Drew Bierman had just moved back to Key West from Atlanta a few months ago, and was looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and finding a new life in the town where he grew up.
The 29-year-old Key Haven resident is now fighting for his life at a Miami hospital after he was struck by a Cadillac while riding a scooter on Stock Island Wednesday night, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports and his friends. Bierman is reportedly at Ryder Trauma Center in a coma after suffering a fractured skull, broken femur, broken ribs, internal bleeding, punctured lung and other broken bones, said his friend Jeramy Stehly of Key West.
"I hear they're going to do a CAT scan today, but I don't know what's happening beyond that right now," Stehly said Thursday afternoon.
The former Key West High School student was on his way to Stehly's house at 9:42 p.m. when he was hit in the MacDonald Avenue and U.S. 1 intersection, according to a Highway Patrol press release. Bierman was attempting to make the left southbound onto U.S. 1 and was driving through what witnesses said was a green light from MacDonald Avenue, the release states.
A 2012 Cadillac driven by Justin Mcalee of Newport News, Va., was northbound on U.S. 1 and allegedly ran the red light, hitting Bierman, forcing him off his scooter and onto the hood of the Cadillac, where he struck the windshield before falling off, according to the Highway Patrol press release. His head hit the street when he fell off, the release states.
Mcalee was reportedly changing from the left lane to the right lane when he allegedly struck Bierman.
The report doesn't indicate how fast the Cadillac was traveling, but the crash was severe enough to cause $15,000 damage to the car, the release states.
Alcohol was not believed to be a factor. Possible charges are pending the investigation, the release states. Bierman has one family member in Key West, but most of his family lives in Atlanta, said Stehly, who spent much of Thursday gathering information for his friends and waiting word from the hospital, he said.
"I went to the hospital [Lower Keys Medical Center] last night, but apparently they didn't even take him there, they flew him straight from the airport," Stehly said.
Stehly said he was trying to reach Bierman's other close Key West friends Thursday, but most of them drove to Miami Wednesday night and could not be reached for comment, he said.
The two have been close friends since high school. Bierman had been a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, but missed the small-town life he led during his school years and moved back about three months ago, Stehly said.
"He's not a water guy and he's not a big drinker," Stehly said with a quiet chuckle. "I think he just really missed his friends here and Atlanta is so big and cold, too. I think he just wanted to be back here where he grew up, where his friends are."