HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A Highlands Ranch woman who was hit by a car and left for dead while training for a marathon is in stable condition and continues to improve at a local hospital.
Meanwhile, the man who is accused of hitting her and driving away on Tuesday is out of jail on bond after turning himself in.
Markus Lide, 32, told police he believes he hit 49-year-old Tina Benner but that he doesn’t remember doing so because he claims he apparently fell asleep.
Lide faces several charges including: Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury, tampering with physical evidence, failure to report an accident and careless driving.
According to arrest documents, Lide told investigators "he was driving down University Boulevard when something ‘jarred me awake.' He thought he hit something but he didn’t know what.”
Lide said he stopped in the middle of the road and noticed damage to his car but didn’t see debris on the road. He then drove home and put his car in the garage. Benner was later found down a steep ditch.
“Me knowing Markus, I would believe the story,” a longtime neighbor said. “He would never drive away if he thought he hurt somebody.”
The neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said she saw Lide after he was released on bond Thursday morning.
“He was sobbing and I said, ‘Markus, it’s OK.’ He hugged me and he goes, ‘Yeah, but (Benner) might die.’ I said, ‘She’s not going to die. I’m going to pray really hard,’” the neighbor said.
“That’s the thing the family has most specifically requested is for people to pray for her and for her healing,” said Pastor Andy Dunning of St. Andrew United Methodist Church, where Benner is a member.
Dunning said the church has heard from many people, including strangers who want to help Benner. She was training for the Denver Rock 'n' Roll Marathon when she was struck and many in the running community are also stepping up.
Though her condition is improving, friends have setup a GoFundMe page to help her family with medical expenses.
And if anyone says a prayer for Benner, Dunning said they shouldn’t stop there.
“At the same time, we also want to pray for the person who committed this crime,” Dunning said. “We’re very glad that this person stepped forward and did the right thing because really without that, their conscience can’t be clear and they can’t be whole.”