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Community rallies after hit-and-run leaves man with severe facial injuries

Posted by on December 3rd, 2015 at 3:04 pm

craven

Fundraising has begun for Erik Craven.

It happened at SE 59th and Powell this past Sunday night at around 11:30 pm. 45-year-old southeast Portland resident Erik Craven was biking home from work when he was hit by a car. The person driving did not stop and has still not been found.

The driver left Erik lying on the street with severe injuries. With no one around to help and with critical injuries to his face, he dialed 911 himself. “He couldn’t even see his phone through the blood,” his friend Tanyastar Kim shared with us via email today.

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59th and Powell (aka State Hwy 26).

The force of the collision, says Tanyastar, “basically broke his face.” Erik has a broken nose, broken upper and lower jaws, mulitple facial fractures (including his eye sockets and forehead) and “lots of stitches.” “He is stable,” she continued via email a few minutes ago, “but it’s not looking good.” Fortunately Erik’s parents are by his side. Unfortunately, Erik does not have health insurance.

Erik is currently at OHSU where he’s scheduled to have lengthy reconstructive surgery on his face at 3:00 pm.

Today Erik’s friends and family are rallying by his side. They are trying to support him as he recovers, raise money for what will be astronomical hospital bills, and find the person who was driving the car.

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While Erik heals, his friends are hanging flyers in the immediate neighborhood in hopes that someone witnessed the collision and can help them figure out what happened. Since no one called the police at the time of the collision (EMTs didn’t call police because they assumed he fell on his own), a report wasn’t made until today. This means the trail on the suspect is likely very cold by this point. We’ve contacted the police and will update this story when we hear any new information. Friends also say they’re in touch with nearby businesses in hopes a security camera has useful footage.

A Gofundme campaign has been started and has raised just over $2,000 toward a $50,000 funding goal.

This is a horribly sad scenario that we’re sorry to have had to cover way too many times over the years.

“Erik is a dear friend,” Tanyastar shared with us today, “whose humor and mischief has brightened many lives and contributed to sore belly laugh muscles on many occasions.”

There are already talks of a benefit event. Stay tuned as we’ll update this post with more information.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

68 Comments
  • Avatar
    soren December 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I’m so sorry this happened. My best wishes for recovery to Erik, his friends and family.

    It’s @#$%ing outrageous how common hit and runs have become. We need much stronger laws that discourage (impaired) drivers from fleeing.

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    Mike Quiglery December 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Eleven thirty PM on a Sunday night. Who’s out at eleven thirty PM on a Sunday night? Drunks, junkies and people going to and from work. If you’re one of the latter you must be super extra careful to the point of paranoia.

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      longgone December 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Mike… You are a funny, funny man. Yet I ain’t laughin’. How’s that ?

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      Matt piekutowski December 4, 2015 at 12:09 am

      plenty of good people are out at any time of any day, no need for your un educated assumptions.

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    Dave December 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve said it before–legalize auto theft and vandalism until the city has a full calendar year with no hit and runs. Don’t protect the property of terrorists.

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      Ian December 3, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      This is one of the most asinine comments I’ve seen here in a while, and that’s saying something.

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        Buzz December 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

        Along with Mike Q’s comment directly above…

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      B. Carfree December 3, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Ha ha. I was sure I was the only person into such guilt by association thoughts. About twenty years ago when my workplace in Sacramento was hit numerous times by a group of twelve-year-old car thieves and vandals, I suggested that the city should pay such kids to steal cars in order to reduce the number of scofflaw motorists on the road. My colleagues were not amused, but since my fifty mile round trip commute was the furthest and I wasn’t driving, they could hardly argue that they NEEDED to use a car to get to work.

      Anyway, as I’ve gotten older and mellower, I would now settle for closing any roadway to motor vehicles for a year when there is a crash involving a motorist and for five years if it is a hit and run. In our current climate, that would give us a car-free city within months. 🙁

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      TTFN December 4, 2015 at 9:43 am

      A more useful solution would be to track motor vehicle users using existing technology.. Drivers license with id chip identifying user plus fingerprint authentication required to start the car, fore and aft cameras running required to put it into gear.

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    Robert Burchett December 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    So, 911 has a report of a seriously injured person, perhaps lying in a major street, and police do not respond? They are brought up to speed the next day, clearly it’s a hit-and-run, but it’s left to friends to look for video? Incredible.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      I just heard from Tanyastar that EMTs assumed he fell on his own, so they didn’t call police.

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        John Lascurettes December 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm

        Just. Wow.

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        Tony H December 3, 2015 at 7:07 pm

        There’s a lawsuit.

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        mh December 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm

        They didn’t even ASK?

