Charity runner struck in Madison County to remain in hospital, may never run again


The family of a New Zealand man hit by a truck while running for charity pleads with the driver, who took off, to come forward.

Doctors have told Nick Ashill that he may have to spend the next 5 months in Columbus learning how to walk again.

Ashill was hit last week while running along U.S. 40 in Madison County.

He was running across America to raise awareness for the illness that took his mother's life, Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Ashill averaged about 40 miles a day. He had been running from L.A. to Ohio and had plans to run all the way to New York on foot.

"I thought he was going to die,"' Sarah Ashill said.

During his run last Wednesday morning, Ashill's wife Sarah happened to be Skyping with him.

"I said 'OK, when are you meeting Kieran and Emily?' He said 'oh I'm seeing for breakfast at 35k' and then, that was it," Sarah Ashill said.

At that moment, Ashill had been struck by a truck.

"So I saw like you do in the movies. I saw the rolling of the camera and then, it was quiet," Sarah Ashill said.

Once Sarah realized what happened, she started recording on her phone.

"Why? Why would they do this? Why?" Nick Ashill said.

"I know it's ok. I want you to keep, keep breathing," Sarah Ashill said.

The incident left Ashill in a ditch on the side of U.S. 40 with a shattered pelvis and broken bones. In the recorded conversation with his wife, Ashill believes he was hit on purpose.

"Just keep breathing darling," Sarah Ashill said.

"It was deliberate," Nick Ashill said.

"He said this guy came off the road onto the shoulder and deliberately hit him," Sarah Ashill said.

Investigators said a deliberate hit and run could be a possibility, but right now they are still looking for a suspect.

"The worst thing in all of this is that we've been told that Nick may never run again," Sarah Ashill said.

He may not finish his run across America.

"Yeah it's something he wanted to do, but he's doing it for a cause and someone's just taken it away from him in an instant," Sarah Ashill said.

The driver who did it is still out there.

"Come forward and be honest. Own up to what you've done," Sarah Ashill said.

Investigators are looking for a dark colored pickup truck. They say it could be a 1992-1998 GMC or Chevrolet. A piece of the right side mirror was found at the scene.