By Colin Stutz, Los Feliz Ledger Contributing WriterGRIFFITH PARK—The 36-year-old bicyclist who was victim to a hit and run that dragged him 600 feet down the Interstate 5 onramp near the Los Angeles Zoo in February, Damian Kevitt, may lose both his legs but will survive the brutal incident.
Meanwhile, his accident has sparked increased awareness of bicycle and pedestrian safety in the region, and may help lead to stricter hit-and-run legislation statewide...
...Kevitt was wearing a helmet but broke 20 bones and crushed his right leg, which was later amputated below the knee. His left foot is missing skin and tissue and may also need to be amputated. His road rash was so extreme, his left elbow was exposed to the bone and his buttocks will require skin grafts.
He has now been released from the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge (CD4) announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction the driver. So far it has yielded no successful results. The van was also identified to have a “for sale” sign in the window.
“A car shouldn’t be a weapon. Let’s do our part to end this kind of violent crime,” LaBonge said in a statement...
...To address the issue, a month before Kevitt was hit, California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced a bill that will extend the statute of limitations for such offenses to three years from the date of the offense, or one year after a possible suspect is identified by law enforcement, whichever is later. Under current law if a motorist is not identified within three years, he cannot be prosecuted.
“Damien Kevitt is just one of thousands hit-and-run victims who suffer life-threatening injuries annually,” said Gatto in a statement. “Allowing the perpetrators to avoid prosecution just adds insult to these injuries.”
Added Eric Bruins, Planning & Policy Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, “It’s hard for us to encourage people to bike and walk, when our streets are treated like the Wild West.”
An online fundraising account has been setup to help Kevitt handle his medical fees: www.gofundme.com/26nbpc
You can read this article and more at the Los Feliz Ledger HEREMike Gatto is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood. www.asm.ca.gov/gatto