What’s Just? A Cyclist’s Dilemma After Being Injured by an Undocumented Driver

Kristen Green brings a ghost bike to the corner of Addison and Damen, where health coach Anastasia Kondrasheva, 23, was fatally struck on her bike by a right-turning truck driver in September 2016.
Kristen Green brings a ghost bike to the corner of Addison and Damen, where health coach Anastasia Kondrasheva, 23, was fatally struck on her bike by a right-turning truck driver in September 2016.

Update 8/14/18, 12 PM: There has been some skepticism in the comments about whether Green’s description of the crash is accurate, and whether she actually received treatment in a medical facility. Yesterday I spoke with a bartender at the bar next to the crash site where Green got first aid immediately after the collision. He repeated the same story to me without prompting. He added that a witness was about to call the police when the senior drove off, and Green told him she didn’t want to press charges. Green also provided photos of herself (TW: somewhat graphic) at the bar after the crash (background color matches the bar’s paint job) and receiving treatment at an urgent care clinic. The comments on this article were starting to get repetitive and were taking a fair amount of time to moderate, and they included a number of abusive posts, so I’ve closed the thread. 

Kristen Green is a key member of the local bike advocacy community as a leader of Ghost Bikes Chicago, arranging the installation of white-painted cycles at crash sites to honor fallen cyclists. But last month she had her own run-in with traffic violence.

On Tuesday, July 31, Green was biking home from her job a barista when an elderly female driver struck her in a Lincoln Square bike lane. (Green asked that we not publish the exact location so as to avoid incriminating the motorist.) She was pedaling north when the southbound driver executed a sudden U-turn as the light turned red and hit her. She thinks the driver’s sightlines may have been blocked by a northbound motorist who was turning left.

The cyclist hit the pavement face-first, suffering a gash in her chin that required four stitches, a black eye, and road rash. Her bike was also badly damaged.

Green, who is uninsured, launched a GoFundMe page to cover her medical expenses and lost wages. She wrote on the page that there was a young child in the back seat of the driver’s car. “Was [the drive] too distracted by the light of her… grandchild’s eyes in the back seat to see the light in front of her turn red? Was she too weathered from her 80-plus years of life to see all the beautiful bright colors I had worn that day?”

She added that her first thought after the crash was the unfairness of being injured when she had done nothing wrong. Her helmet was cracked and blood was running down her face. In a rage, she threw her helmet down on the street. “I saw red,” she wrote. “I felt dizzy. Is my bike ok? Where is this blood coming from?”

It was then that the fragile-looking senior got out of the car and dropped to her knees in front of Green. “With a shriek and tears in her eyes she began crying out in a way that will haunt me for the rest of my days,” the cyclist wrote. “Don’t deport me! My family!… Please!” the woman implored her in Spanish, holding an expired green card in her shaking hands. Bystanders were heading to the crash scene with phones out, ready to call the police.

Green reasoned that under Trump administration’s current Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdown, if the crash was reported to the authorities, it was likely the woman and her family would face immigration problems. (As a sanctuary city, Chicago generally does not turn over people who have been detained by the police for other reasons to immigration officials. However, there has been at least one case where Chicago police officers wrongly labeled an individual as a gang member following a traffic stop, which led to deportation proceedings by ICE.)

“I did what I had to… because NO person should be begging for their life and family,” Green wrote. She grabbed the woman’s hand and pulled her off the ground, spilling blood on her yellow dress, then helped her back to the wheel of her car and turned the ignition key for her. Green wrote that as the woman drove away, Green began sobbing.

“I am… diehard believer in [justice for cyclists] to the fullest extent of the law,” she wrote. But she added that she chose not to report the crash and press charges because “my silence became my only weapon against a much bigger war [over] invisible borders carried out and perpetuated by our careless world leaders.”

Since no police report means no compensation for her financial losses, she launched the GoFund me, and the local bike community has stepped up to help her, chipping in nearly $5,000 in a mere two days. She hasn’t received her medical bills yet, but she stated that she will donate any leftover funds to Chicago Family Biking, the Active Transportation Alliance, and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

It’s fortunate that Green’s injuries were relatively minor and that other cyclists came forward to help her, partly out of gratitude for all her work to support the bike community. Still, she faced a moral predicament. What’s the right thing to do if a driver injures you, and your only chance for compensation may be to turn them in, but that could result in them facing an immigration crisis under an unjust crackdown? Green chose to be compassionate.

