AVONDALE — Police are looking for the driver who hit and seriously injured 31-year-old bicyclist Alex Betzel in Avondale last week.
As the investigation continues, and as Betzel undergoes surgery from her extensive injuries, Betzel’s girlfriend and family members have launched an online fundraiser to help Betzel pay for costly medical bills. The fundraiser had raised $715 as of Tuesday morning.
“Her road to recovery is a bit unknown right now. It’s a road we know she can walk but it will be long with many twists and turns,” Betzel’s girlfriend, Megan Brennan, wrote.
The near-fatal hit-and-run happened about 2:20 p.m. Feb. 10 in the 3500 block of North Kimball Avenue. Betzel was riding to Home Depot to run a “quick errand” when a driver in a dark-colored car hit her while trying to turn right onto Addison Street, police and family said. The driver then ran over Betzel and took off, police said.
Betzel was rushed to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where she was put in medically-induced coma due to the extent of her injuries. She suffered from a collapsed lung, nine broken ribs, a broken cheek bone, among other injuries, according to the fundraiser.
Using surveillance footage, police determined the driver was in a dark gray or black 2013-2017 Buick Enclave. Police released a photo of the car Monday in hopes the public will help detectives find the driver.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the driver is urged to call detectives at 312-745-4521 or submit a tip anonymously via cpdtip.com. The case number is JD366074.
Betzel’s family is also begging anyone with information to come forward. The hit-and-run disrupted Betzel’s life and caused her extreme physical and emotional harm, her family members said.
“Due to the accident, Alex will have lost wages, large medical bills, and many doctors appointments in her near and far future, making this an urgent matter,” Brennan said in the fundraiser.
“Any money collected will go towards her medical bills, legal fees, rent, helping to take care of her dog, Grover, her family’s rideshares and gas to and from the hospital, and all encompassing rehabilitation as we learn more about what that will look like.”
Betzel is an avid bicyclist who has lived in Chicago for years. She works as a fundraiser for WTTW. In her free time, she sews garments for friends and family members and takes care of her pitbull Grover, who she owns with Brennan.
“She is a loyal and caring friend and partner, and for this to happen to any person, it most certainly didn’t need to fall on this amazing woman and her family,” Brennan said.
Betzel’s family and Brennan said they were reluctant to launch an online fundraiser at first, but ultimately decided they needed help.
“It is beyond frustrating that a young, healthy woman with health coverage will be indebted for a crash that she was completely innocent in,” Brennan said.
“Without knowing who the driver was and without this country providing a safety net for these kinds of crashes, nor universal health coverage nor fully-covered short term disability, everything that comes with this life-altering accident falls on Alex and her family. We hope that someday Americans won’t have to turn to their family, loved ones or strangers to help cover the costs of a terrible accident, but until we get working on policy that will protect and provide for all people living in this country, please give what you can.”
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