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Dad run over trying to save family

West Linn family is injured after being struck by a van while walking on the sidewalk
by: submitted photo, The Herbert family smiles for a recent family portrait taken prior to the Aug.6 accident in which they were struck by a van while walking on the sidewalk. Pictured from left is John, Tracy and John Jr.

Fifteen or so pre-schoolers munched on pizza and cake and got special prizes in their goody bags as John Herbert celebrated his fifth birthday.

Friends, neighbors and his grandparents brought gifts to the West Linn Pizza Schmizza, according to Anju Nathan, a friend of the Herbert family.

John's parents weren't there.

Despite that, the event was the happiest gathering all week.

The little boy and his mother, Tracy, and father John - who goes by Brad - Herbert are still recovering after being run over last week by a van driven by Thomas Haymore.

Haymore, a Portland-area dentist who lives in West Linn, struck the family Monday, Aug. 6, as they walked down a sidewalk along Salamo Road in West Linn.

Tracy now rests at home. Brad - who was initially lifeflighted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center in Portland - has been upgraded to fair condition, as of Monday.

Friends cook the Herbert's dinner each night. Neighbors mow their lawn. And family members from out of the country watch John; he isn't attending a reading and gymnastic camp was signed up for.

'Brad shielded John from the van. As a result of his heroic effort, Brad was run over and (dragged) by the van. Brad is still in the hospital and is expected to remain there for at least the next week. We still do not know the full extent of his serious injuries,' according to a release written by the family and distributed by Glenn E. Barger, a partner at Smith Freed and Eberhand, P.C. representing the family.

Friends have established the Brad Herbert Medical Fund to help with the family's growing medical expenses. Contributions can be made at any local Bank of America branch.

Haymore - also a licensed anesthesiologist - told police that he was using a combination of Ambien, Prozac and Demerol at the time of the collision, confirmed Bryan Brock, deputy district attorney in Clackamas County.

Ambien is a sleep medication used to treat insomnia; Prozac is an anti-depressant; Demerol is a pain reliever.

The crash at the top of Salamo Road was a three-part horror to witnesses. Haymore, 35, drove in reverse through the Starbucks parking lot, hit a van and tree before continuing backwards on the sidewalk and striking the family.

The collision came as shocking news to those who live near Haymore in the Sunset neighborhood.

'This is so out of the ordinary. He's not - in my opinion - someone who would do that intentionally,' said a close-by neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. 'I've heard weird stories about Ambien - people don't know what they're doing. They're essentially sleepwalking. … The commercials don't tell you you're going to go run over people.'

Safety information listed for Ambien CR includes: sleepwalking, and eating or driving while not fully awake, with amnesia for the event, have been reported, as stated in the medicine's official Web site.

Because Haymore is licensed with the Oregon Board of Dentistry, this collision could have repercussions on his professional career. Any licensee that violates the Dental Practice Act could be subject to disciplinary action, said Patrick D. Braatz, executive director of the Oregon Board of Dentistry.

'The disciplinary action that the board is allowed to discipline somebody with (includes) reprimands that could be issued, suspensions that could be issued or the board could seek a revocation of the license,' said Braatz, who said he cannot comment further because this is a pending investigation.

At the end of the birthday party the other day, John turned to his guests and said, 'thank you for having a party for me,' said Nathan, who held Tracy's hand as she lay on a stretcher before being transported to the hospital. 'It made the parents feel good that this little boy had his birthday.'

Meanwhile, Haymore's neighbor said that the incident does not change his opinion of the Haymore family.

'They're quiet. They keep their place up. They have a new baby,' he said. 'If you want me to be philosophical about it, pretend every day is going to be your last. I feel bad for both families.'

He also said the Haymore's haven't returned home since the incident.

Stephen Houze, Portland criminal defense attorney representing Haymore, said his client has received threats of harm to him and his family.

'This is a very traumatic set of circumstances for Mr. Haymore and his family. They are so sorry for the injury to (the Herbert) family and the upset that this has caused them and all of their extended family and friends,' Houze said.

We can only hope that this serves as a reminder that substance abuse does not respect professional status or anything else. Any good family can fall victim to this.'

Within their written release, the Herbert family had many people they wished to thank for their services this past week.

'All of the aid has been greatly appreciated in our time of need,' they wrote. 'We especially thank the efforts of the fire department, Lifeflight ambulance service, West Linn Police Department, as well as Legacy Emanuel's ICU nurses, surgeons, trauma team and pediatric department. The care we received and continue to receive has been nothing less than outstanding.'

Haymore was charged with assault and DUII. He is currently out of state in a residential treatment program, Houze said.

A preliminary hearing is rescheduled for Sept. 5 at 3 p.m.