Banner for our fundraising campaign that says Donate and help us win a $50,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust to hire a new reporter

  • johnaustingreenfield
  • johnaustingreenfield

    A bartender at a bar next to the crash site where Green got first aid repeated the same story to me without prompting. He said a witness was about to call the police when the senior drove off, and Green said she didn’t want to press charges. Green also provided a (gory) photo of herself at the bar.

  • Stvr

    Wait so this lady is still driving? What if she hurts someone?

  • p_chazz

    A true SJW dilemma…when a bicyclist is hit by a undocumented alien at the wheel of a death machine. Bursting into tears is a go to move for women who have done something wrong to gain sympathy. I’m surprised another woman fell for it.

  • At least she stopped. I was relatively uninjured in a hit and run, reported it with video, but since the driver wasn’t visible in the video, Oakland PD isn’t interested. I’ve since seen the vehicle that hit me and the guy driving it.

  • Mike D

    Lol. What a Leftist fraud. Because she hates Trump so much she excuses multiple crimes committed by someone who isnt supposed to be in the country. This illegal apparently didnt show any regard for the woman who she left bloodied on the pavement after dragging her with her car, she only cared about herself. Another ‘law abiding’ illegal (except when theyre not). Ms Green works to ensure bicyclists are safe while on the road. But if a minority makes cyclists unsafe, Ms Green tells them to just leave and commit a felony (hit and run) in the process. Leftist logic in action.

  • Mike D

    Because she hates Trump more than she cares for bicyclists safety.

  • Mike D

    Not excusing criminality is not right wing nor xenophobic. You want a ‘reasonable solution’ but that solution doesnt involve punishment for a number of crimes 1) being here illegally 2) at least a driving citation 3) driving w/o a license 4) driving w/o insurance. She has the ability under Illinois law to legally obtain a license and insurance yet she even failed to do that.

  • Mike D

    Yes, yes Ms Green, way to ignore criminality which will most likely lead to someone else been injured even worse. You are an ideal Social Justice Warrior! This lady coming here illegally, driving without a license, driving without insurance and reckless driving should be ignored because….Trump or something. Our city is experiencing thousands of murders and record gang related crime and has been run exclusively by Democrats since 1930 but its the GOPs fault and you stick it to them by giving illegals a pass on the crimes they commit. Because they will make it better. As a matter of fact, youre a white lady so you should probably leave Chicago too!

  • Cynara2

    Sorry, Kristen, but did it occur to you you were duped? The lady could be a home owning citizen at her age and just duped you out of your insurance payment. “No me comprende.” The oldest trick in the book.

  • You Know!

    Well now unexpected crash , that we can agree upon. Emotional outcry genuine and real. Nonsense! More like an encore performance.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Where are you getting the “driving without a license” or “driving without insurance” part from?

  • whorton

    Ok, but that is officially Hearsay. Here line about not wanting to disclose the location does not stand scrutiny. It should be born in mind that it is just as illegal for her to refuse to report the accident with injury as the driver.

    She says she is,
    “A die hard believer in cyclist justice to the fullest extent of the law.
    This is one of my biggest passions. ”

    But not this time.

    There is plenty of reason to question someone asking for funds without providing any more proof than this. Amazing that she is currently at $6300 for some road rash. Did she even bother with a trip to the hospital?

  • whorton

    She states:

    “I am a bicycle safety advocate, head community organizer for “ghost bikes chicago” (a comunity driven organization which installs, and maintains those white bicycles at the intersection where cyclist have been involved in a crash resulting in the loss of their lives), an “active transportation alliance ambassador”, a regular volunteer for “chicago family biking” and dare I say the obvious?? “

  • whorton

    Lets remember, Illinois has temporary drivers licenses for illegals. As it is a sanctuary city, she would not have even been asked for a green card. Only a license and insurance, which one presumes she did not have and was why she was worried No insurance usually means tickets and your car gets towed.

