Natick couple injured in hit-and-run focus on healing as criminal case ends

Natick couple injured in hit-and-run focus on healing as criminal case ends

NATICK, Mass. — A Natick couple still recovering from a hit-and-run in August are hoping to move forward after the criminal case involving the alleged teen driver came to a close Tuesday.

Kimberly Gunner and Andy Colbert were struck by a truck while walking on the sidewalk of Washington Ave., in Natick. The driver, who officials say was high on marijuana, backed up and sped away, leaving the married couple seriously injured.

As Gunner underwent her tenth surgery in hopes of saving her leg Tuesday, the 17-year-old suspect, charged with driving under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene of an accident, among other charges, appeared in juvenile court.

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While the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office could not comment on whether a plea deal had been reached due the confidentiality of juvenile cases, a spokeswoman for the office told Boston 25 News the criminal case had concluded. The case did not go to trial.

In her victim impact statement during the virtual court proceeding on Tuesday, Gunner expressed hope for her recovery and future.

“The fact is, no penalty or incarceration will last nearly as long nor will be as mentally damaging as the emotional and physical effects this crime has had on me and my family,” Gunner wrote. “I have no choice but to focus on healing and moving forward. And I maintain hope for humanity.”

“We cannot and do not want to spend the inordinate amount of time and negative energy on reliving this nightmare over and over and over in a long, drawn-out criminal process,” added Colbert, who was also injured but released shortly after the crime. “Kimberly and I need to focus all of our positive energy on healing and trying to recover both mentally and physically from this horrific crime.”

Along with Gunner’s leg, she also suffered other devastating injuries including fractures to her jaw, requiring reconstructive surgery. She will soon begin to learn how to smile again, her cousin, Tony Catlin, told Boston 25 News.

But her outlook is positive, Catlin said. She is a fighter, determined to beat the odds.

“While she’s being told she may still lose her leg, she probably will be in a wheelchair for at least a year,” Catlin said, “no matter what people say, she’s determined to walk again.”

Community members have raised more than $150,000 to help cover the couple’s medical expenses and modifications to their home to support Gunner’s use of a wheelchair. You can donate to their online fund here.