Jesse Birkedal was cycling on Eastside Road when he was struck by a vehicle that then departed the scene without providing any assistance or leaving their information. (Photo courtesy of GoFundMe)

Penticton cyclist injured in hit-and-run in critical condition

Jesse Birkedal was injured in a hit-and-run while cycling on Eastside Road

The brother of a South Okanagan cyclist, who was the victim of a hit and run on Eastside Road and is in critical condition, is putting a public plea out.

“If you saw anything please contact RCMP. If you are the one that hit him, please come forward. This is my brother and it is just crushing me. I hope that the person that did this comes forward because people are looking for them. I just want someone to come forward and take responsibility for their actions,” said Dayne Heimbecker-Cooley.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP search for suspect vehicle in cyclist hit and run

Jesse Birkedal, 26, was cycling on Eastside Road on June 5 when he was hit by a vehicle that did not remain at the scene. He suffered seven fractures in his body — including two in his pelvis, three vertebrae and his ankle.

“He was in a coma until (late last week) and he didn’t remember anything,” said Heimbecker-Cooley who has set up a GoFundMe account to fundraise for his sibling. “I wasn’t there when he woke up but my sister was and we did a video chat. He was balling his eyes out and sure is thankful for anyone who donates to the fundraiser.”

Birkedal, who RCMP said was not wearing a helmet, also had seven staples in his head and two in his shoulder.

“He has head to toe road rash. He is pretty depressed right now and just can’t believe someone would do this and not even stop to help,” said Heimbecker-Cooley. “I got to the hospital as soon as I could to see him and just totally lost my mind, it is so hard to see him like this.”

Heimbecker-Cooley said he set up the fundraiser to get some money together for him to possibly get a wheelchair accessible apartment, as he believes he will not be able to walk for some time. Almost $1,000 has been raised in just over a week.

Heimbecker-Cooley said his brother is from Oliver and has been working in an orchard. He added that he has a young daughter that lives with her mother in another community.

“I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped out so far. I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends and family. They have been keeping my spirits up and positive. I have also seen a lot of messages and donations coming in from people we don’t even know, I want them to know we are thankful,” said Heimbecker-Cooley.

Penticton RCMP are continuing their investigation into the incident and said the suspect vehicle is believed to be a Pontiac Vibe, or other Pontiac brand of vehicle with a small honeycomb style of grill.

“Should any repair shops have any information about a similar vehicle with front-end damage, they are encouraged to call the Penticton RCMP,” said Const. James Grandy.

If you have any information, please call the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cuts two positions

Management roles cut as a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Penticton Fire Department cancels drive-by salute to healthcare workers

The bi-nightly shows of support have been cancelled due to concerns over social distancing

Summerland couple sharing positive messages

Carsten and Val Nielsen are displaying professionally made signs during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: Penticton food bank sees ‘substantial’ rise in demand

Demand for food is up while donations are down at the Salvation Army Food Bank amid COVID-19

COVID-19: Diabetes Canada donation bins becoming garbage dumps amid pandemic

Diabetes Canada has asked residents to stop overflowing bins with donations and garbage

Lifestyles Coffee in Lake Country creates funny video of couple stuck in quarantine

Lifestyles Coffee is located at 10058 BC-97 unit 4, Lake Country, B.C.

Shuswap residents, distiller respond to safety, sanitization needs at seniors care facilities

Sicamous’ After Dark Distillery shifts to making sanitizer to support community

VIDEO: Teachers at Kelowna middle school shoot video to show support for students

KLO teachers Kayla Rose and Tonia Macgregor were the minds behind the gesture

Easter bunny to send ambassador to Golden for weekend drive-by

The Easter bunny will be sending his emissary, Egglebert Bunny, to celebrate Easter with Golden

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COVID-19: Kelowna’s Grey Hearts Denim to manufacture protective masks

The Kelowna based clothing company has been in operation since mid-February

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Most Read