    I hate to rain on the parade, but she had no insurance either. There is reason to be skeptical. . .

  • whorton

    Actually the state DOES HAVE a temporary driver’s license for illegals. Being a sanctuary state, they don’t ask for a green card.

  • whorton

    Either people have to have a driver’s license and insurance if they want to drive or not.

    It’s that simple.

    As I pointed out elsewhere, the state does offer temporary licenses for illegal citizens. But they still have to provide insurance.

  • whorton

    But the point is she is soliciting for fund based on her actions. (not to report the driver) She is refusing to provide any details to substantiate the issue.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    “Did she even bother with a trip to the hospital?” Urgent care clinic — she provided (gory) photos of her visit. As stated in the article, she required stitches. The GoFundMe states that she will post copies of her bills and will donate the balance to the three organizations mentioned.

  • whorton

    More likely she did not have a drivers license or INSURANCE. She would have gotten a ticket and the car impounded, good reasons to plead for mercy.

    What is Kristen had been seriously hurt? Would she or anyone else excuse her then?

    Face it, either you have to have a license and insurance to drive a car or you don’t.

  • whorton

    And that is a good point Jake. We have no idea what sort of a record the woman had, if she had a license or insurance. Both reasons younger people run and endanger other lives to avoid jail.

  • whorton

    John, I would submit,
    Consider, Kristen’s article says the woman offers an expired green card. Not a drivers license or insurance. Being a sanctuary state, they are not going to ask for a green card, they will ask for drivers license and insurance.

    Most kids that run, do so because they have no license or insurance. If you are an 80 year old woman and you hit a person on a bicycle, that’s pretty serious. Odds are, she plays on sympathy and invokes her family and a hot button issue, being deported to change the focus.

    We will never know for sure. . .that’s for sure.

  • whorton

    Just a hypothetical. .

    If you were an 80 year old woman, and hit and injured someone on a bike, and you DON’T HAVE a DRIVER’S LICENSE OR INSURANCE, what do you do?

  • whorton

    Hey John,

    Look closely at the pictures. They were not taken in a hospital. Perhaps she did go to urgent care, but she never says clearly one way or another.

    I’m not saying she didn’t, but she seems to deliberately cloud the waters. If she posts copies of her bills, I was wrong, BUT if she did not go (I didn’t see any sign of the stitches in her 2 week post pics. . . ) and is asking for funds from the public to pay non existent bills, that is problematic. Heck, if she would even clearly state that she did go and where it would go a long way.

    As noted, my concern is that people consider the possibility. When she dismissed the woman without repercussions, she assumed responsibility for the injuries.

  • Right, but if she has a green card, she can get a normal license.

  • chainsawhandz

    If she mailed you her blood, you still wouldn’t believe it. Your “skepticism” is tedious.

  • chainsawhandz

    If the driver was as constantly reckless as you’re making her out to be, she would have already killed someone, been reported, arrested, and been thrown in jail or deported. This was likely an isolated, stupid mistake as the victim surmised.

  • Jake J. Phineas

    “a much bigger war [over] invisible borders” Yah you know what else is an invisible border? That line that demarcates a bike lane. The irony here is that cyclists stand ZERO chance in an environment not heavily regulated by law enforcement. The same lady that decided to run over a border illegally for her own personal gain later decided to pull an illegal u-turn and ran over a self-righteous bicycle safety advocate. And then has the audacity to weep crocodile tears and say “Don’t deport me!” Trust me, I’ve been hit by cars before and they all act really sorry about it when they want to get out of the consequences.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    I’m referring to photos Green sent me from the bar and the urgent care clinic, not the photo posted on her GoFundMe page.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Uh, no. A well-maintained bike lane is a *visible* border.

  • Carter O’Brien

    This would be the most ridiculous and risky scheme ever, if she was faking the injuries for financial gain. Think about it – she’s set up a public GoFundMe page, that would almost certainly be a violation of their rules, and is most likely prosecutable as fraud.

