By Jamie Leary
LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – A 19-year-old man is fighting for his life after he was hit by an alleged drunk driver while riding his motorcycle in Loveland, Friday.
“We’re going to have a long road. At some point in time the parents are going to have to go back to work,” said Andrea Messick, a close family friend.
Tristan Hibbert was returning from a scenic motorcycle ride when a witness saw a sedan turn in front of Hibbert’s bike at the intersection of 45th Street and Taft Avenue. The crash happened near the driver’s home.
Police arrested the driver, Joseph Morrison, a 41-year-old Loveland resident. He posted bond after a Monday court appearance and faces numerous charges including driving under the influence of alcohol, vehicular assault, driving without insurance, failing to yield to the right of way.
Hibbert’s family says they were told that Morrison made an immediate u-turn, fled the scene, then returned a short time later.
“A human went flying into his vehicle and he did not stop,” Messick said. “I’m trying to stay calm. I’m angry and I’m mad, I just… you never think it can happen to you.”
Hibbert was transported to UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies where he remained in critical condition Tuesday night. He has been riding motorcycles since he was 3 years old. He always wears full body gear, and it was no different the night of the accident. His helmet saved his life, but the impact was severe.
“The bike is totaled. The bike is mangled. What is normally probably 10 foot, 8 foot bike, is now probably 4 feet,” Messick said.
Family members say there are signs of significant brain trauma among other injuries. He has had one major surgery and faces more in the near future.
Those who know him best, know he will continue to fight.
“He’s fallen a thousand times over again, and he always gets back up. He’s going to get back up,” said Messick.
She hopes Tristan’s story reminds others that the cost of drinking and driving is never worth it. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help Tristan’s family with an uphill financial battle.
A benefit motorcycle ride has also been set to take place on Jan. 19. Those interested in participating have been asked to contact Jay Koontz for details at 970-820-8266.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.