As hit-and-run victim leaves coma, suspect remains on the loose

Mike Cooley, shown here ready to head out on his
daily bike commute, may never walk again.
The man who drove his truck into him
is still on the loose.
(Photos courtesy Lisa Cooley)

Update, July 5: The Cooleys have set up a fund for those wishing to support Mike’s recovery. See below for details.

Two weeks after a white Ford pickup reportedly hit him from behind at 60 mph, postal driver Mike Cooley is still in critical condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and the person whose actions nearly killed him is still at large.

The crash took place June 15th on North Interstate Avenue near Greeley. Police have distributed photos of the truck that may have hit Cooley, with little results so far.

“There’s only been one tip, and it was completely bogus,” said Cooley’s wife, Lori Cooley, in an interview with BikePortland yesterday.

Lori and Mike Cooley.

About five days ago, Lori Cooley said, her 59-year-old husband regained consciousness. He can now make efforts to speak, but he remains without sensation in his legs.

“They’re telling me he has a five percent chance of walking,” Lori Cooley said. “I’m trying not to believe that.”

Mike Cooley, a 15-year bike commuter who also builds bikes as a hobby, was pedaling a narrow, northbound stretch of Interstate at 11:30 p.m., up the hill when a white Ford pickup that witnesses said was “driving erratically” hit him from behind, sending him flying through the air, crushing all but three of his ribs and completely crushing two vertebrae.

“He doesn’t remember anything, which is good,” Cooley said of her husband.

It’s been a frightening two weeks for Cooley, who said she has a life-threatening illness herself.

“Mike’s always the one to take care of me, and now he’s sick,” she said. “We’ve got to find the guy that did this, and hopefully he’ll have insurance that’ll help. His car was really in good shape, so we’re hoping he had insurance on it. But you never know.”

(Note: police haven’t made any statements about the gender of the driver.)

Though he remains on a ventilator and is “still very confused” much of the time, Cooley said her husband has been repeating one message for media.

“He keeps trying to talk and he keeps saying tell people to wear helmets,” Cooley said. “The helmet saved his life, no question.”

Mike worked at the downtown post office and had been commuting by bike for 15 years.

Here’s the police’s description of the truck they suspect of hitting Mike Cooley:

A white 1993-1997 Ford F350 Crewcab pickup. The truck is believed to have two chrome step-up bars, at least on the driver’s side, and damage to the right front headlight area.

There’s a $1,000 cash reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

If you know anything, please leave a tip at CrimeStoppers online, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call (503) 823-HELP (4357).

Update: Lori Cooley writes to add that you can support the family’s “horrific” medical expenses by donating in Mike Cooley’s name by visiting or calling any U.S. Bank branch. “I’m disabled as well and have virtually no income and absolutely cannot work on any level,” she writes. “Therefore, we are desperate for money. Anything would help. It is very awkward to even bring it up, but I know the people of Portland care and donate when they can. I myself have donated to many of these kinds of funds. If we all cared a little less about ourselves and a lot more about others, the world would be a gentler and more serene place.”

Photos of the truck suspected in the crash are below.

Keep your eyes peeled for a truck like this with front-end damage.

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