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Hit-and-run victim critically injured; arrested suspect thought she hit deer

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 15, 2019

INVERNESS, Fla. — A Bay Area husband is still fighting for his life after he was the victim of a hit and run while walking home from work on Sunday night.

"He’s someone who always has a smile on his face," said Samantha Suydam.

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It's one of the reasons Samantha says she married her best friend, Jarrett Suydam, nearly three years ago. They had a plan to have kids and buy a house, but that plan came crashing to a halt on Sunday evening.

"We only have one car. I had to work and he had to work so he had to walk that day," said Samantha.

Jarrett was walking in the grass along an Inverness road around 9 p.m. when he was hit. He was only 100 yards from his home when it happened.

"The person left the VFW swerved into the grass, hit him, and dragged his body 70 yards," said Samantha.

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Then the driver took off. Witnesses called for help and Jarrett was rushed to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where he’s been ever since.

"I almost lost him multiple times, he’s been off and on a ventilator, so that’s been really hard," said Samantha.

Jarrett is currently in stable condition but suffers from a broken pelvis, broken ribs, a ruptured bladder and many more extensive injuries that require many surgeries.

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"It seems like its a dream. Like I’m just waiting to wake up from a nightmare," said Samantha.

On Thursday, deputies arrested 65-year-old Elizabeth McKee of Floral City after seeing her vehicle. She told deputies that she thought she hit a deer.

"It’s hard to say I’m going to forgive that person but at the same time, I know people make mistakes," said Samantha.

Samantha says she wants higher penalties for hit-and-run drivers.

"This is the worst pain ever. I want any other family to have to go through this," she said.

The family says they would like to thank the community for all of their continued support and prayers while Jarrett fights to recover.