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For week ended September 12, 1999 Posted 26 Sep 1999

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Hit cyclist remains in coma 'Broken-hearted' truck driver checks up on victim every day

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Hit cyclist remains in coma 'Broken-hearted' truck driver checks up on victim every day
Provo UT Daily Herald 11Sep99 L8
Hit cyclist remains in coma 'Broken-hearted' truck driver checks up on victim every day

OREM, UTAH -- The man hit by a truck while biking near Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon on Wednesday has been identified as Joey Valdez, 3l of Orem. He is in critical condition at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where he remains in a coma. His condition is complicated by a broken pelvis, a collapsed lung and the concern of kidney and organ failure.

"He did have his helmet on and it's still intact," said his wife Heather on Friday. "He did not have as much head trauma as he would have. It pays to wear your helmet."

"Joey is an avid biker who rides up the canyon about three times a week. He was hit by a man from Wallsburg, driving a work truck--but the whole event was a complete accident," Heather said. "(The driver) is broken-hearted about it. He comes in and calls every day to check on (Joey)," she said. "His (LDS) ward is going to have a special fast on Sunday."

Concern has been expressed about the danger presented by the narrowing of the canyon roads by enviornmental concerns and the ever present danger of debris and gravel on the shoulder. A fellow biker of Joey's has called every week during the summer trying to get the canyon roads swept.

"The road bikers don't want to ride on the shoulder because they will pop a tire, so they ride right next to or on the white line, because it's the smoothest part," Heather said.

James A. Cox, UDOT's opertions/maintenance engineer for Region 3 said, "It's all a matter of funding." "That road has been swept two-plus times since spring. It's a very difficult thing." "That's why they developed the Provo Recreation Path for bikers and runners. Some of those areas are just unsafe for biking," Cox said.

Heather and Joey have five children and a trust fund has been set up for the Valdez family. Donations can be made to the Washington Mutual Bank, under family friend, Malynda Miller's name.



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