(Update: Adding video, comments from victim's mother)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Less than a week ago, Lori Cross lost her son in an early-morning crash on a stretch of Highway 97 just south of Redmond.
"He was my first -- he made me a mommy,” she told NewsChannel 21 on Monday. “And me and him were buddies for 3 1/2 years, until his brother Josh was born."
Last Wednesday, Oregon State Police said Jeremy James, Lori’s son, was riding his bike around 3:30 in the morning on Highway 97 when he was hit by a car.
"Jeremy would have never,” Lori said, pausing. “If he had thought he would have put someone in that predicament, it would have never happened."
OSP said Jeremy James was riding south, in the inside "fast" lane of Highway 97, when he was struck. The area isn't lighted, and the OSP added that he was wearing dark clothing and headphones.
The driver of the car was a 19-year old Redmond man.
"I can't imagine what the young man is going through," Lori said of the driver. "There's got to be something he's dealing with, too.
"My heart is really going out to this young man. It's a young age to be dealing with something like this."
James' mother said he was traveling, looking for work, after being laid off due to the pandemic. He was staying with a friend in Bend before heading back to his family home outside of Seattle. He tested positive for COVID-19 months ago and tested positive again while in the hospital.
"He was a couple weeks shy of coming back home," Lori said.
Jeremy died at the hospital Wednesday evening. He was 41 years old.
Cross said Jeremy was a free spirit who loved singing and music.
"There wasn't a song that he couldn't sing,” Lori said of her son. “Anywhere, everywhere we would go, he had to find a karaoke place to sing."
And she said she thought that may have been what he was doing Tuesday night. Lori said tests came back with no drugs found in Jeremy’s system.
"If you know Jeremy, he probably had just got done singing at a karoke bar,” she said, “And he probably got on a bike, and he put his headphones -- and I just feel like he had his hands off his bars of his bike. And he's rolling down the street, not thinking anyone would be out" at that time of day.
Those headphones, she said, were a source of his happiness.
"I had just sent him those headphones,” Lori said before pausing, “in quarantine, so he had music to listen to."
She said the headphones haven't been recovered, but she hopes to find them, to remember him by.