Amazingly, Dustin Valenta, doored then run over by a driver who fled the scene on February 8, resulting in a cracked skull and vertebrae, broken shoulder blades and pelvis, 23 fractured ribs and a punctured lung, is giving interviews and even walking a bit. Valenta, 27, a delivery biker with Cut Cats Courier, yoga teacher and actor, was commuting north on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park when a motorist opened her door in his path in front of Artemio’s Bakery, 1443 North Milwaukee. Valenta was thrown off his bike into the street, then struck by the second vehicle.
Cut Cats coworker Mikey Bargo reports that Valenta, still at Northwestern Memorial Hospital but released from the ICU this morning, is currently in good spirits, standing on his own and walking a few steps with the help of body braces. He may need surgery to prevent a limp in the future. Fox Chicago interviewed Valenta about his ordeal last night and he seemed remarkably lucid. DNAinfo.com Chicago also ran an article about the case.
Valenta’s family has enlisted the aid of Keating Law Offices to try to recover damages to help cover his steep medical bills, since he is uninsured. The driver who doored him has been identified but the second motorist is still at large. Attorney Michael Keating, who specializes in bike cases, has recovered a security video from a nearby Citibank which shows grainy footage of a white pickup truck with a cab running over the prone bicyclist. The firm has posted flyers near the crash site seeking witnesses to the collision.
Valenta’s friends also have set up fundraising sites at Go Fund Me and Give Forward and have raised a total of over $16,000 so far. Tiny Fix Bike Gang is holding a benefit bake sale this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bike Lane bike shop, 2130 North Milwaukee. On Monday there will be another benefit at Bangers & Lace tavern from 2 p.m. until closing, featuring a raffle at 9 p.m. for prizes donated by messenger bag and beverage companies.