Family of Bend man struck, killed by car plan vigil

Hope to prevent similar tragedies

Family of man hit by car speaks

BEND, Ore. - A week after Bend transient Ryan Hunt was struck by a car and killed, his loved ones have planned a candlelight vigil for Wednesday night.

It will begin in the Bend Inn and Suites parking lot on Third Street at 7:30 p.m. and will move down toward the Highway 97 overpass, where Hunt was struck.

Hunt suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and in the third grade, he was taken off his medications. Within a few years, his family said, he was self-medicating -- and without the guidance of a pharmacist, he became addicted to meds, which sent him down a path he couldn't escape easily.

"A lot of times, people don't feel that there's help," Hunt's brother, Cameron Gergits, said Tuesday. "In my brother's case, he wasn't able to find an outlet where he could get sober."

Hunt was struck and killed trying to cross Highway 97 last Wednesday night.

His brother went on to say how this incident can serve as a rallying point to raise awareness for those affected by addiction.

"I think that one thing we can do as a community to better fit everybody in our society as a whole would be more rehabilitation," Gergits said. "A lot of people feel that there aren't adequate resources. So the more that we feed people with this information, I feel that we'd do better in getting them what they need."

The accident might have been avoided, had Hunt been wearing reflective clothing or a safety vest. His mother has taken it upon herself now to make sure all transients in Bend have reflective gear.

Any and all community members are invited to attend Wednesday night's vigil.

(An update to one of the related stories listed here: NewsChannel 21 reported on the air last week that the woman struck and critically injured crossing Mt. Washington Drive late last month has improved to fair condition.)

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