Former Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue chaplain dies after crash
Troy Eastwood, a 67-year-old retired pastor and chaplain for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, died last month after a bike crash less than a mile from his home in Oregon City.
Eastwood died on Nov. 1 after receiving "some of the best care available" at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, according to his family. He never recovered from severe head injuries and had been in a coma since the Oct. 26 crash. The retired Church of God pastor had been a chaplain for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue for almost 15 years.
Eastwood is remembered as a husband, father and friend who always put others first. As an organ donor, two people were able to receive corneal transplants. He gave his community everything he had up until the very end.
Eastwood's wife of 38 years, Kathryn Eastwood, said her husband was an avid cyclist who had completed many organized long bike rides, including the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic, the Davis Double Century, Reach the Beach and more. He had just completed a bike ride during the summer of 2017 with their oldest son going down Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast.
Eastwood was a member of the Black Sheep Harley-Davidsons for Christ, "born out of a passion and vision to bring the Gospel to those who ride," according to the organization's website. In his garage, he had three Harley Davidson motorcycles, a redneck-chopper-style customized motorcycle and about 15 bicycles.
As previously reported, Eastwood was critically injured on Oct. 26 after running a red light at the corner of 15th and Washington streets. Police had withheld his name from the media.
"I just want people to know that he wasn't just an anonymous bicyclist who ran a red light," Kathryn Eastwood said. "He was an amazing man who loved life, loved people and loved our city… We miss him terribly and can't believe he's actually gone."
Something went terribly wrong on the day of Eastwood's crash, according to crash witnesses and Eastwood's family. Eastwood was known as a careful rider who would never take unnecessary risks. Crash witnesses said it made no sense that a man would ignore a red light, especially with heavy traffic crossing the street on the green-light side. In retrospect, his family realized that they had missed signs of something wrong with Eastwood's mental health when he decided to go for the fateful ride.
"He had falls recently, with injuries that landed him in physical therapy," Kathryn Eastwood said. "He was forgetful and was having a hard time keeping up with what was going on around him."
Eastwood did his best to hide his condition. He would tell his family that he "just didn't hear" them, or that he fell on the steps or in the shower because the surfaces were slippery.
Eastwood had torn his knee's medial collateral ligament from a fall off his bike in September. On Oct. 25, his physical therapist released him to ride his bike using his clip-on shoes. Eastwood always told his wife when he was planning to go for a ride and he indeed warned her on Oct. 25 that he would be using his bike with the clip-on pedals the next day.
But he didn't take his bike with the clip-ons Oct. 26, opting instead for one of his old bikes that he rarely took out anymore. Instead of wearing shorts from his drawers full of cycling clothes, he was found after the crash wearing basketball shorts. And, while his family says he always wore his helmet while biking, for some mysterious reason, he chose to wear a baseball cap on Oct. 26.
"Nothing he did made sense," Kathryn Eastwood said. "Troy always told me when he was going for a bike ride. I work from home so he would let me know when he was leaving, where he was going and when he expected to be home."
Kathryn Eastwood didn't panic at first when she saw that her husband was missing on Oct. 26, apparently having gone for a ride without telling her he was leaving. She decided it was strange, but no cause for serious alarm.
She left a note on the front door for her husband, letting him know she had fed the cats, and went to get some exercise herself at the local Curves. At the exercise facility, her heart sank when she saw that the Washington/15th intersection had been closed off with crime-scene tape. She remembers clearly running out to ask questions of the officer on duty. Before he even answered her questions, she said she "just knew" that her husband had been badly hurt.
The following is a transcript of how she remembers the conversation:
Kathryn Eastwood (KE): What happened here?
OCPD Officer John Fetzer (JF): A bicyclist was injured in a crash and is being taken to the hospital.
KE: Was his name Troy Eastwood?
JF: How did you know that? We have a debit card from the man's body that matches that name.
KE: Oh no…
Kathryn Eastwood said she was lucky at least to have met Fetzer, who ended up taking charge of the case and being helpful to her "every step of the way." When she was waiting for her son to give her a ride to OHSU, Fetzer even offered to give her the ride himself.
Fetzer declined to comment for this story, preferring to let Kathryn Eastwood speak for herself. OCPD Capt. Shaun Davis said that officers often have to show compassion for victims as part of their work.
OHSU doctors told Eastwood's family that his MRI showed that he had suffered a massive stroke.
"They couldn't say whether it had happened before or after the accident," Kathryn Eastwood said. "I believe it more than likely happened before. I believe Troy had probably been suffering from mini-strokes and we just didn't know it. I could be wrong, but I won't know until I meet with him in Heaven and by then it won't matter anymore."
The driver of the Jeep Liberty who hit Eastwood, a 29-year-old Milwaukie resident, stayed on scene and cooperated with the investigation.
"I feel so bad for the young man who Troy ran into," Kathryn Eastwood said. "I pray he and his family are OK. I'm sure it has been a difficult month for them as well."
Eastwood leaves behind his wife and their two sons: Garrett, 26, and Sean, 24. His memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Holladay Park Church of God, 2120 N.E. Tillamook St., Portland.
News editor, Clackamas Review/Oregon City News
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