Utah-native police officer hit in Oregon
(KUTV)- A native of Murray is clinging to life in an Oregon hospital.
38-year-old Matthew Barbee is in critical but stable condition at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Northeast Portland. He is in a coma, and loved ones are unsure when he could wake up.
Barbee was driving home from his shift as a police officer in Tigard, Oregon when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver.
Barbee had pulled over to the side of the road in his personal vehicle last Thursday, Dec. 14, when he was hit around 1:35 a.m. on Highway US 26 in Hillsboro near the Cornelius Pass exit.
Family friend Aimee Jongejan, said the driver who hit him was a 33-year-old man on his way home from a company holiday party. She said he is cooperating with police.
“It’s hard when one person’s mistake, and it is just a mistake to drink and drive, shatters an entire family,” she said.
Jongejan said Barbee’s family is clinging to hope he will survive.
“Matt is an extremely… he’s a fighter. He’s fought his whole life. He’s fought for others and he needs to fight for himself, now,” she said. “He will never be able to care for his family, again. And that’s the hardest part.”
Barbee moved to Oregon from Utah with his wife, Sherrie Utley-Barbee more than a decade ago. He’s been working as a police officer in the Tigard precinct and recently bought a new home with his wife and 3 kids in the small rural town of Vernonia.
“He’s the one they send when they need to talk someone down,” Jongejan said. “He’s one of the most kind and giving people I’ve ever met.”
The Tigard Police Department is raising money for his family on their police officer assistance (POA) fund. You can donate online here.