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#1 2016-04-01 17:30:20

owlman
Member
Registered: 2011-12-16
Posts: 102

Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

Driver Artemio Avila captured the next day; currently held on $100k bond.

http://kxan.com/2016/04/01/driver-faces … bicyclist/

On March 29 just after 10 p.m., officers received reports of a crash that severely injured a bicyclist. According to the affidavit, Elizabeth English was dragged underneath the vehicle for several blocks before the driver took off. Police say while the bicyclist was dragged for nearly half-a-mile, from Airport Boulevard to Greenwood Avenue.

Hospital staff indicated the woman lost part of her right buttocks, part of her pelvis and her lower spine was exposed from grinding on the pavement. Medical staff told officers due to the severity of her injuries she might not live.


More painful details from her gofundme page

Still in critical condition she is responsive and communicating with a white erase board. Ironically, Beth's main concern is for her beloved fiancée  Charlotte and not herself! This is why we need to pitch in and help this remarkable woman.

Beth has suffered massive injuries to her leg/ hip and back.  Beth is also at high risk for infection as she has no remaining skin on her back, leaving her muscles and spine exposed.  She will continue to have daily debriding of her back / buttocks and legs which requires surgery before the grafting can begin.Thankfully  through all of this her organs are fine and her spine, although exposed, is still intact.

Beth remains positive, smiling, up beat and giving everyone the thumbs up.

Last edited by owlman (2016-04-01 19:21:14)

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#2 2016-04-02 02:01:42

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
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Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

This is horrific beyond belief.  Honestly, it makes me rethink whether I even want to promote cycling.  Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of cycling advocacy: trying to get more people to ride bikes, and making it safer for those who choose to do so.  I'm ready to finally hang up my hat on the former.  For example, I just took down the "Why cycle?" page on BicycleUniverse that I published many years ago.  I was always a bit ambivalent about promoting an activity that could wind up getting people hurt or killed, but this clinches it.

Yes, people get hurt and killed by driving cars, too, but the risk to cyclists is three to eight times greater.  Let's face it:  It would be fairly impossible for a driver on the stretch of road in the above incident to be hurt the way that Elizabeth English was.

Our kids used to bike to school.  After my wife repeatedly nearly got killed on her bike by homicidal or flippant drivers, she stopped cycling herself and put her foot down on the kids' biking, too.  At the time, I simply felt I couldn't blame her.  But if they were still riding today, now *I'd* be the one to pull them off their bikes.

The next time someone tries to lecture me about how cyclists need to follow the law, I'll ask them how many cases they know where a hit-and-run cyclist dragged a driver for half a mile, obliterating their buttocks and pelvis, exposing their spine, and removing all the skin from their back.

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#3 2016-04-02 09:34:55

RedFalcon
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Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 127

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Honestly, it makes me rethink whether I even want to promote cycling.

Yeah, a year or so ago I stopped trying to talk people into commuting by bike .  If any one asks me about bike commuting I tell them I am very happy to give them advice on how to ride if they decide to do it, but that's it.  I won't talk them into actually doing it.  The first thing I tell anyone who does ask is that if they are not willing to pay 110% attention to their surroundings while riding then forget it.

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#4 2016-04-02 12:30:40

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

We were thinking the same thing.

Anyway, the penalty for hit-and-run with serious injury is 2 to 10 years.  I'll be surprised if the driver gets more than two years, but I guess the chances are greater because he's a minority and an illegal alien.  Comments in the Statesman article are calling for his head because of that, as though American citizens don't routinely hit-and-run each other too.

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#5 2016-04-02 16:21:43

Donald Lewis
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Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 172

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Anyway, the penalty for hit-and-run with serious injury is 2 to 10 years.  I'll be surprised if the driver gets more than two years, but I guess the chances are greater because he's a minority and an illegal alien.  Comments in the Statesman article are calling for his head because of that, as though American citizens don't routinely hit-and-run each other too.

Don't read that dialogue unless you want to get really discouraged!

Don in Austin

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#6 2016-04-02 17:31:27

RedFalcon
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Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 127

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

I think I would rather take out my own kidneys with a spoon than read AAS comments that have anything to do with bicycle issues.    I would be beyond discouraged!  Just talking to the people I know - the ones who know I commute by bike - is discouraging enough.

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#7 2016-04-02 19:44:12

Donald Lewis
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Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 172

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

RedFalcon wrote:

I think I would rather take out my own kidneys with a spoon than read AAS comments that have anything to do with bicycle issues.    I would be beyond discouraged!  Just talking to the people I know - the ones who know I commute by bike - is discouraging enough.

