HAZEL DELL, Wash. – The man who was hit by an out-of-control driver in Hazel Dell earlier this week faces long odds in recovery. His doctors say they are particularly concerned about brain damage.
Joseph Reilly, 21, was walking to work along Highway 99 in Hazel Dell on Tuesday afternoon when a woman driving recklessly crashed her car and hit Reilly, according to sheriff’s deputies. The woman was killed in the crash.
Even though Reilly faces a tough path ahead, his cousin told KATU the family is thankful for all the support and well wishes they’ve received.
Reilly worked full time at Smokey’s Pizza, which is just a block from where he was hit. His family said the young man was just starting out on his own.
His doctor at Peace Health Southwest Medical Center said the fact is so young is a big help. Younger people have more resilient brains.
"The most important issue is to preserve brain function," said Dr. George Dulabon. "We've made that possible by allowing the brain to expand beyond the confines of the skull, which allows the brain to heal."
Reilly also has severely broken bones and is on a ventilator. His mother has been by his side in the hospital.
Other family members described his engaging personality.
“The creativity that comes from this kid, I’ve always envied that,” said cousin Aaron Hahn, “his musical ability, his wit, things coming off the top of his head – just a brilliant mind.”
Surveillance video from a C-Tran bus captured the crash. It shows a car speed past, swerve to the right then snap back to the left across oncoming traffic.
Investigators have not said why the driver, 20-year-old Annastasia Morrison, was driving so recklessly.
Reilly’s family has set up a donation fun to help cover the costs of his treatment. If you’d like to donate, you can stop by any TwinStar Credit Union location and ask to donate to the “Fund for Joseph M. Reilly.”