A young public relations specialist who recently served as chief of staff to a Manhattan state senator is in a coma after he collided with an SUV while riding a Citi Bike — the same day he sent out invitations for an upcoming birthday party.
Jacob Priley, 30, was riding north on Fifth Ave. in Park Slope, Brooklyn, around 5:20 p.m. Friday when he got into a crash with a 2017 Nissan Rogue, leaving him clinging to life, cops said.
“Jake and I have been friends ever since he moved into an apartment one floor below me,” a neighbor wrote in a heart-felt Facebook post. “He is the sweetest young guy and has met a number of my friends at birthday dinners we have had in the last year.
City Councilman Erik Bottcher noted that Priley “got into politics because he cares,” adding: “You could just tell, you know?”
The politico made what police described as an abrupt left turn onto Union St. and was struck by the front driver’s side of the SUV going in the opposite direction. Both Priley and the Nissan’s 58-year-old driver had the green light, according to police.
Priley, who police sources said wasn’t wearing a helmet, was launched from his bike. Medics took him to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in critical condition.
He suffered a traumatic brain injury and has been in a coma since the crash, according to social media posts.
“His vitals remain stable and we continue to hope for good signs,” tweeted John M. Blasco, who works for Manhattan and Brooklyn Rep. Dan Goldman.
Priley, an account supervisor for the public relations firm Berlin Rosen, previously worked as state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal’s chief of staff and did work on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to his LinkedIn bio.
“Jacob is a beloved colleague and friend, and more than that, an amazing soul,” said Jeremy Soffin, a managing director at Berlin Rosen. “We are all praying for a full recovery.”
The Nissan driver remained at the scene and faces no charges, though police are still investigating.
Family members rushed to New York from California to be at Priley’s side after the Friday crash.
Back in May, his mom Kim Gadberry Priley recounted on Facbook how she visited him in New York on Mother’s Day after seven years of being unable to celebrate the day with him in person.
“We were able to make it happen this year and he made it very special. Beautiful roses, beautiful card and an amazing brunch in NYC,” she wrote. “We also did a nice walk on the High Line, met up with some of his college friends, walk through Central Park.”
Bottcher told the Daily News on Sunday that he befriended the victim when Priley was working for Hoylman-Sigal and Bottcher was working for former Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“He’s someone who you’d see at political events all the time and always there with a big smile,” Bottcher said. “The thing about Jacob is that he never grabs the spotlight. He’s there doing the work but he’s not the person who runs up to the center of the room and calls attention to himself.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Jacob,” he added.
Priley is active in LGBTQ rights advocacy and serves as an at-large board member for the Stonewall Democrats of New York City, Bottcher said.
Several elected officials took to social media Saturday to promote a GoFundMe page launched to cover Priley’s medical expenses.
“Please join me in praying for Jacob & his family in this painful time & if you are able, donating to help cover his medical bills,” state Sen. Andrew Gounardes posted on Instagram.
“We are overwhelmed with love and support,” the victim’s sister Mackensie Priley wrote on Facebook. “Please keep our boy in your prayers.”
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