A man who was partially paralyzed last year in a roadside attack is getting much-needed assistance from an unexpected source. Tony Shin reports from Moreno Valley for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.
For the past 14 months, 52-year-old Bob Coon has dreamed about getting out of his 8-foot by 8-foot hospital room in Riverside County.
"I was a very active outdoor person, always," Coon said. "And driving a truck was what I was meant to do."
He was left partially paralyzed after being stabbed on Halloween night more than a year ago in a case police have not solved.
He was attacked while training to be a truck driver. When he and his mentor stopped at an intersection in Perris, the mentor went to get a tattoo while Coon headed to a nearby convenience store. Someone snuck up with a knife.
"I just felt a punch in the back,” Coon said. “It was a stab and I felt another one between my blades and I froze up.”
The attacker severed Coon's spine and left him for dead. But doctors saved his life. Through intense physical therapy, Coon has regained some movement in his left hand.
“I'm grateful to have my left hand even if I'm right handed," Coon said.
It's enough to drive a special motorized wheelchair that costs upwards of $50,000, allowing Coon to move back with his family.
"His employer fired him after this terrible tragedy, so he's got no health insurance,” said Coon’s attorney Brian Pearcy. “He was from out of state so he has no state coverage."
Pearcy is leading a Christmas charity called Riverside County Elves that’s trying to raise money to buy Coon that wheelchair.
"To being totally dependent and inactive is a fate worse than death,” Coon said.
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