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          bjorn December 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          Considering how severe his facial injuries were he may not have been able to communicate very well due to a combination of shock and a broken jaw.

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            Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 4, 2015 at 9:47 am

            bjorn is right. His friend relayed to me that he had to “hold his forehead together” while calling 911. Horrific. I have an image of his face from the hospital but it’s too graphic to share.

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          eddie December 4, 2015 at 9:02 am

          They might have been more concerned with saving his life.

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        Chris December 4, 2015 at 8:59 am

        Same thing happened to me in 2014 with the Portland Fire Department. They failed to call police. It ruined any chance of finding the assailant and of using my car insurance for medical bills and bicycle damage. The fire department is NOT on the side of vulnerable road users.

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          El Biciclero December 7, 2015 at 11:14 am

          “The fire department is NOT on the side of vulnerable road users.”

          Well, that might be a little bit harsh. It’s not as though the victim told them it was a hit and run and they refused to call police. I’m sure the first priority of EMT personnel is to discover and treat injuries of the victim(s), not worry about whose fault the injuries might have been. If anything, there may be a policy gap in some emergency services organizations that could be addressed through training on when police should be called. Fire and EMT personnel can’t really be expected to be crash investigators, but perhaps some instruction and policy on when police need to be notified could help avoid situations where a perpetrator has fled the scene.

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        Alan 1.0 December 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

        …EMTs assumed he fell on his own, so they didn’t call police.

        What is the policy for EMTs (I guess that’s AMR? Or was it PF&R?) to notify police when they arrive at a single motor vehicle injury scene like, say, a car hitting a tree or in the ditch?

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        Ricky December 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm

        Who the hell can crash a bicycle hard enough on their own to break their face all to $#!* that bad? come on.

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          Mike December 7, 2015 at 8:32 am

          I can. Pavement is hard, much harder than my face.

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          El Biciclero December 7, 2015 at 11:17 am

          It’s not that hard to do in the right circumstances. I kinda wish I’d had a full-face helmet the last time I hit a slick spot on a corner.

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    B. Carfree December 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I keep seeing reports like this where presumably low-income people are seriously injured and don’t have health insurance. Maybe I’m totally out of touch, but is the cost of insurance with the subsidy still so high that people think this is a worthwhile gamble, or is the problem that people don’t know what’s available and find the process impenetrable?

    On the less dark side (no bright sides to this event), he can still sign up for coverage that starts 1/1/16 and get the remaining work done under his new policy.

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      J_R December 3, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      I just ran some scenarios on Healthcare Marketplace. {That’s where I’m getting mine.]

      The low end healthcare plans for a 45 year old single male are about $230 per month before subsidies. If that person’s income is $24,000 per year, the tax credit is $163 per month; with an income of $30,000 per year, the tax credit is $85.

      Insurance still costs real money, but the tax credit really does help. If anyone else who is reading this doesn’t have health insurance, I urge you to do some checking. It might not be as costly as you think.

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        Beth December 3, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        First, you have to make 24k a year. There are folks living in Portland scraping by on far less. If you fall in the cracks — earning enough to rent a place but not enough to pay the premiums, even with a tax credit. It’s no wonder many low-income Oegonians chose to pay the penalty.

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          J_R December 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm

          Beth: Where do you get the information that “you have to make 24k a year”?

          I ran another scenario. If a single 45-year old makes less than $18,000 his tax credit is $230 so he pays $0 for a Bronze health insurance plan. That’s better than paying a penalty isn’t it?

          I’d much rather have a single-payer system as in Scandinavian countries, but the ACA is a whole lot better than nothing.

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            Eric Leifsdad December 3, 2015 at 11:32 pm

            Some countries have socialized medicine, we have socialized gasoline.

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            Robert Burchett December 4, 2015 at 7:20 am

            Beth means, you have to have financial resources that allow you to front the $230/month and wait a year for the credit to show up. Also you have to actually be filing an income tax return.

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              J_R December 4, 2015 at 8:07 am

              No, Robert. That’s not the way it works. Believe me; I’ve purchased health insurance for two years through Cover Oregon and the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you apply for and purchase the insurance through the Marketplace your premiums are actually reduced IN ADVANCE. It is NOT a reimbursement system.

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                meh December 4, 2015 at 9:26 am

                Even if you are completely subsidized for the monthly costs, there is still the $5000 deductible, after which you are still on the hook for other costs throughout the year which will add up to $6350 out of pocket.

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                alankessler December 4, 2015 at 10:20 am

                It’s much easier to crowdfund a 4-digit number of dollars than a 6-digit one.

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                J_R December 4, 2015 at 10:44 am

                And if you don’t have insurance what will your out of pocket expenses be?

