Akron woman training for next month's marathon injured by hit-skip driver

Victim frustrated by police investigation

AKRON, Ohio - An Akron woman, out on a training run for the Akron Marathon, suffered serious bruises after she was hit by a driver, who then took off.

Tina Byers, 27, has spent several months training for the marathon, which would be her first road race at any distance. Her goal is now in jeopardy because injuries to her back, hip and leg have made it difficult to walk, let alone run. Fortunately, she didn't suffer any broken bones.

"My ears were ringing. I was dizzy and nauseous. I knew that he had hit my left side and that my hip hurt, but I wasn't sure how extensive it was," Byers said.

On the morning of Aug. 6, Byers, a nurse, had just started a four-mile run near her North Akron home. She was crossing Alphada Avenue at Hyde Park Avenue, when a red, GMC Jimmy turned, struck Byers and knocked her to the pavement.

"I hit my head and he got out of and he was crying and he was upset and he asked if i was OK, but he said he couldn't go to jai," she recalled.

She called her husband, Gary Byers, who rushed to the scene and had a brief encounter with the driver.

"As I was running towards her, the gentleman actually stopped and told me where she was," Gary Byers said.

But then the driver got in his vehicle and fled the scene. Gary Byers had the presence of mind to notice the SUV had a 30-day tag on it and he remembered the license plate.

He figured out where the suspect lived and provided the vehicle identification information to Akron police.

Ten days later, no one has been charged, a fact that frustrates the couple.

"It feels like the wheels of justice are moving very slowly, if at all," Gary Byers said.

"They have a suspect. They have an address. They've located the vehicle. They've a located a suspect, but they didn't bring him in for anything," Tina Byers said.

Lt. Rick Edwards from the Akron Police Department said the driver agreed to meet with Officer Deborah Stalnaker from the hit-skip unit, but he didn't show up for questioning on Thursday.

"We need to determine if this person is involved. How do we prosecute a case if you don't have any evidence?" Edwards said.

Officers Stalnaker plans to visit the suspect at his home next week to follow up on the case, Edwards said.

Edwards also pointed out that Stalnaker is the only officer who handles hit-skip investigations and she receives about 130 cases each month.

Meanwhile, Tina Byers hopes she'll be able to lace up her running shoes in a few weeks and continue her training. The Akron Marathon is Sept. 29, but right now she's too sore to attempt a run.

"I'm not sure how much time I'll have when I can eventually run again to complete my training and feel confident to run 26.2, but I'm hopeful," she said.

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