The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a hit and run incident from Friday, Oct. 18, when Matthyew Radford was hit by a car while crossing South 6th Street at the Altamont Drive intersection. The driver of the dark colored vehicle drove off after a witness said the person looked back and saw Radford on the ground.
Reported at about 7:20 p.m., Radford, 19, was thrown up over the car and landed on the street below, knocked in and out of consciousness, according to witness Tyven Dickson who watched the incident from the passenger seat of his girlfriend’s car at the intersection.
Radford was walking home from where he works at McDonald’s and his mother, Jennifer Bechtel, said her son is always very careful to walk in crosswalks and in compliance with signals.
Dickson helped stop and direct traffic away from an unconscious Radford while a woman who pulled over, Lisa Goodwin Haley, held Radford while the ambulance came. Dickson also called 911, which he said took priority over getting a picture of the car or license plate “because someone’s life is more important.” Dickson said Radford’s dark clothes in the dark of night put him in danger of getting hit by another car while lying in the street.
According to the KCSO’s record of the incident, the vehicle that hit Radford appeared to be a lifted, dark colored Toyota pick up or SUV model from the 1990’s. Dickson said the vehicle seemed to have the body of a Toyota 4Runner or truck with a canopy over the bed. The color appeared to Dickson to be either a dark green, gray or blue.
Radford doesn’t remember the incident and said he woke up in the hospital during an MRI. He suffered a concussion, a beat-up left shoulder and needed 18 stitches to repair damage to the skin of his ear, which Radford’s parents said took the doctor doing the stitches 45 minutes to get just right, along with bruising and some road rash. His mother said she’s glad he doesn’t have any memory of the accident.
“I don’t know, whoever did this, how they can live with themselves,” Jennifer said. “Just to drive away and leave somebody.”
While Radford’s parents have their own suspicions about why the driver took off and hasn’t come forward since, they’re still frustrated that they are being robbed of answers and peace of mind.
“He’s a good kid. He was just coming home from work,” Danny Bechtel said.
Radford also can’t work for two weeks, but, the family said it’s not about getting any financial compensation from the person who hit their son, they say they just want answers. They are hoping that even anyone who was driving by or saw anything that could help the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation will come forward.
While he has been fatigued and was described by his parents as sort of out of it these past few days, they say he’s starting to become more alert and is starting to get angry that this happened to him.
“It’s just not right,” Jennifer said. “They left my son on the side of the road to die.”
Jennifer and Danny have been posting on Facebook hoping to raise awareness of the accident and to encourage anyone with information or the driver to come forward.
“He was doing everything right,” Jennifer Bechtel said.
Dickson said he keeps an eye out for the vehicle but hasn’t seen it since.
“I don’t see as a human being how you could not come forward about it,” Dickson said. “Even if I hit an animal, I feel bad. I don’t see how someone couldn’t stop.”
Dickson said he’s shocked more people haven’t come forward since it happened as such a large and busy intersection and more people had to have seen what happened.
“It’s something you never expect to witness,” Dickson said.
Dickson said he also felt inclined to help due to Radford being just two years younger than him and that it put it into perspective for him.
Still, Dickson wishes he would’ve been able to get a photo of the vehicle.
Lieutenant Randall Swan with the KCSO said they are contacting businesses in the area to get security footage from cameras facing the streets but have no luck with the tapes they’ve looked at so far.
In the meantime, Radford’s parents said they’re just grateful their son is alive.