I hear you brother!  And how many times have you heard we might be worthy of respect if we were made to buy license plates for our bikes?

Don in Austin

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#8 2016-04-03 11:52:08

ggw4
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Registered: 2016-04-03
Posts: 1

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

RedFalcon wrote:

I think I would rather take out my own kidneys with a spoon than read AAS comments that have anything to do with bicycle issues.    I would be beyond discouraged!  Just talking to the people I know - the ones who know I commute by bike - is discouraging enough.

Difficult subject to discuss. I commute to work on a "situp" recumbent 9 1/4 miles to work. Over my many years (1st commute in 1974 of this length) with long spans of no commuting + long spans of only commuting. I've never been struck. Close calls, yes.

Should I count my blessings and quit? Michael is good at helping us with "danger" per commuting mile from which we can compare to other modes of getting to work. I can't separate out the juggling of physical health, mental health, effects on society, financial impact, environmental impact so that I can make something other than a "feeling" decision.

Do we wait until "google" cars squeeze out congested driving of those who do use that mode of transportation? "Manual" drivers then having to show they are competant drivers? Then will the danger shrink enough so we don't have these conversations?

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#9 2016-04-10 18:26:58

RedFalcon
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Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 127

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

ggw4 wrote:

I can't separate out the juggling of physical health, mental health, effects on society, financial impact, environmental impact so that I can make something other than a "feeling" decision.

Yeah, it is not a simple issue.  Like you I ride for a bunch of reasons.  I started 9 years ago just as a way to train for a century ride.  Over time other reasons became important.  I love the fact that at 53 I am in really great shape physically.   Riding / running to work everyday has helped with that.  Last year I did the 100 mile Shiner GASP in 6 hours even!  I never even trained, other than commute, and at the end of the ride I felt great.   The savings from not having a car are HUGE!  I sock away an extra couple $100 a month towards retirement this way.   And, I like doing something real to help the environment.  I realize that just taking one car off the road is not going to stop glaciers from melting, but I hope that my example can inspire others to do something useful.

I'm just super careful when I talk to prospective cycle commuters.  At this point I spend more time promoting backyard chickens than cycle commuting.

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#10 2016-04-18 10:00:50

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 993
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Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

RedFalcon, you're singing my song.  I did a 100-mile ride without training other than commute, saved a bundle by not having a car for decades, and was motivated by the idea that my example was more important than the individual pollution and energy reduction I personally effected.

Anyway, Elizabeth's GoFundMe page is posting updates, including a video of Elizabeth taking steps with a walker.  She's apparently lost one of her legs.  https://www.gofundme.com/bethenglish?viewupdates=1

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#11 2016-07-11 17:26:28

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 993
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Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

The Chronicle just posted an article about English and her recovery.  There's also a plea for financial assistance -- insurance covered only a portion.

I haven't biked in weeks, and almost biked to the bank today, but I thought about English's case, and thought, if I get killed, my wife doesn't have all the logins to my business accounts, and a new bank account.  So I didn't bike.  And that was before I saw the Chronicle article.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/201 … seen-cost/

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#12 2016-09-10 18:58:43

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 993
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Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

There's a benefit tonight for Elizabeth English.  I would have posted earlier, but I just now saw it.  As always, I implore readers to share events here that they know about.  Surely somebody heard of this event before me.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/201 … -saturday/

In an ironic twist, English was hit by a drunk driver, and the benefit is at Austin Beerworks.  A donation gets you three drinks.

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#13 2017-03-16 12:24:23

owlman
Member
Registered: 2011-12-16
Posts: 102

Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

A year later and the case is still in pretrial hearings. Looks like the charge has been upgraded to a second-degree felony:

AVILA, ARTEMIO GOMEZ MARTINEZ, FERNANDO D-1-DC-16-202090 4/5/17 9:00 AM 403 2 PTR AGG ASSAULT W/DEADLY WEAPON

https://publiccourts.co.travis.tx.us/dsa/#/

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#14 2017-03-16 14:19:02

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 993
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Re: Hit & run truck drags cyclist Elizabeth English for 1/2mi, 3/29/16

That's unusual.  Charges more frequently get downgraded.

After nearly 30 years without a car with a bicycle as my sole means of transport, this case was the one that got me to stop biking at night.

English received some kind of recognition in the Chronicle's "Best of" issue, I think it was Best Comeback or something.

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