The 84-year-old victim of a hit-and-run Thursday evening in rural Niagara-on-the-Lake remains in Hamilton hospital in improved condition after undergoing two surgeries for the severe injuries sustained in the crash.
Nester Chemerika’s condition had improved as of Saturday night, said neighbour Don Lees, who has been in close contact with the family.
“He’s not in as bad a shape as we originally thought. We thought he had bleeding in the brain but it turned out to be a concussion,” Lees said.
“He had two surgeries for his arm and his leg. He has a broken bone in his face. I guess the muscle on the back of his leg was really ripped open,” he said.
A Niagara Regional Police statement said the man was hit “by a truck or utility vehicle while cycling and the vehicle then left the scene prior to police arrival.”
Chemerika was found lying in the north side ditch, police said. The incident happened about 8:30 p.m.
Doctors originally worried he would be paralyzed due to broken vertebrae, which turned out instead to be “wear and tear on his back,” said Lees.
“He’s in rough shape. He’s going to be in the hospital for a while. There’s no doubt about that,” he added.
Doctors estimate he will be in the hospital for about three months and then another three or four months in recovery at home, he said.
Police are still searching for the vehicle that fled the scene after striking Chemerika as he cycled on East and West Line at Concession 2.
They found a passenger-side mirror from the vehicle, police said. The vehicle also has damage to the passenger side front corner, investigators said.
Police are asking anyone with information or dash cam footage to contact them at 905-688-4111, dial option 3, ext. 1009089.
Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers Niagara online or by calling 1-800-222-8477.
With files from Somer Slobodian.
- See The Lake Report’s earlier story here.