Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Hit and Run Badly Injures a SLC Bicyclist

[Urban Scare] Edith (Dede) Welker came home from the hospital yesterday. The 22-year-old is nursing a badly fractured jaw, which is wired shut. Two of her teeth have been knocked out; others are broken. She is bruised and scratched and a gash in her chin took several stitches. Welker's jaw will be wired for at least four weeks.

A vehicle that witnesses describe as a white van with a red stripe plowed into Welker as she rode her bicycle home from work at the 9th and 9th Coffee Garden. It was about 11 p.m. The van was on westbound 300 South, turning right (north) onto 500 East. Welker was also traveling west. The driver slammed into her while turning right. Witnesses told Salt Lake City police she flew up over the hood, then fell to the ground. The driver, who witnesses say was moving at a high rate of speed, did not slow down. Instead, the driver sped away, leaving Welker dazed and bleeding on the side of the road.

Witnesses immediately called 911 and got emergency help. But this story gets even more egregious. The van driver took off with Welker's backpack, containing a wallet with her I.D., credit cards, her tips from four shifts at the Coffee Garden, her cell phone and several checks from donors who are supporting Welker in a charitable trip to Madagascar. Her plans were to leave later this summer after raising $4,000 for the NGO, Azafady. Welker graduated in May from the University of Utah with a degree in environmental studies. She's keenly interested in projects of sustainability and in working with developing nations.

"I think this means I will not be able to make it to Madagascar this July," Welker wrote in describing the accident to her financial backers on her Web site. "I am currently considering pushing my departure back a couple weeks if I am able to heal quickly, or perhaps jumping on the next pioneer scheme, if there's room. After 4 months of fundraising, and thanks to all your
generosity, I have nearly all the funds raised for Azafady and my personal expenses, and this is everything I want to do with my life right now. Patience is my plan, and I also plan to leave those moneys alone completely."

Jenny Harmon, is Welker's 29-year-old sister. She was speaking for her today, as talking is still difficult. Police are investigating, Harmon says, and have taken Welker's mashed road bike into evidence. Witnesses got no license plate number or any other description of the van.

"She's just feeling everything out right now," Harmon says. "She doesn't remember much. She doesn't remember going over the top of the van. She's in pain and sifting through a lot of emotions right now."

Welker uses her bike and public transportation as her sole means of getting around. She was not wearing a helmet--something her sister suspects will change should she eventually get back on a bike.

Anyone who sees the van--white with a red stripe and likely carrying front-end damage on the right side, is urged to get the license plate number and call Salt Lake City police at 799-3000.

(Holly Mullen)

11 comments:

  1. Another piece of human refuse display's their inner qualities.

    Best wishes Miss Walker. Heal quickly.

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  2. Apologies. Best wishes Miss Welker. The least I could do is get your name right. Right?

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  3. best wishes and get well soon. I hope the trip is still able to work out, it sounds really great!

    Bikers unite against this kind of treatment.

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  4. "Bikers unite against this kind of treatment."

    What the hell does that mean exactly? She wasn't wearing a helmet. Shouldn't you say,"Helmet-less bikers unite against safety?"

    I'll donate money to her cause in Madagascar, but I won't encourage any lifeless marketing phrases about "bikers uniting." How do you unite against a hit-and-run criminal?

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  5. helmet-wearing cyclistJune 11, 2008 at 1:27 PM

    Hey Black Mamba:

    So Ms. Welker wasn't wearing a helmet. Yep, she most certainly should have been. But seriously. For a driver to hit her, most certainly accidentally, and then to simply drive off? With her backpack flapping on the vehicle as it sped away?

    Seriously, sir. Who is worth rallying behind here? Who broke the law and who is human scum for not stopping to render aid and take whatever legal lumps come his/her way?

    Seriously.

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  6. BM said "How do you unite against a hit-and-run criminal?"

    That's probably the same attitude that the hit and run driver his/herself had at the time "There's nothing anyone can do about this, so away I go, exit stage left!"

    Maybe they can expand the movement to "Bikers unite against stupidity." That hit-and-runs are covered, as well as attitudes like that of BM. It's win-win.

    Heal quickly Ms. Welker, and have faith that humanity still has more Heroes than Villains.

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  7. A tragedy. But how did the van take off without slowing down and still steal her backpack, wallet and tips?

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  8. BM, how wonderfully shitty and predictable. I'm always getting on my friends' cases about sucking it up and wearing a helmet. How, though, exactly, does a helmet circumvent a hit-and-run. DeDe didn't crush her head. She broke her jaw. Helmets don't protect against that type of injury. Seems like you're just arguing for argument's sake. Pathetic.

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  9. I hope you feel better soon Deedee. I'm so sorry that happened.

    Hang in there and stay positive. Life gives us challenges - but it's those experiences that make us stronger in the end.

    Can't wait to hear about your upcoming trip!

    Stephanie

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  10. For Black Mamba, here is how "bikers unite":

    Just keep on riding. Do it legally--follow all laws as they apply to motor vehicles. Stay off the sidewalk unless it's the only possible route. Be visible. Wear a helmet. Don't be a jerk by running red lights and stop signs. With fuel prices climbing, we'll be uniting simply because there will be so many of us. Unless you've been in a coma the past few months you've already seen bicyclists' numbers swell.And it's just going to get bigger.

    As an avid bike rider, I can honestly say many drivers are beginning to see us and are willing to share.

    Meanwhile, don't give up the road to lawbreakers like the one who hit DeDe. Just keep riding.

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