A bicyclist who was critically injured Tuesday morning in Lacey was to be taken off life support Thursday, his grandmother told The Olympian.
Tim Smith, 30, was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after he was struck by a vehicle about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday on Martin Way near College Street.
According to police, Smith was traveling east in the bicycle lane, but continued riding through a red light after traffic stopped. A vehicle was turning onto the southbound Interstate 5 on-ramp and struck Smith as he crossed the street. The crash is still under investigation, but Lacey Police Sgt. Terence Brimmer said the driver was not at fault.
Smith suffered severe injuries to his head and face, said his grandmother, Karen Ledbetter of Shelton. Smith will be taken off life support today after his family members say their goodbyes. He leaves behind a wife, Christina, and two sons, ages 4 and 7. He also had a 13-year-old adopted son and 11-year-old adopted daughter.
Ledbetter said she began raising Smith when he was 3 years old after his own mother — her daughter — had died.
In recent years, Smith had been struggling with substance abuse and was homeless, said Ledbetter, speculating that he might have been under the influence Tuesday.
She told The Olympian that Smith’s family harbors no ill will toward the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident.
“Timmy was in the wrong, but even if he wasn’t, we would forgive her instantly for something like this,” Ledbetter said. “This is devastating. I want her to know that Timmy, alive, would not blame her for this.”
Olympia resident Michael DeMattee said he witnessed the crash while driving to work on the dark and rainy morning Tuesday. The impact knocked the bicycle into the middle of the intersection.
DeMattee, a combat veteran who is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, provided aid to Smith until first responders arrived on the scene.
“He landed on the ground pretty hard,” said DeMattee, adding that he couldn’t stop the bleeding on Smith’s injuries. “I wish I had the right tools. I could have helped save his life.”
Despite the grief her family is experiencing, Ledbetter said she cherishes the time she spent raising Smith. In one fond memory, she recalled the way he would pronounce the word “pretty” with almost a British accent when he was “just a little tiny boy.”
“One thing I’ll always remember is that he was always bringing me these pretty flowers,” she said. “They could have been weeds, but to him, they were pretty.”
Smith’s ashes will be interred at his mother’s gravesite at Riverside Cemetery in Seattle.