Broken, bleeding and facing the very real prospect of an untimely demise as he laid unconscious on the unforgiving pavement.
That was Oxford resident Ronnie Bunker’s condition after a driver allegedly hit him and fled the scene at the intersection of Perry St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Pontiac on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Fortunately, Ronnie, who turned 34 on Aug. 25, is on the mend.
“He’s out of the trauma unit and in a room on a regular floor (at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak). That’s huge,” said his mother Judy Bunker, of Oxford, just before midnight on Sunday, Aug. 27. “He is going to recover. He’s young. He’s strong. Thank goodness for that.
“He has so many (injuries). This is going to be a very, very long road, but he’s determined. My son is getting better and he’s improving all the time.”
And there’s more good news.
“We’ve got the driver and the vehicle,” said Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Rymarz, of the Crash Reconstruction Unit.
Bunker, a Lake Orion High School graduate, suffered severe internal injuries and multiple broken bones as a result of the alleged hit-and-run. He sustained damage to his lungs, diaphragm, liver and heart, and his spleen had to be removed, according to his mother.
To help pay his medical bills, a fund-raising page was created on the GoFundMe.com website. The address is www.gofundme.com/4b19pq8. The goal is to collect $50,000. So far, a total of $1,205 has been donated.
“He has had such an outpouring of support and love,” Judy said. “Thank you so much. I appreciate everybody’s help. Thank you for the prayers and the support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. There’s good people out there – very, very good people, caring people.”
The GoFundMe page was set up by Shelby Township resident Danielle Rae Frances, Ronnie’s best friend.
“It’s awful that someone would do this,” Frances said. “Ronnie didn’t deserve this. He’s honestly the most genuine person I’ve ever met in my life.”
Bunker and his friend, Courtney Baize, 32, of Oxford, were headed north on Perry St. on his Honda CBR 600 motorcycle around 10:40 p.m. when a southbound 2007 white Mercury Milan, allegedly driven by a Pontiac man, turned in front of them, causing the crash, according to Rymarz.
Rymarz said both the Milan and Ronnie had a green light, but the driver of the Milan failed to yield to oncoming traffic before making his turn.
Following the crash, the driver of the Milan fled the scene, according to Rymarz.
Judy cannot believe “the person who did this just kept on going” as if nothing happened. “You left my son to die in the road,” she said. “This person has no idea what they did to my family and to (Baize’s) family.”
The sheriff’s office received plenty of tips from the public and one of them paid off big time.
“We were able to follow up on that tip and find the damaged vehicle in a parking lot here in Pontiac,” he said. That helped investigators to identify and locate the alleged perpetrator, who has not yet been charged.
“I hope to maybe get it presented to the prosecutor by the end of the week,” Rymarz said.
Ronnie and Baize were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, but the force of the impact caused them to fly off.
“That’s how hard they hit,” Judy said. “That’s quite an impact to rip the helmets off their heads.”
The injuries Baize, a mother of two, sustained were less severe and included fractures to her jaw, leg and vertebrae, according to Frances. “She had an angel watching over her,” Frances said. “She’s very, very lucky.”
Once her son recovers, Judy said he’s going to make it his personal mission in life to encourage his fellow motorcycle enthusiasts to always wear helmets. “He believes the helmets they were wearing saved their lives,” she said. “He wants to do speeches and be an advocate. He always wears a helmet.”
By all accounts, Ronnie is quite the popular fellow and considered to be an all-around great guy. “He’s the kind of person who’s always happy,” Frances said.
“He’s very outgoing and active,” Judy said. “He has tons and tons of friends. They’re always getting together and going out. Everybody that meets my son has (made) a new friend in (him) . . . He touches so many people. He’s such a nice guy.”
Ronnie is known to be generous and caring.
“He would do anything for anybody,” Frances said. “He would give the shirt off his back to anybody. That’s the kind of person he is. He’s the kind of person who would give you all his money if you needed it.”
“He’s always helping. He helps everybody. That’s my son,” Judy said.
Judy expressed her deep and heartfelt gratitude to everyone who helped her son on that fateful night, from the folks who stopped and assisted at the crash scene to the staff at McLaren Oakland and Beaumont hospitals.
“Thank you to all of those (people) who saved his life,” she said.