UPDATE: Hit & Run Victim Jeff Kearney Released From Rehab, Now Back Home

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by Scott Schaefer

We love to share good news here at The B-Town Blog, and that’s why we’re posting this update on Jeff Kearney, the mentally-challenged man who was the victim of a hit-and-run last November in White Center (read our previous coverage here).

Jeff was recently discharged from Burien Nursing and Rehab, where he had been staying for the last several weeks after spending time at both Harborview and Highline Medical Center.

He is now recuperating at his home, and Burien Rehab Director Nate Neff sent us this email update:

Scott –

I just wanted to give you a quick update.

Jeff Kearney went home yesterday.

He had been wanting to go home for several days and had been vocalizing it. He has made quite the journey from his tragic accident. While here his feeding tube was removed and he began eating on his own, his cognition cleared up and he was able to clearly speak his needs and wants. Also, his strength increased greatly and he became able to propel himself in his wheelchair. He is still planning on getting some more rehab at home but Jeff was ready to go home.

We wish him the best of luck and are grateful for the opportunity to care for him.

– Nate

Hit and run victim Jeff Kearney at the Mark Restaurant Feb. 12th.

On Friday (Feb. 12th), we caught up with Jeff in person at the Mark Restaurant and Bar, where we found him enjoying a Roy Rogers drink, courtesy his good friend and Discover Burien Events Supervisor Debra George.

Jeff sat at a table near the bar, with his protective helmet sitting in a chair nearby.

We spoke with him for a few moments, mostly small talk, and noticed that his old, familiar smile was still there. We asked him how he was feeling, what he was doing, and his face lit up on the occasions we mentioned various Burien-based women and the hugs he associates with them. While a bit slow to respond, Jeff seemed keenly intent on resuming his friendly relationships with many locals, and it was an uplifting experience to see, especially considering how terribly he was struck and injured (reports say the SUV/truck that hit him was going around 35mph).

Debra George reminded us though that he still needs help walking, but is getting stronger with each day.

This man has come a long way, but he still has a way to go, and we wish him the best. We have a feeling that by the time the Farmer’s Market opens again in May that he’ll be back to his old self.

Sadly, the hit-and-run driver is apparently still at large. A $1,000 reward remains in effect, and the investigation is continuing.

The suspect vehicle, which struck Jeff in a crosswalk on 16th SW and SW 106th in White Center, had damage to the left front fender, and lost its driver’s side exterior rear-view mirror at the scene. It is probably maroon in color, a Chevrolet or GMC product, and is likely one of the following models:

  • GM or Chevrolet full size pick-up: 1988-1989
  • Blazer or Jimmy: 1992-1994
  • Suburban: 1992-1999
  • GMC Yukon: 1992-1999
  • Chevrolet Tahoe: 1995-1999

If you recognize the suspect vehicle or have any leads, please call the King County Sheriff’s Office at (206) 296-3311 (24 hours) or 911.

And if you wish to visit Jeff or send him your wishes, feel free to contact Debra George at the Mark Restaurant at (206) 241-MARK.

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3 Responses to “UPDATE: Hit & Run Victim Jeff Kearney Released From Rehab, Now Back Home”
  1. Great news, can’t wait to see Jeff and his smile at the market this summer.

  2. David Ketcherside says:

    That is great news! Have always seen him during the Burien events with a big smile and lots of helpfulness. Speedy recovery to him!!

  3. Joy Henley says:

    God sure answers prayer!

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