NAUGATUCK — Marine Cpl. Matthew A. Tooker was shot twice in Afghanistan last year and survived to run the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of his fallen comrades.
Now someone will have to run the race for him.
Tooker, 25, who lived at 123 Carriage Drive, died early Saturday after crashing his motorcycle into a telephone pole on Osborn Road, Lt. Robert Harrison of the Naugatuck Police Department said.
Preliminary reports indicate Tooker was traveling eastbound when he struck a curb and lost control of the 2001 Honda CBR900 sport motorcycle he was riding. The motorcycle eventually crashed into a pole near 183 Osborn Road, Harrison said. Police are still trying to determine Tooker’s speed and whether he was under the influence of alcohol. He was not wearing a helmet and had a motorcycle learner’s permit, which does not allow nighttime riding, Harrison said.
Police were called to the scene at 2:45 a.m. Saturday, and found Tooker lying unconscious about 10 feet away from the motorcycle with severe head trauma, Harrison said.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at Waterbury Hospital, Harrison said.
Nobody witnessed the accident as it happened, Harrison said.
“We did hear several people report that they heard the crash, and that’s what caused them to run outside,” Harrison said.
Tooker was shot in the right forearm and biceps in February 2010 while providing cover fire for his company on a rooftop in Marjah. He was serving his second tour in Afghanistan as a scout sniper.
A bullet was still lodged in Tooker’s back and he could not feel his right hand in October when he ran the marathon in Washington, D.C. He finished the race in 5 hours, 22 minutes and 11 seconds, in honor of two friends killed in action.
Through the race, Tooker also raised money for Hope For The Warriors, an organization that helps wounded veterans play sports.
Tooker graduated in 2005 from Emmett O’Brien Technical School in Ansonia and worked as a machinist for Gar-Kenyon Technologies, a borough-based aerospace and defense manufacturer, for two years before enlisting.