SE Portland man injured after wheelchair was hit in crosswalk - KPTV - FOX 12

SE Portland man injured after wheelchair was hit in crosswalk

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A Southeast Portland man is recovering from injuries he suffered after he was hit by a car while crossing the street in his wheelchair.

James Riggin, who is partially paralyzed on his right side, said he was in the crosswalk at SE 82nd Avenue and SE Boyer St. on Jan. 25 when he looked up and saw a car coming straight toward him.

“When it hit me, it knocked the breath out of me,” said Riggin.

Despite the initial shock, Riggin told paramedics he was fine, refused treatment and went home. 

Riggin didn’t realize he was injured until he tried to put weight on his right leg while using the bathroom and couldn’t.  Sarah Scassellati, Riggin’s supported living manager, took him to the hospital, but the initial X-rays didn’t show an injury.

Two days later, Riggin’s part-time caregiver found him on the floor of his apartment, and Scassellati took him back to the emergency room, where more extensive X-rays showed he had broken his femur in at least two places.

Riggin said he has been hit by a car before, not once, but twice.  The first time, he was riding a dirt bike without a helmet when he was 15-years-old.  The crash put him in a coma for more than three months, and left him with a traumatic brain injury, impaired speech and cognition, and partially paralyzed.

Then, about ten years later, he was hit crossing the street in his wheelchair and thrown 50 feet.

“He’s got nine lives or something,” said Andrea Brandvold, Riggin’s sister.

Riggin is recovering and in good spirits, but Brandvold wishes someone could have spared him the extra discomfort.

“Jamie acts tough and everything, and he wants to think nothing’s wrong, but maybe just asking more questions and just verifying that everything is OK,” said Brandvold.

As for Riggin, he doesn’t blame anyone for the accident, or for missing his injury, and is determined to be back home in his apartment as soon as possible.

His sister has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for Riggin’s medical expenses.

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