Victim says Flint River suspect assaulted him in the past, bragged about being violent

A group of adults were arrested for an assault in June on the Flint River. Now, a Madison County man says one of the suspects assaulted him last fall.

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 6:03 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 7:30 AM

WAAY 31 learned more about the past of one of the men accused of assaulting a group of teens on the Flint River.

Zach Young is out of jail on bond after he turned himself in to Huntsville police earlier this week. The Madison County Sheriff's Office said it's had more than 10 run-ins with him in the past. One of the latest calls involving him was from October.


Zachary Young; From Madison County Sheriff's Office

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson said he's still recovering nearly eight months after Young assaulted him. The sheriff's office said when deputies arrived, they found Nelson badly beaten and unconscious.

"I lost my left eye, and I have some brain damage. It's equivalent to a stroke, but it's not from a stroke. It's from an assault," he said.

Young claimed the incident was self-defense, and no charges were filed.

Nelson said after his latest assault, he felt he needed to come forward and shared what happened last fall. He said he was worried if Young isn't held responsible, someone could lose their life.

"The sad part is, to be honest with you, he's been doing this for so long and getting away with it every time," Nelson said.

He said he’s known Young for about a decade, and he's always in and out of trouble.

"Always wild, always fighting," he said.

Young said it was eerie seeing photos of Collins Nelson in the hospital, because the two images of their assaults were similar. Now, Young is charged with assaulting Collins Nelson. Both of the victims have the same last name, but they aren't related.

"I have children and grandkids, and that could have been one of mine down there. I worry every day," he said.

Mike Nelson said he's heard Zach brag about beating people up on the river in the past, and he wants any other possible victim to come forward.

"You really need to step forward, so it prevents someone else from being hurt," he said.

The sheriff's office and Huntsville police can't confirm any past assaults, because nobody ever filed reports. Nelson said he hopes Young's arrest will stop him from hurting anyone else.

"You need to realize what you're doing, and you have to be held accountable for your actions," he said.

Mike Nelson said he didn't pursue any charges when the assault happened, because he was in too much distress. However, he said after learning about the most recent assault involving Collins Nelson, he plans on talking with investigators about moving forward with his case.

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