Bend boys recovering from March hit-and-run

Search still on for SUV that may have been involved

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Published Apr 7, 2014 at 12:01AM

To donate

The families of William Jackson Harris and Maverick French are taking donations to help defer the medical costs. Donations to Harris’ family may be made to Columbia River Bank at 1133 N.W. Wall St. or 1701 N.E. Third St. or via PayPal to willmdrury@gmail.com. Donations to French’s family may be made online at http://j.mp/1h5Lcd2.

A pair of Bend middle school boys are still healing from injuries sustained in a March 21 hit-and-run while Deschutes County Sheriff’s detectives continue their search for an SUV possibly involved in the Deschutes River Woods incident.

William Jackson Harris, 14, remains at St. Charles Bend while Maverick French, 12, is home but moving around in a wheelchair, relatives of the young friends said Sunday.

“He got hit pretty bad,” said Yvonne Drury, 66, of Bend, grandmother of Will, a third-generation Central Oregonian who is also known as Jack.

It was a Friday evening, the first night of spring break, and the boys decided to ride their skateboards about 2 miles from the French house to the Riverwoods County Store on Baker Road to get a snack, said Vince French, 50, Maverick’s father.

Maverick’s skateboard lost a wheel so they began walking back from the store.

At Baker Road and Lakeview Drive the boys were hit from behind and then possibly run over by two separate SUVs , French said. The sun was setting and its glare may have caused the drivers not to see the boys along the road, which has a 90-degree turn where the incident occurred.

Danny Gifford, 55, of Bend, hit the boys with his Jeep Wrangler and stayed at the scene, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. As of Sunday night Deschutes County court records didn’t indicate any charges had been filed against Gifford.

More than two weeks after the incident, detectives are still looking for a second SUV that may have been involved, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Dizney. A man with a goatee reportedly was driving the mid-sized SUV, which was dark in color, possibly gray or blue.

“Both boys said they never saw anything coming,” French said.

The French family used to live a block from the Harris family in Bend, having only moved to Deschutes River Woods last November, and the boys go to Pilot Butte Middle School. Will is an eighth-grader, and Maverick is a sixth-grader.

Will, who signed up for the track team the day before the hit-and-run, likely won’t be back in class this year, Drury said. He spent five days in the intensive care unit and is still recovering from brain trauma and fractures to his pelvis. Maverick is recovering from a concussion, a broken pelvis and a broken femur, as well as road rash, French said. He may be out of school for a few more weeks.

Both of the families have set up bank accounts and are taking donations to help cover medical bills and other costs incurred due to the hit-and-run.

Anyone with information about the incident should call law enforcement at 541-693-6911.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com