Twelve days after an Edmonton woman on a skateboard sustained critical injuries when she was hit by a vehicle that then drove away, her family and police continue to hope someone comes forward to take responsibility for what happened.
“Doing anything is better than what that person did, which is nothing,” Julia Gevenich told Global News on Tuesday.
Gevenich said the 24-year-old woman who was hit in the area of 96 Street and 115 Avenue on Aug. 31 is Alexandra Bonilla, her fiancé’s sister.
“We’re lucky to have her. It could have really went the other way,” Gevenich said, adding that Bonilla remains in the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s intensive care unit and that she has been told she will likely be in hospital until the new year at least.
“I think it’s going to be a big struggle for her for a long time. We don’t know what her mobility is going to look like and what she’s going to be able to do for work. We don’t know what it’s going to look like when she needs to learn how to walk again.”
According to Gevenich, Bonilla has had to have two surgeries to address a fractured femur and pelvis. She also had most of her ribs broken when she was hit, experienced “severe” internal bleeding, had both lungs punctured, sustained a bruised liver and pancreas, sustained a broken collarbone and had a hand broken. She also suffered road rash on much of her body.
Gevenich said on Saturday Bonilla was taken off a ventilator, something she called “a huge positive.”
“She definitely has been through the worst things and I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody,” she said, noting that when Bonilla was first physically able to speak to family members in hospital, she was the one consoling them. “There’s no words to describe how proud everybody is of her … It’s so inspiring … how upbeat she is overall and how motivated she is to get better.”
Police have said investigators believe the suspect vehicle could be a dark grey pickup truck or SUV and are pleading for anyone with image or video of what happened that night, or who may have witnessed the collision, to contact them.
At about 9 p.m. On Aug. 31, Bonilla was headed north on 96 Street and crossing 115 Avenue when she was hit by a vehicle headed east, according to police.
The vehicle reportedly continued to head east after hitting her.
Police are hoping people will submit camera footage they may have — in the area between 93 Street and 95 Street, and between 115 Avenue and 111 Avenue — between 9 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. on the night of the crash.
“I just want them to have some form of a conscience,” Gevenich said of the driver of the vehicle involved. “It’s just beyond horrific … (I want the person responsible to) just come forward and try to make something right.
“It doesn’t change her being in the ICU, but some accountability would at least give some form of closure. It’s so unfair that this person is hiding and she’s the one that is basically broken from the neck down. It’s just unbelievably infuriating and disgusting.”
Feeling helpless in the days following the hit and run, Gevenich said she started a GoFundMe account to try to help Bonilla and her family financially while they focus on her recovery.
“Considering the extent of her injuries, she’s going to need a shocking amount of rehabilitation and physiotherapy. I’m just trying to take some strain off of the family.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the account had already raised more than $13,000.
“It’s almost at the goal,” Gevenich said. “It’s just been really amazing and overwhelming and the feeling of gratitude the family has for everyone rallying for her.
“That’s a huge positive out of a horrible, horrible situation.”
Gevenich said Bonilla loves longboarding and spending time with her dog and two cats.
“She’s just so bubbly, quirky and has got the best sense of humour. She really is such a great kid,” she said. “It really means the world to have so much support.
“She has so much ahead of her.”
Gevenich said in the hospital, Bonilla told her that she wants people walking, cycling or skateboarding to always be aware of their surroundings and not allow themselves to be distracted.
“She always was extra careful and it still happened to her,” Gevenich said, adding that her future sister-in-law has also “expressed how angry she is” after learning about how the driver of the vehicle that hit her left the scene.
“She thankfully doesn’t remember the accident. I think that’s a huge blessing that she doesn’t.”
Anyone who witnessed the collision or who has surveillance or dashcam footage of what happened is asked to call the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at http://www.p3tips.com/250.