-old sister allegedly took an electronic device from the Wal-Mart store and ran out to his car. The Wal-Mart employee saw what was happening and chased the sister.

As the former manager reached the car, the store’s surveillance video showed the man accelerating. The camera captured the scene as the car struck the manager and launched him onto the hood of the vehicle. After the manager rolled off the car’s hood, one of the tires ran over his entire body.

The manager was taken to Grant Medical Center, where he spent more than a month recovering from the crash. In addition to his head injuries, he had a collapsed lung, broken ribs and broken bones in his face.

The former manager is still in outpatient therapy, but his recovery has exceeded his doctor’s expectations. He is now able to live on his own. He is currently in the process of applying to pharmacy schools. His mother calls his recovery a miracle.

Police arrested the 26-year-old man and his sister at their Columbus home. The man pleaded guilty to robbery.

On Nov. 29, 2011, a Franklin County common pleas judge sentenced him to four years in prison. The former manager attended the sentencing, but chose not to speak.

The 29-year-old sister pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and theft in September. A judge sentenced her to nearly five years in prison.

In this case, although justice was served in criminal court, the victimized man has been left with ongoing medical concerns and expenses that could plague him the rest of his life. The man may choose to seek compensation in civil court in order to cover expenses such as short-term and long-term medical costs and to compensate for possible lost wages.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “‘Miracle’ victim makes it to court for sentencing of man who ran him over,” John Futty, Nov. 30, 2011