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Man in Wheelchair Hit By Car

By Brittany Nicholson
By bnicholson@wbbjtv.com

EAST JACKSON -- A disabled man is fighting for his life after he was hit by a car in his wheelchair.

Rio Swanson says he is worried about his friend.

"He was my partner man," Swanson said. "I just hope everything goes well for him."

Family told WBBJ that Kenneth Austin, Jr. is now on life support at a Memphis hospital. While in his motorized wheelchair Thursday night, the 31 year-old was hit by a car at the entrance of Park Ridge apartments. At first it was though to be a minor accident.

Swanson says Austin has never let being in a wheelchair keep him from getting around.

"It was like he wasn't even in a wheelchair, it was like he could do whatever you could do," Swanson said.

Neighbors say everyone just knew him as "Kenny" and that he never met a stranger.

"That's what he portrayed himself to be.. Kenny..you know.. He was just Kenny!" Swanson said.

Neighbor Niabori Shaw says every time she saw Kenny he put a smile on her face. "He was very friendly, always upbeat, pretty exciting person."

Family members tell us Austin is recovering from a broken neck, broken bones and a spinal injury. His friends remain positive.

Niabori Shaw said, "I love you Kenny...I hope you pull through. God bless you and I can't wait to see you again."

"All shout outs and prayers to your family, toward you.. Just hang in there.. You been through worse.. Just hang in there." Swanson said.

Austin's family says he underwent brain surgery this afternoon. Officials say the driver will most likely not face any charges.