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          9watts December 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm

          Oregon Health Plan. That is what my family is (now) on and we love it. Includes dental, and zero out of pocket costs. We had no health insurance for the prior ten years.

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            soren December 4, 2015 at 8:06 am

            I believe there is still a massive waiting list and families are given priority over single people.

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          B. Carfree December 4, 2015 at 10:07 am

          That looks like a bit of misinformation. If one’s income falls below the level that would get one subsidies, then in states that accepted the Medicaid expansion (Oregon is one), one gets Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan here) for, I believe, no cost.

          Another golden nugget in the ACA is that if you are getting subsidies and you take a Silver plan, then both the deductible and the maximum out of pocket are reduced, often quite dramatically. The only way to see this is to fill in the numbers on Healthcare.gov and look at the plans that show up.

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      JF December 4, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Could not agree more. I have never not had health insurance of some kind, even when I was very poor. At a minimum, I have at least had a “hit by a bus” policy that would cover these kinds of traumatic injury expenses, if not preventative health care. And that was in the days before health care was affordable. Sure, sometimes it meant I did not have a ton of money left over for beer, coffee, going out, etc. But at least I knew I would not be a burden on friends and family if I got, well, hit by a bus.

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    Kristi Finney Dunn December 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Another sickening story. I just feel so angry every time I hear of a new one. My heart goes out to his family and friends and I hope they get answers and some justice.

    His fundraiser is now $3295, so another $1000 in just a few hours. I hope everyone who reads this will share the page to their other social media outlets.

    Now that it’s known to be a hit and run, are other media sharing the story? Somebody somewhere knows something.

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    Beeblebrox December 3, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I hate most of the intersections in that section of Powell. There’s no median refuge because of those left-turn lanes, multiple lanes to cross in either direction, poor lighting, and the whole design makes it feel like a speedway for people driving.

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      Spiffy December 4, 2015 at 7:44 am

      that’s what happens when you start turning a neighborhood street into a freeway and then stop part-way through…

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      eddie December 4, 2015 at 8:49 am

      it is also a major source of crime. I lived on 13th and Powell for a while and it was sketchy… I completely avoid the street by bike. If feels like suicide even in the best of circumstances.

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    bjorn December 3, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    There is only one reason to run and that is that you are doing something illegal, usually DUII. We need to increase the penalty for leaving someone to die in the street to the point that people recognize that the risk of not stopping to help is greater than the reality of staying at the scene.

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      J_R December 3, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      DUII is one reason. DUII and no insurance is another. Outstanding warrants is yet another. But, yes, we need to have stricter penalties for all of the above.

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        bjorn December 3, 2015 at 10:34 pm

        and unfortunately even if you get caught as long as you sober up first the current system often rewards running. It has to change. The minimum penalty for leaving someone to die in the street should be the same as killing someone when drinking and driving, thus eliminating the incentive to take off.

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          Mark December 4, 2015 at 8:27 am

          The penalty for hit-and-run needs to be far worse than for DUI, so that even a drunk fool can reason it out.

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            eddie December 4, 2015 at 8:41 am

            How in the world is a more severe penalty going to decrease hit and runs? Anyone who commits a hit and run that could cause injury is such a complete scumbag they’re going to take off no matter what the repercussions. And, honestly, if the law is more severe it might actually encourage people to take off because they’d be scared of the more severe consequences!

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              Ian December 4, 2015 at 9:37 am

              It’s not a “hit-and-run” until the driver takes off after the crash, so it seems a little circular to say that somebody involved in a hit-and-run is a scumbag who was going to drive off anyway. In any case, I think the argument is that, since the penalty for a DUI is presently higher than the penalty for being identified as the driver in a hit-and-run after you’ve had time to sober up, the present law basically incentivizes drunk drivers to flee the scene of a crash. On the other hand, if the penalty for being identified as the driver in a hit-and-run were considerably higher than the penalty for driving drunk (which, of course, should be pretty high too), that might incentivize the driver to stay at the scene (such that it’s not a hit-and-run).

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        B. Carfree December 4, 2015 at 10:15 am

        My mail carrier got hit by a hit and run drunk. When they caught the drunk (easy since she had a boyfriend on my carrier’s route) it was four hours later and she still blew .13. This was her fourth DUII. In Oregon, the first one doesn’t count. In this drunk’s case, the second one didn’t count for sentencing because it was over a decade old. The final sentence for hit and run drunk driving on a suspended license was…60 days in county jail (work crew, most likely) and two years probation. She also lost her license, as if that has any meaning.

        Our penalties for DUII just train these scum bags to continue driving drunk, and when they hit someone they have no disincentive to not flee. We need to put the hammer down early and often. We need a “cannot drive or own a car” list that penalizes any seller, renter or lender of cars who supplies such people with weapons.

