While most of the community still lay in their beds resting in preparation for Independence Day, 65-year-old David Knowlton was taking his usual morning walk around the neighborhood. Knowlton had moved to Oro Valley almost two years ago to escape the New Hampshire cold and find a climate more suited to his battle with multiple sclerosis.
While his Fourth of July began like so many other days, Knowlton would soon end up at Banner-University Medical Center. At approximately 6:15 a.m., Knowlton was struck by a passing vehicle, which then fled the scene, while walking along the 9300 block of North Calle El Milagro.
“A lot of MS patients tend to lose their ability to walk,” said Kayla Jacks, Kowlton’s daughter. “My father was extremely gracious that he was able to walk and that was always a positive note for him—which makes it that much harder for me to accept what has happened. If it was not daily, it was almost seven days a week that he would go on a morning five-mile walk and that was all to help his MS in the best way that he could—to stay strong and to exercise.”
The Oro Valley Police Department launched an investigation into the hit-and-run based on a description of the 2010 Nissan Cube that was seen leaving the scene. Later that day, police arrested the car’s registered owner, John J. Pedicone, 37, on charges of failing to stop at an accident involving serious physical injury or death and aggravated assault, causing serious physical injury, according to reports.
After arriving at Banner, Knowlton was immediately admitted into a seven-hour surgery. According to Jacks, who has made a GoFundMe
page to help fund her father’s expensive recovery, Knowlton’s injuries were quite extensive, including multiple, severe injuries to his spine.
“He had fractures to his C2 and a complete break to his T4 vertebrae, a broken right clavicle and fractured right scapula,” Jacks wrote. “…Dad also suffered from severe chest trauma including broken ribs that required chest tubes bilaterally…As a result of the impact and surgery, his T2-T7 (thoracic area of the back) vertebrae are now fused together by an abundance of hardware. At this point, aside from small, retractive movements from hard pressure on the nail bed of his toe(s), there is no sensation in the lower half of his body.”
While Jacks said the current and most pressing goal is to see her father’s health improve, she, her brother Seth and the rest of the family all know that the financial burden goes further than just hospital bills.
A medically retired carpenter whose passion rested in woodworking, Jacks said the love for the work can clearly been seen in her father’s hands and was often seen toting his tools around, “like they were a part of his character or image or something,” she said.
Knowlton also has a 12-week-old schnauzer puppy, Jacks said, who greatly misses her father
“My dad has been humbled by MS over these years,” Jacks said. “He’s a very caring person—and I’m sure that everyone says that about their loved ones—but my father has gone through a lot and he is a very caring person. He only wants what is best for people in general and the thing that I can say is that he has been humbled in the past few years and it has changed his outlook on life and the fact that he can’t change things, which is good for his circumstances right now, I hope. You just can’t change what’s happened, period, and you need to move forward and be positive as best as you can.”