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HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - Jason Ronning spent 12 days at Spectrum Health, six weeks at Saint Mary's in rehab and went through three surgeries before he was finally able to return to his home August 3 - his birthday.
On June 14, Ronning, 34, was sitting with his son on a park bench near a fountain in Hudsonville when a pickup truck went over a curb in front of Keegstra's Dollar Store, 3499 Kelly Street, and plowed into him.
The truck ended up in a fountain, and Ronning was pinned underneath.
"I remember the feeling of getting hit," he told 24 Hour News 8. "And I remember I thought that I was going to die. I was actually certain that this was it."
He heard the truck coming. It was driven by an unlicensed 16-year-old German foreign exchange student who was working the pedals and an 18-year-old with his hands on the wheel.
"I was just sitting on a park bench on a beautiful June day, and it was the decision and the actions of other people that were terrible decisions that led to what happened."
He suffered a broken femur, tibia and fibula. His thigh was smashed where the tire rolled over him. For now, he's lost the use of his legs.
Beyond the physical pain, there's the anguish.
"I understand that things happen, but on the other hand, at least for now, my life is absolutely ruined and it makes me angry," Ronning said. "Every now and then I get where this and that happens. I think all of the things I used to do are gone. 'I won't be able to do this or that anymore,' you know, 'I'll never recover. What's the point?' It happens quite a bit."
He said he remembers every second of the accident and the rescue. But there is one detail he doesn't recall: reports he had pushed his son out of the way of the oncoming truck.
"I don't know that that is necessarily true," he said. "I've been told that, but I don't remember that."
A self-registered attorney, Ronning had no medical insurance at the time of the accident. He's been unable to work since June and has no income.
Around his house, he is limited to one floor and sleeps in a rented hospital bed in what once was the family living room. His doctors told him he may be able to get back to the office until sometime around Christmas.
He's spent his life pursuing the law, and has been both a prosecutor and defense attorney.
"You have a number of cases, they all have victims and they kind of become a blur," he said. "But when you are actually the victim, it changes things." He's unsure what he'll do next. "I still have some time to think about that but I am not sure which way we are going to go. It may change what I do."
He's pleased to hear the German student will be returning to face the charges against her. "I had hoped that she would make that decsion (to come back) because if she doesn't it is going to have a long-term impact on her life."
He added the 18-year-old with his hands on the wheel made a terrible decision.
A benefit dinner for Jason Ronning will be held at the Hudsonville Grille, 4676 32nd Ave, Suite F, on August 21 . Mention the benefit and the Ronning family will receive the donation.
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