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Hit-and-run victim severely injured while police search for driver

Posted: 3:12 PM, Oct 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-24 16:32:01-04

NEWAYGO, Mich.— From the couch in his Newaygo apartment, Chris O'Brien is trying to piece together what happened to him around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday.

That Friday night, O'Brien and his friends went to a concert at the Intersection in downtown Grand Rapids. They went to an after-party for about an hour before heading home.

The last thing he remembers is being dropped off near his car on Chatham Street NW.

"They dropped me off, couldn’t have been 100 feet from my car," O'Brien said. "And I remember shutting the door behind me, starting to walk toward my vehicle and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital getting staples put in the back of my head.”

Sgt. Dan Adams with the Grand Rapids Police Department confirms they are investigating a hit-and-run that occurred on that street that morning.

O'Brien said his friends saw him get hit and were interviewed by police.

“One of my friends thought I was dead," O'Brien said. "They said the front end of the car apparently was badly damaged after it hit me. They just saw me laying on the ground and came and seen me and a bunch of blood was pouring out of the back of my head.”

Though he and his friends were partying that night, O'Brien said he was not intoxicated at the time he was hit.

“That was actually like the one time where I cut myself off early," O'Brien said. "I barely drank that night for my standards, anyway. I was definitely far from being drunk and then this is what happens. It’s crazy.”

O'Brien has scrapes and bruises all over his body, along with 12 staples in his head. He said he can't sleep for more than two hours at a time because of the pain.

“Basically no matter what I do, everything hurts," O'Brien said.

O'Brien's hit-and-run happened hours before another hit-and-run driver killed Tracy and Todd Fuhr , not far from where O'Brien was hit. A man has been arrested in that case.

“It’s terrifying but it makes me feel, like obviously I feel like sad for them and all their loved ones and everything, but it also makes me realize that just as easily could have been me," O'Brien said.

Though he feels lucky to be alive, the timing couldn't be worse for O'Brien. He started a new job less than a month ago, so his health benefits haven't kicked in yet and he doesn't get paid time off while he recovers.

Though he said he doesn't remember what happened, O'Brien said it's changed his outlook on life.

“Normally, like I’m a happy, bouncing all over the place person and I like to have fun and I like to jump around and act dumb," O'Brien said. "That’s what I always do and I just kind of feel like a shell of myself at the moment because like, I physically can’t and I don’t feel like I want to do any of that stuff anymore.”

O'Brien opened a claim under his car insurance policy, hoping it will cover his medical costs. In the meantime, he started a GoFundMe page to help with immediate medical expenses and living costs.