Family Appeals For Hit And Run Driver To Come Forward

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A bent and broken bicycle is left lying on the side of the road.
Minutes before, 44-year-old Brad Young of Hilliard, was enjoying a bike ride, heading south along Dublin Road about 8 a.m. Sunday.

But then, all of a sudden, Young’s world changed forever.

He was just blocks away from his home, but he never made it there.

Police say an unknown vehicle heading southbound struck Young from behind, sending him flying.

Then, police say the driver took off, leaving Young for dead along the side of the road.

Two days later, Young is still in the hospital recovering from a brain injury, lacerations to his head, some broken ribs and a shoulder injury.
At this point there are a lot of questions - but no answers for this family.
"There isn’t a nicer guy - that's what just blows my mind – how somebody could do this to that kind of individual, it's unacceptable," Chris Merklin told 10TV News Tuesday afternoon.

He’s just thankful his brother-in-law is alive.

"You take it for granted that you're going to be safe, that this won't happen. And then when it does happen, and to somebody that's so important in your life, it stops you in your tracks,” he added.  “Everything changes in an instant."

Police say it's still too early to tell how fast the car or truck was moving when the driver hit the father of five, tossing him into the air.

The force of the impact was strong enough to send the bike's back tire hurtling across the two-lane road.

Merklin says he's glad Brad was wearing a helmet.

"We're looking at head injuries here with a helmet,” he said.  “Without the helmet, only God knows what we'd be looking at."

Since the crash two days ago, police are still gathering evidence and talked to a good Samaritan, who came upon the scene, got out of her car and held Brad's hand, comforting him along the side of the road until paramedics arrived.

10TV has also learned another biker with medical training was also pedaling by right after the crash and stopped to help out.

The family is thankful for these two guardian angels who helped save Brad’s life.

Merklin has a message for the person who hit Brad and drove away from the scene.

"He was left in a ditch by an individual,” Merklin said.  “Clearly this has to be on their conscience - they have to realize that this was a human being, and to drive away and not take responsibility, is unfathomable for us as family members, and just as a member of society."

Merklin hopes the driver comes forward.

"I hope they realize what effect they've made on this family, and they come forth and take responsibility for their actions,” he said.  “That will help this family to heal, that's for sure."

Merklin said the family expects Brad to make a full recovery. Young is undergoing speech and physical therapy now, and doctors continue to monitor a brain injury.

“You look at him and physically he’s banged up, but he looks pretty decent given what happened, being hit by a car,” said Merklin.

Chris says Brad is an avid athlete, and he believes being in good physical shape is helping Brad get through this.

“He’s a tough guy,” Merklin said.  “He’s a heck of a baseball and football coach, a fabulous Dad and wonderful husband and brother.”

Investigators with the Hilliard Police Department say they don’t have much to go on and are not sure of the make or model of the vehicle that struck Young.

Like the family, police hope the person who drove away comes forward.

Police say they are awaiting test results from evidence at the scene. They also want auto body shops in the Columbus area to be on the lookout for a vehicle with front end or right side damage.

Detectives are also appealing to anyone who was on Dublin road Sunday morning - who saw anything - or knows something - to come forward with that information.

The Hilliard Police Department may be reached at (614)876-2429.