By Allen Cowgill
On July 15, Dana Fells was riding her bike to work at StrechLab on 38th Avenue and Lipan Street. But she didn’t show up to work on time that day.
Fells was biking down the new West 41st Avenue neighborhood bikeway when a driver headed north on Irving Street ran a stop sign and hit her. Her coworker, Emily Kennel, said she was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery due to internal bleeding. Kennel said that Fells has since been moved out of the ICU, and had three surgeries.
“It’s just scary, things like that can happen to anybody. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, how much you stretch or how much you can lift,” Kennel said. “It doesn’t matter your condition, anybody can be hit by a car. It’s just kind of scary knowing someone so personally that it happens to.”
Kennel started a GoFundMe for Fells, who had just moved to Denver a couple of months ago from California. As a close friend, Kennel said she started the GoFundMe to help out Fells with the massive medical expenses as well as loss of income from not being able to work.
“It’s hard to see a friend going through this,” she said. “The physical burden is so high, and the financial burden I know would just put her in debt for the rest of her life.”
Kennel said that Fells doesn’t drive, and when she first moved to Denver she was walking to work every day, and it would take her a long time.
“She just got this bike and she has been super excited about it,” Kennel said. “It is her primary form of transportation. She is someone that lives pretty minimally and doesn’t contribute to our climate crisis going on.”
Denver Police Department Public Information Technician Jay Casillas said that the driver of the vehicle was issued a citation for careless driving as well as driving without a valid license and driving under restraint. Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo said that homeowners are responsible for keeping traffic signs on their property visible for drivers by trimming back trees and bushes.
“Per municipal code 57-21, property owners must maintain trees and other vegetation on the public right of way adjacent to their property, which includes making sure traffic signs are visible,” she stated. Lacayo said any resident can report obstructed signs by calling 311. Anyone wishing to donate to the GoFundMe named “Dana’s Road to Recovery After Tragic Accident” can do so at gofund.me/3e57aa15.
Allen Cowgill is the City Council District 1 appointee to the DOTI Advisory Board where he serves as the Board Secretary.