Suspect accused in hit-and-run of jogger pleads not guilty

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- A Highlands Ranch jogger left for dead by a hit-and-run driver is one step closer to getting a resolution in the crime committed against her. The man accused of seriously injuring her appeared in Douglas County court on Monday afternoon.

Markus Lide pleaded not guilty to several charges related to hitting and injuring Tina Benner. She was once the very definition of health -- a marathon runner — but now she moves around in a wheelchair.

Benner showed up to court to see the man accused of hitting her with his car, then taking off about 6:30 a.m. Sept. 29. He turned himself in the next day.

The lawyer for Lide, 32, told the court he and the district attorney’s office are still working to resolve the case — and they’re close.

Police said Lide hit Benner as she jogged along South University Boulevard near South Crossland Way. She was training for Denver’s Rock 'N' Roll Marathon, which took place in October.

A girl walking to school found Benner lying in a ditch. She suffered serious injuries to her head and leg.

“She’s going through a lot. She obviously is on the path of recovery. It’s going to be a long road, from what we can tell. Absolutely, we’re looking for an outcome that is just for what she has gone through, also just for the community and the defendant himself,” said Jason Siers with the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Lide will be back for a jury trial in April unless the sides can come to agreement on a sentence. He was convicted of felony burglary about 13 years ago.

He now faces four charges, including two felonies of leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury and tampering with physical evidence, and two misdemeanors of failing to report an accident and careless driving.

Lide did not return a phone call for a comment.

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