A Durango bicyclist’s condition has improved to “fair” after he was hit by a car last week on Main Avenue, according to a spokesman at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction.
“Things are looking up,” said longtime friend Marko Ward. “He’s making good progress.”
Christopher Balchunas, 63, was traveling south in the bicycle lane on Aug. 7 when a driver of a 2007 Subaru Impreza, also traveling south, drifted two lanes to the right and struck Balchunas, causing serious head trauma.
Balchunas was airlifted to St. Mary’s in critical condition and was upgraded to “serious” condition a few days later. On Monday, a St. Mary’s spokesman further confirmed that Balchunas’ health is improving.
Ward said Balchunas did not suffer brain injuries, but did suffer a skull fracture. Since his injury, he’s been walking around a little and talks with some difficulty, he said.
Ward said Balchunas has lived in the Durango area for more than 40 years with his wife and son.
“She (Balchunas’s wife) said it’s a miracle how he’s improving so much,” Ward said. “
Balchunas, better known among friends as “Bal,” works at Purgatory Resort and Hillcrest Golf Course. A fund was set up for his medical costs at First National Bank of Durango. Donations to the fund can be made at these bank locations: 259 W. Ninth St., 125 Sawyer Drive in Bodo Industrial Park, in Albertsons grocery store, at Walmart, and in Bayfield at 351 Bayfield Center Drive.
Durango Police suspect the driver of the Subaru, 22-year-old Jessica Durbin of Durango, of distracted driving, possibly reaching for something on the floor when the car drifted into the bike lane.
Shupe previously said charges are pending as authorities wait to see the condition of the victim. Shupe said Monday the officer in charge of that investigation was not in the office to provide an update.