Friends and family of Bahram Saghari, the Los Gatos bicyclist critically injured by an unlicensed driver the morning of May 25, say he's making slow progress.
Tim DuClos, who lives three houses down from the Saghari residence on Cypress Way and is an avid bike rider as well, said the 52-year-old naturalized Iranian national is moving his fingers.
However, the right side of his face is still swollen, but he can open his left eye and has began to try to mouth words as he lays in the intensive care unit of Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Redwood City.
Saghari's ability to communicate is impeded by a tracheal tube in his neck so the air does not pass by his vocal cords, DuClos said. He also has a shunt in his brain to drain fluid and has a feeding tube to his stomach.
"He's going to need a lot of rehabilitation," DuClos said. "Every day there's a little improvement, but it's hard to measure exactly how long this is going to be."
say Saghari was wearing a helmet the day of the accident and was struck at the intersection of Wheeler Avenue and Los Gatos Boulevard as he was on the northbound bike lane of Los Gatos Boulevard. Police say he collided with a southbound Ford Explorer driven by San Jose resident Juan Antonio Rodriguez-Gallegos, 42.
The Ducloses have fellowshipped Saghari's wife, Taban, inviting her over for dinner and wine.
Saghari is a professor at Santa Clara University and is covered by health insurance. He's lived in the United States since 1978, arriving here when he was 21 years old.
His long-term care will not be covered by the insurance so the family will need to have enough money to pay for the long rehabilitation road ahead, DuClos said.
To that end, DuClos is organizing a fundraiser 5-11 p.m., July 25, at to help pay for his medical expenses. The event will feature bocce games, buffet dinner and silent auction to raise funds for his family. Donations of $75 per person will be accepted.
DuClos also hopes to organize a golf tournament and since Saghari is an avid cyclist, several bicycle clubs are considering holding a bike rally in his benefit.
Saghari has two daughters, Shayan, a recent architecture school graduate who came home from teaching English in Spain to help her family through the tragedy; and Keon, a dance major at Lines Ballet BFA program in San Francisco.
Shayan and mother are said to be at the hospital between eight and 10 hours a day where they keep vigil for their father.
"My dad is unbelievably creative and artistic. He has a wide range of talent and interest, from sewing to painting to architectural design to crafts, graphic design, web design, you name it," Shayan said. "He's a very positive, optimistic, driven, dedicated person, who loves life and energizing others. His morning alarm on his phone reads 'you only live once, make the most of it.' "
The Sagharis have no family here. "My dad is so energetic and vivacious, the house is very quiet and empty without him around during this time," Shayan said.
According to police, northbound morning traffic on Los Gatos Boulevard was backed up for the red signal light at the intersection of Highway 9 the morning of the accident.
The intersection of Wheeler Avenue, just south of the Highway 9 intersection, is marked with “Keep Clear” to allow ingress and egress from that street when traffic is backed up, police said.
Rodriguez-Gallegos was reportedly attempting a left-hand from southbound Highway 9 onto eastbound Wheeler Avenue. After completing the turn, his vehicle was struck broadside by Saghari who was traveling in the bicycle lane northbound on Los Gatos Boulevard, alongside the line of backed-up traffic, police said.
The driver was cited at the scene of the accident for not having a driver's license, police said.
DuClos said he's worried about the safety of Wheeler Avenue, which is used by neighborhood children to get to nearby schools.
To learn more on how to help the Saghari family contact Tim DuClos at 408-497-9052 or email him at email@example.com.