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Ore. cop in critical condition after being struck by alleged drunken driver

Officer Matthew Barbee suffered severe head and neck trauma after he was rear-ended while waiting in his parked car for roadside assistance


By Everton Bailey Jr.
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

TIGARD, Ore. — A Tigard police officer hit by an alleged drunken driver while on his way home after work remains hospitalized in critical condition Friday.

Matthew Barbee suffered severe head and neck trauma after he was rear-ended around 1:35 a.m. Thursday while waiting in his parked car for roadside assistance, said Tigard Detective Jeff Herring.

Officer Matthew Barbee, 39, was having car trouble, pulled over and was waiting for the arrival of a friend he had called when he was hit. (Photo/Tigard PD)
Officer Matthew Barbee, 39, was having car trouble, pulled over and was waiting for the arrival of a friend he had called when he was hit. (Photo/Tigard PD)

Barbee, 39, a Tigard officer for 11 years, was having car trouble, pulled over along U.S. 26 near the Cornelius Pass Road exit in Hillsboro and was waiting for the arrival of a friend he had called when he was hit.

"At this point, we're unsure when and if Matt will make a recovery from this horrific accident," Hering said during a news conference at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

The driver remained at the scene after the crash. Tigard police said the driver was drunk at the time.

No arrests have been made, said Lt. Henry Reimann, a Hillsboro police spokesman. Once the investigation is complete, he said, the case will be forwarded to the Washington County District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether to file charges.

Tigard and Hillsboro police declined to identify the driver. 

Barbee's colleagues and wife described the injured officer as kind-hearted, charitable and known for his quirky sense of humor.

Sherrie Barbee said the couple have been married for 19 years, have three children and a farm at their home in Mist, an unincorporated Columbia County community. She said he loves animals, recently bringing home five pigs when she insisted on no more than two. 

"He's always doing charity for people and never asks for anything in return," Sherrie Barbee said. "He's a great man, I couldn't ask for a better husband and father."

The Tigard Police Officers' Association has created an online fundraiser for Barbee and his family. As of Friday evening, its raised nearly $6,000. 

©2017 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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