Family turns to fundraising as search for Interstate hit-and-run driver continues

Flyer for Mike Cooley fundraiser.

Friends and family of Mike Cooley are holding a fundraiser this Friday (9/20) to support his recovery, as the search for the man who drove the white Ford pickup that hit him enters its fourth month.

Lori and Mike Cooley, before the collision that
has changed their lives forever.
(Photo courtesy Cooley family)

Cooley, 59, was a longtime bike commuter to his job at the downtown post office. The June 15 crash paralyzed his legs.

Friday’s event, which asks $10 at the door, is 6:30 p.m. at Portland Metro Church, 5004 NE 6th Avenue at Alberta. Keepers of the Faith Gospel Quartet will perform.

Meanwhile, Cooley’s father Teddy and uncle Gordon have been spreading the story of the crash as widely as they can, hoping to find a lead on the person who hit Cooley.

“My brother and I have been physically handing flyers out, in color, describing the hit and run vehicle and narrative as published by Portland Police Bureau Crime Stoppers,” Gordon Cooley wrote in an email to BikePortland. He estimates they’ve circulated 1,000 so far, with no solid results yet. On a hunch that the person responsible had been at “a bar or three” beforehand, they’ve been visiting bars in particular.
A witness described the white Ford pickup as driving erratically before the crash. Cooley had been pedaling north up the hill on North Interstate, just north of Greeley.

A photo of a truck like the one suspected
of hitting Cooley. (Click to enlarge.)

Here’s the police’s description of the truck they suspect of hitting 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).

Lori Cooley told KATU last month that after her husband was hit, he seemed so close to death that police may not have pursued the case as aggressively as she thinks they might have.

“My son and I found pieces of the truck at the scene that Monday – so 48 hours after the accident there was still evidence lying in the road. So I think things could have been done differently,” she told the station.

“If Mike had been a senator’s son or the chief’s son, they’d had the guy,” Gordon Cooley said in an interview Tuesday. “But they didn’t; they had to spend their money somewhere else.”

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

Evidence belatedly recovered from the scene of an Aug. 16 hit-and-run proved crucial to finding a woman who allegedly fled after hitting Henry Schmidt, 20, on Southwest Barbur Boulevard.

Gordon Cooley said Tuesday that money from the fundraiser will go in part to support modifications to Mike and Lori Cooley’s North Portland house, adding a ramp, widening the door and moving the bedroom downstairs. Gordon said he doesn’t expect his nephew to walk again.

Mike Cooley, who remains at Good Samaritan with a feeding tube, drains in both lungs and a trachial device that helps him speak, probably won’t be able to travel to Friday’s fundraiser, Gordon said.

Additional donations will be accepted at the benefit, and can also be accepted in Cooley’s name at any U.S. Bank branch.

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