Fund established for police officer injured on Highway 26
(This story has been updated to reflect a weekend-fundraising event for Officer Matt Barbee and the amount of money raised to aid in his recovery.)
A fund has been established for the family of Tigard Police Officer Matt Barbee, who was critically injured Thursday, Dec. 14, in a crash on Highway 26.
Barbee, an 11-year veteran of the department, remains in critical condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.
Tigard Detective Jeff Hering, speaking Friday at a press conference at Emanuel, said Barbee sustained head and neck injuries. "At this point, we are unsure as to if or when Matt will make a recovery from this horrific accident."
According to Hillsboro police, the crash was reported at 1:34 a.m. Thursday at the Cornelius Pass exit. Barbee, 39, reportedly had mechanical problems with his car and had pulled over to the side when he was rear-ended by an SUV. The driver of the SUV was not injured, according to Hillsboro Police, and remained on the scene.
Barbee was flown to Emanuel by helicopter. Hospital officials on Friday had no update on his condition.
Hering and Officer Nick Nunn spoke to media at Emanuel on Friday to discuss their fundraising efforts.
People can donate — and find out about changes to Barbee's health status — at the union's website.
"The Tigard Police Officers Association is asking for your support to assist Matt and his family, as the future is very uncertain for them," Hering said.
Sherrie Barbee and her brother, Brooks Utley, attended Friday's press conference. The Barbees have been married for 19 years and have three children, ages 16, 12 and 10.
"Matt is one of the most kind-hearted people I know," Sherrie Barbee said. She said they live on a farm, and Matt Barbee loves animals.
"He just recently brought home five pigs, despite me asking him to bring home only two," she said. "We have three wonderful children. He's a great father. He's a teacher to them; he's always teaching them new things. ... He loves to give back to the community.
The family just recently decorated an elementary school in Mist for the holidays, she said.
Nunn said he and Barbee were recruited to the police department about two months apart, 11 years ago. He said the thing everyone knows about Barbee is his sense of humor. "Everyone has a story about Barbee and something quirky he's done."
The investigation is continuing under the auspices of the Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team. Since the crash occurred outside of Tigard, that agency is not involved in the investigation.
Hillsboro Police spokesman Henry Reimann said the possibility of charges against the SUV driver will be determined once the investigation is concluded.
Contacted Monday, Hering said there has been no change in Barbee's medical condition."Unfortunately, his staus is exactly the same; not a lot of change at all," he said.Meanwhile, Tigard Chief McAlpine posted a Twitter photo showing friends and fellow officers chopping wood at Barbee's Mist-area farm on Saturday, noting, "It takes a village and we have Matt's back."
Meanwhile, Tigard Chief Kathy McAlpine showing friends and fellow officers chopping wood at Barbee's farm on Saturday, noting, "It takes a village and we have Matt's back."
Hering said the chief pitched in along with fellow officers and some of the officers' children to cut, split and stack wood for the family.
"They were out there about four hours," he said, noting that one officer dropped off a cord of wood Friday. Those working Saturday added another several more, said the detective. A cord of wood is 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long.
"Firewood is the primary source of heat for them," he pointed out.
By Monday, donations to Barbee's fund had reached $17,000 with a goal of $50,000.
"I'm confident we're going to make (the goal)," said Hering.
By Dana Haynes
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