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          El Biciclero December 7, 2015 at 11:26 am

          “We need a ‘cannot drive or own a car’ list that penalizes any seller, renter or lender of cars who supplies such people with weapons.”

          Exactly. The penalty for driving a car while on the “do not drive” list needs to first be loss of the car. Not impound, just straight-up seizure and scrapping or sale at auction (after, of course, determination that the car was not stolen). Then we can discuss penalties for the driver and “supplier” of the car. I don’t know what the penalty for “felon in possession of a firearm” is, and I know some people don’t like the gun analogy, but the penalty for “revoked driver in possession of a car” needs to be the same or equivalent, with respect to what happens to the “weapon”.

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    Endo December 3, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Cars are the most efficient murder machines on the planet. I’d rather people put the effort into making cars illegal rather than guns. We’d have much happier, healthier lives if that were to happen.

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      Jd December 4, 2015 at 1:21 am

      I disagree that we should ignore gun violence, since you’ve somehow made this about that. With suicides, guns do a similar amount of damage to cars. But I would like it to be way easier to lose your right to use either, and it should be a felony and prison if one does so anyway.

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      El Biciclero December 4, 2015 at 8:14 am

      “We should never think that this is just something that just happens in the ordinary course of events because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries.”

      President Barack Obama on mass shootings after the incident in San Bernardino.

      Why can’t we have the same attitude about “car violence”?

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        eddie December 4, 2015 at 8:46 am

        The sad thing is, there’s very little legislation limiting ownership of guns or vehicles, and very little actually protecting people from either. 50,000 a year killed by cars, 12,000 by firearms and very little change over the years. And no real political will to do much on either front.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein December 3, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    ODOT needs to be held accountable for this. If Powell wasn’t designed to move cars as fast as possible, perhaps Mr. Craven’s injuries would have been far less severe.

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    wsherrett December 3, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I don’t want to trivialize this, but that stretch of Powell is sidewalk-only for me, even with light traffic and perfect visibility. A 35 mph 4-lane state highway with no bike lanes isn’t a good route home at night. Unless he was hit from a side street, and the guy was speeding and/or blowing the stop sign, I would have to think that the dirtbag that hit him could have stopped and done the due diligence and faced little or no penalties – if, of course, he wasn’t impaired. But it looks like he was.

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    Jd December 4, 2015 at 1:13 am

    That’s my neighborhood. Was the driver on Powell or on those weird parking lot frontage roads? I’m curious how likely it is that the damaged car is a few blocks from my house.

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    not that Mark December 4, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Since all the damage was to the facial area, it sounds like a side mirror or something sticking out from a vehicle. Maybe it was a vehicle turning.

    I have a hard tome believing the EMTs would think he fell if a damaged bike was nearby. Some information must be missing.

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    eddie December 4, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Powell is scary. And my European friends were shocked to learn that people had to have a fund raiser to cover this guy’s medical bills… it’s horrible. I thought one could get OHP coverage retroactively? Nope?

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    estherc December 4, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Hopefully the hospital will hope him sign up for medicaid because he will probably be eligible since he will be sadly out of work. That will at least provide some relief from medical bills.

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      estherc December 4, 2015 at 10:32 am

      help him sign up, not hope

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    Burk December 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Oh man, this sucks! Sending positive vibes to Eric, get better man!

    This is the second Go Fund me I’ve seen for someone without medical insurance that has suffered a sudden and very expensive medical emergency in a week. I would love it if Bikeportland did an article on how folks can get insurance. As vulnerable road users it is incredibly important to have some kind of coverage, even just a catastrophic policy could make the difference between hitting up families and friends vs years of crushing debt.

    Another thing, and I’m just spit balling here. Would it be possible to set up a “if you’re drunk you ride for free” kind of thing on Uber? I would happily kick in some dough for something like that or maybe Uber could start it’s own program? I think it would be a good PR move if nothing else. The holidays are coming up…

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley December 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I contributed my mite. I’m grateful to have a mite to contribute. I can’t imagine what Erik will be going through in the coming days, but I wish him well with all my heart.

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    SEer December 4, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Someone on our neighborhood nextdoor.com posted that “There is a silver Mazda with a shattered windshield thats been abandoned at 68th and powell since about that time”. Can police look into this ASAP?!

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    Pat Franz December 4, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    How about a “Hit and Run Victims Fund” replenished by stiff penalties on hit and run perpetrators and drunk drivers?

    Yes, scammers might try to make claims, but really, no one should have to crowdfund to help pay for reconstructive surgery when society has failed them.

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