Brian Hickey, former managing editor of the

City Paper

and manager of labor leader John Dougherty's state senate campaign last spring, was listed in critical condition last night after a hit-and-run accident in South Jersey.

Collingswood Police Chief Thomas Garrity said Hickey, 35, of East Falls, was walking about 10:15 p.m. Friday on North Atlantic Avenue at West Linden in Collingswood, near a PATCO stop, when he was struck by a motorist who left the scene.

Hickey was found unconscious on the roadway with a bloody cut on his head, Garrity said. Police officers saw skid marks on the roadway. Hickey was rushed to Cooper University Medical Center in Camden, where he is still hospitalized.

A resident heard a loud bang and saw a car speeding east on Atlantic Avenue toward Cuthbert Boulevard but didn't get a description of the vehicle or a license plate, Garrity said.

"I don't know how someone can hit and leave him like that," said Angela Hickey, 32, Brian's horrified wife.

Brian Hickey had gone to a tavern to meet old friends from Haddon Township High School who were home for Thanksgiving weekend, she added.

"It was a guy's night out," said Angela, who stayed home to work on two papers due this week and to study for a nursing exam tomorrow. "I never expected him to be home at 10 p.m. He took PATCO so he wouldn't have to drive."

About 3 a.m., she said awoke wondering where he was, and began calling and texting his Blackberry every 10 minutes until 7 a.m., when she called his father, Dan Hickey. The two then began frantically calling hospitals and police in the area.

At one point, the two figured that Hickey "had so many friends that, maybe, he just laid down on a friend's sofa and fell asleep," said Dan Hickey, who moved from the family's Westmont home five years ago.

At 11:03 a.m., more than 12 hours after the accident, Angela said, an official from Cooper Hospital notified her that her husband had been admitted in critical condition.

"Honestly, I'm sad because he was alone all that time," said Angela. "He always calls me when he's on the way home."

About 10 minutes later, she said, a 39th District police officer knocked at her door, and she asked, "Are you here about my husband?"

After that, she said she became extremely distraught.

"I can't believe they put her through 12 hours of not knowing," said Hickey's father, of Angela. "We had to talk to 15 people before we figured out what happened."

A detective later told Angela, she said, that he tried to rouse Hickey at the scene, but he was confused and combative, but could move his extremities.

"That's typical of a frontal lobe injury," said Angela who is studying to become a nurse.

Doctors said that Brian suffered major brain trauma from the accident, and induced a medical coma, in order to alleviate cranial pressure, said his father.

"The last CAT scan showed the pressure was very good," his father added. "He's in critical but stable condition."

Hickey, a 1995 graduate of the University of Delaware, covered politics for both the Philadelphia Weekly and the City Paper here, winning numerous awards.

During a 4 1/2-year stint at the City Paper, he rose to become its managing editor.

Last February, Hickey left the paper to become the campaign manager for "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, who ran unsuccessfully against his archrival, state Sen. Vince Fumo in the first senatorial district in the primary. Dougherty is head of IBEW Local 98.

Recently, Hickey had been freelancing for, Metro newspaper and Philadelphia Weekly. He wrote a blog called "Philly Blunt," and was considering working for a new startup magazine, Boardwalk Journal, to be published soon.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run accident should call Collingswood Police at 856-854-1901, ext. 223. *