Brent Graber was a guy I casually knew, a co-owner of a fun little dog named Delaney.
Brent and his brother were regulars at the ballfield near my house where Hooper & I spend many an evening. Last month, while Hooper was recuperating from his knee injury, Brent got hit by a car and had been in a coma ever since. I found out about Brent's unfortunate predicament a couple weeks after the fact, when Hooper & I returned to the ballfield. Ever since learning of Brent's unfortunate turn of events, I had been keeping tabs on him through a website his family had set up, and silently held out hope for a recovery of any kind.
But tonight, at the ballfield where I had collected all of my personal experiences with Brent, I learned of his death. His injuries proved too great for his body and especially his mind; he passed away last evening, after spending the last month in a coma.
I am mostly sad for Brent's family and close friends, as I was but a peripheral acquaintance. But at the same time, I am pissed off about the way his death came about, and at the way it has been reported and dealt with.
Brent was hit by a car from behind while riding his bicycle a mere quarter mile from my house. He was hit at night, by an 82 year-old. The newspapers reported the age of the driver, but also mentioned that Brent was not wearing a helmet and that his bike did not have a taillight or reflector. What was not reported--in the initial story or the initial "death report" news story-- is whether or not the driver was in the shoulder, or in the lane she was supposed to be keeping her fucking car in, when she plowed into this 30 year-old guy and killed him. The papers mention that the driver was not ticketed, in a single sentence paragraph. I would assume that is an indirect way of saying Brent was in the middle of the lane when he was hit, but based on the way most bike-versus-auto accidents are reported, investigated and prosecuted, I seriously fucking doubt it.
The age of the driver and cyclist, the lighting conditions, and the fact that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet or that his bike lacked a taillight are important points. But so is the location of the 2,000 pound motor vehicle when it struck the cyclist. I would argue that that last fact is the most important one in fact, and it really pisses me off that that little detail has been consistently left out of the discussion. Why is that? Seriously; why the fuck is that? Seriously.
Brent was always smiling at the ballfield, always laughing at his and the other dogs whenever they did something silly, which is to say Brent was laughing all the time. He seemed to be enjoying himself in his life, and at 30 years of age, his ended too quickly.
I am pissed off about the way his horrible ordeal has been reported in the local papers and suspect we don't know the entire story, but knowing the way Brent approached everyday life, I'm going to simply toast him now, and say "salut".