Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 2nd, 2010 at 10:36 am
(Photos: Moritz family)
This morning, 47 year old Karl Moritz clings to life in the trauma unit at OHSU after a crash Tuesday night near Ladds Circle left him with a host of very severe injuries. His family, which includes his wife Staci Moritz is not sure whether he’ll pull through.
I talked to Staci on the phone this morning. She says Karl is comatose and is not responding to commands. “Worst case scenario, they told us, is that he’ll never wake up… but that’s worst case, so we’re hoping…” Staci and Karl have three young boys ages 2, 4, and 7, who she says, “Worship their dad.”
When the Moritz’s babysitter called Staci on Tuesday to say Karl wasn’t home yet, her heart sank. “He’s been cycling for years from Beaverton at Nike to Hawthorne… He’s never late.”
Karl was riding south on Ladd Ave when he went to pass some other riders and then had a mechanical issue that caused him to lose control of his bike and veer into an oncoming car. He was found under the car and was dragged 20 feet after the collision.
The police report mentions that his bars began to wobble. One officer that investigated the crash found Karl’s chain had been broken, leading him to speculate that it might have fallen into the back wheel just prior to the crash. According to Staci, the police see this as a “no-fault” incident and simply a freak accident. The car is not suspected of speeding.
Staci says she was disturbed to read comments about the crash that alleged Karl was riding carelessly. “He has a workshop at home and maintains his bikes like they’re his babies… It was not carelessness.”
The collision left Karl with multiple skull fractures, a traumatic brian injury, a fractured jaw and a broken pelvis.
[Reporter’s note: Despite the severity of these injuries, for some reason the Police Bureau initially reported that they were not serious. I point this out because, after talking with a PPB spokesperson on the phone, that’s how I initially reported it. I later updated the story when they acknowledged the injuries were serious. However, even in a follow-up conversation, the PPB spokesperson maintained the injuries were not life-threatening.]
Staci Moritz realizes her life may never be the same. She has already left her job to be Karl’s full-time caregiver. She’s also worried that without either of their incomes, the medical bills will soon overwhelm her. When asked how the community could best support her family, Staci said the primary thing — besides positive thoughts for Karl’s recovery — is financial donations to help care for her children. Staci’s brother Jim Hart is working to set up a donation page for Karl and expects to have it online any day now.
Stay tuned for information on fundraising efforts. Stay strong Moritz family. We are all pulling for Karl.
UPDATE: Here’s how you can help the Moritz Family::
For anyone who would like to contribute, we have set up a fund to help with our children’s care while Karl (hopefully) recovers. Anyone interested in contributing can mail a check made out to “Donation Account for Karl Moritz” NOTING ACCOUNT NUMBER (in memo line) 153662964771 to:
1225 SE 39th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214