Pedestrian’s Injuries Worse Than Initally Thought; Police Looking For Hit And Run Driver

Posted at 8:31 PM, Apr 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-15 15:38:35-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A pedestrian involved in a hit and run accident in downtown Grand Rapids over the weekend has injuries much worse than originally thought.  Now, police are stepping up efforts to find the at-fault driver, and the victim’s family says they want answers.

The family of James “Jimmy” Bacon, Jr. says the accident happened near the intersection of Ionia Avenue NW and Fulton Street W.  They say Jimmy had just gotten off work around midnight Saturday night and met up with his friends, but the casual outing took a terrifying turn.

“We heard sirens but we didn’t think anything of it, because the hospital is so close,” remembers Glorija Maticevic, the victim’s girlfriend.

Early Sunday morning, after closing time at J. Gardella’s Tavern, Maticevic says their small group split up.

“We went to go grab a hot dog outside and (Jimmy) went to grab his (cell phone) charger (from his car),” she says.  “We just didn’t hear back from him and I just knew something wasn’t right.”

Turns out, Jimmy never made it to his car.  His friends spent an hour, shifting through the streets of Grand Rapids, looking for him.

“I was losing my mind, I was going crazy, like frantic,” Maticevic sighs.  “You can’t describe that feeling and, it’s not a phone call you want to get saying (your boyfriend has) been hit by a car and he’s at the hospital.”

Police say the 25-year-old was hit by a Silver SUV, possibly a Ford Explorer, while crossing the Ionia-Fulton intersection, and the driver took off.

At first, police were told the victim’s injuries were minor.  Jimmy’s dad, James Bacon, Sr. says he was the first one at the Emergency Room, and his son was alert and talking, but he quickly went downhill – drifting in and out of consciousness.

Jimmy was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, his long-time girlfriend remembers her first encounter with him after the accident.

“He couldn’t remember who I was or who his dad was,” she says.  “He has a concussion, he has swelling and bleeding on his brain, so it’s not something you can see by just looking at him, but it was a lot more severe than they thought initially.”

Meanwhile, the Bacon family says Jimmy has a huge support team pulling for him and praying for his recovery, but now, they just want answers.

“The streets were crowded (that night)… we know people saw him or watched (the accident) happen,” Maticevic pleads.  “I just want to know who did this, I want them to come forward and say, ‘Look, I made a mistake,’ something, anything.”

G.R.P.D. says a detective has been assigned to the case, and they’re looking for the at-fault driver last seen heading West on Market Avenue from Fulton St. W.  If you saw anything, or know who the driver was that night, please call Grand Rapids Police at (616) 456-3400, or you can remain anonymous by calling Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.