  • Jake J. Phineas

    You know what I was trying to say. In the end, this situation was handled poorly. This faux martyr stuff is really melodramatic and silly when you’re in the hospital bleeding all over. You don’t even need to call the cops if you don’t want to. Have the lady call her grandsons or daughters or whatever and bring you some money so you can cover your medical bills. Letting someone run you over and then telling them to flee like the Gestapo is hot on their tail is comical and delusional. It’s not like the old lady was running for her life. She’s probably been here for 20 years and apparently didn’t feel like doing the paper work to renew her green card. So all that happened was you enabled an irresponsible immigrant to get away with hitting a cyclist.

  • Warthog

    Funny how this person is willing to overlook her principles as long as it gives her a chance to virtue signal. Pathetic

  • ronchris

    So long as she hits a US citizen, it’s justice for all the evil that white Amerkans have committed.
    /sarcasm

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Here’s a new case where an alderman is questioning whether Chicago violated the sanctuary city ordinance: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-chicago-police-counterfeit-raid-immigration-20180813-story.html

  • Carter O’Brien

    I would like to just note that a larger underlying problem here is that Green was biking home from a job that apparently did not provide health insurance. The United States can do better than this.

  • rohmen

    That article presents a serious challenge sanctuary cities are going to face. CPD works with federal agencies on investigations, and while CPD won’t detain people or question them on status, there’s no guarantee that the federal agents involved in those raids won’t have instructions to question on status when the raids occur. It looks like the story is developing, but right now that’s what the City is saying happened.

    Trump’s policies suck, and they have implications. I agree we do everything we can within reason to mitigate the impact of those policies on people living here. That said, no system we create is perfect.

    We’re not talking about women that rolled a stop sign here or got caught speeding. We’re talking about someone that broke clear traffic laws, acted clearly recklessly, and injured a women so severely that she’s had to ask people to donate money to help her.

    My sole point is that an individual can be concerned about undocumented immigrants and want to see this City be as protective as possible, yet think this is a situation where calling the police would have been okay. While not perfect, our sanctuary laws are some of the best in the country, and are trying to compromise on the need to protect people yet not assist ICE in mass deportations. Yet people are seemingly bending over backwards to excuse the conduct at issue here, when many would be calling for penalties against a driver in this situation when citizenship wasn’t an issue. That’s a strange disconnect to me. Feel free to disagree.

  • rohmen

    Just so people understand fully what might happen in this sort of situation, your health insurance will very likely ask you if a third party injured you when you get in a serious bike accident. Green (or anyone else) then would have faced a tough choice—(1) tell the truth and state that a car hit her, and she let the driver go without involving authorities or gathering information; or (2) lie and make up a story regarding how the accident happened. Either choice could have had serious implications for coverage under health insurance, and choice 2 would have opened her up to her own potential criminal issues since lying on an insurance claim can often be a felony.

    Personally, the above, mixed with the fact that I think drivers need to be held responsible when they hurt people, is why I personally am not comfortable with not reporting to the police in this situation. The point of the welcoming ordinance is that it is suppose to make that decision to report not come with severe consequences for the undocumented person. John has illustrated the issues with the ordinance well, so let’s fix them, but cyclists feeling like they shouldn’t report is just something I can’t get behind.

    EDIT—though I agree we can do better that that, and no one should be uninsured here.

  • Jake J. Phineas

    Illinois spends about 50$ million annually on health care for illegal immigrant children.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    “The same lady that decided to run over a border illegally for her own personal gain” What are you talking about? The lady had a green card, so she apparently entered the country legally.

  • DrEvil007

    When this person kills a child will Green feel any remorse for not acting to help remove a menace from the roads?

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Delete.

    John Greenfield
    312-560-3966
    Streetsblog Chicago
    Chicago Reader The Cloud Corporation

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

100 People Honored Lisa Kuivinen at Ghost Bike Installation Ceremony

|
Nearly 100 family members, friends, and members of the cycling community turned out on Saturday to honor art student Lisa Kuivenen with a “ghost bike” installation ceremony at the site where Lisa was fatally struck last month. Ghost bikes are white-painted bicycles locked at crash sites to memorialize victims and raise awareness of the need for safer streets. […]