EXCLUSIVE: Indiana truck driver recalls being shot in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An Indiana truck driver is recovering after being shot last month in Oakland. He had picked up a generator in Compton and planned to deliver it to the Oakland Coliseum, but he was turned away by security guards and then shot while he was sleeping in his truck across from the Coliseum.

This happened right before the holidays on December 15. Jerry Matson, a former Marine, is from Auburn, Indiana and has been a truck driver for 43 years. He will always remember that night and he will never forget the generosity of the people in the Bay Area.

Jerry said, "You either get ready for what's going to happen or you just lay there and die."

He says he lunged towards the person who tried to break into his truck, when the gun went off and he was shot in the stomach. Minutes before, Jerry had been sleeping in his rig near the Coliseum in Oakland.

He barely remembers calling 911, but recalls, "And I said, 'And you'd better do it quick because I'm... the lights are about to go out.'"

His wife, Janet Matson, is a former nurse and quickly flew in from Indiana, worried about the possible outcome. The hospital in Oakland gave her a small stipend of $172 and she had to sleep in a car one night.

Meanwhile, an employee of the Saint Francis Foundation read about it on Facebook and quickly contacted her boss, Kevin Causey.

Causey, from the Saint Francis Foundation, said they "started making phone calls, started talking to the case workers at the burn unit, talking to everyone here at the hospital."

Saint Francis Hospital has the largest burn unit in Northern California which specializes in skin grafting.

Plastic surgeon Richard Grossman, M.D., told ABC7 News, "This gentleman had a very large open wound that was a complication of his gunshot wound and it needed new skin to be put on it."

The foundation also took care of his wife. A donation allowed her to stay at the Fairmont Hotel for two nights. The Nob Hill Hotel is now her home away from home.

Janet said, "It's nice that someone cares... for strangers."

Jerry said he is done driving trucks.

"You can walk down the street and get shot, it's no big deal. That's the free world," Jerry said.

Because of this incident and other shootings involving truck drivers, there is a growing national movement to allow truck drivers to carry guns. Right now, most don't because laws vary by state to state and county to county.
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