Friends Say Man Killed in Hit and Run Was Starting a New Life

Friends Say Man Killed in Hit and Run Was Starting a New Life


Thermal, CA

Orange markings on the shoulder of Highway 86 show where 30-year-old Brandon Cooper was left to die. The CHP says he was hit by a car on Sunday just after 11 o’clock, south of Avenue 84  in Thermal, the driver didn’t bother to stop. Later he was hit by a second car. That driver did stop and call for help.
Officers are looking for the driver who fled the scene.

His friends are looking for answers. They can’t believe someone would do this.

"It’s cowardly to just leave him like that, very cowardly, should have called something," says Charles Jones who met Cooper at the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, adding, "he had a newborn he straightened his life out for his kids." 

Cooper had overcome homelessness and substance abuse with the help of the mission.

"He was going to come back and graduate in September for our ceremony so he had completed the program he just had moved out into housing, he was engaged and he was really looking forward to moving on," says Joshua Howitt, manager of the men’s program at CVRM. 

He says he was also was giving back, "He helped us on outreach, he helped us cleaning up lots around the city and reaching out to others you know because he understood the help that he got and the impact that it had on his life and he wanted to share that with others." 

He says the person who left him to die robbed him of his second chance, "He was really looking forward to what came next he waited a long time for this and it was taken from him."

The CHP is asking anyone with information to call their Indio office (760) 772-5300 and ask for Officer Cotteen.