GRIFFITH PARK—In February 2013, 36-year-old cyclist Damian Kevitt, was hit by a minivan on Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. The result of his injuries left him without a right leg and 20 shattered bones.
After the impact, instead of stopping, the driver of the van continued toward the I-5 Freeway, dragging Kevitt’s body underneath for nearly a quarter of a mile. Kevitt was left on the onramp of the freeway, where bystanders found him and called for help. The driver got away.
Kevitt’s resilience has helped to overcome his injuries and inspired him to undertake a new life’s mission—to draw attention to what he calls a “blight on humanity,” referring to the prevalence of hit-and-runs.
On Sunday, March 15 nearly two years after his horrific accident, Kevitt ran the entirety of the 22.219 miles of the LA Marathon, amongst tens of thousands of other contestants, with the help of a $20,000 prosthetic leg he got through a grant.
Kevitt thanked everyone who supported him on Facebook and wrote, “While I overcame unbelievable barriers to finish, and the full story is almost unbelievable. More importantly the message of this feat helped to raise awareness of the importance traffic safety and help end hit and run crimes to literally millions around the world.”
“My request to everyone who supported me is to take that admiration and enthusiasm and help me make FTR 2015 on April 19th a massive success — continuing the campaign for safer streets. Share this. Spread the word,” said Kevitt.
“FTR” refers to “Finish the Ride,” which is a cycling event created by Kevitt that aims “To make the streets of Southern California safe for cyclists, pedestrians and everyone.” In April 2014, Kevitt led hundreds of cyclists in the event and raised nearly $40,000 for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with disabilities participate in sports.
Kevitt, speaking with CBS Los Angeles, discussed the death of 21-year-old Melanie Quinonez who died last week in a hit-and-run along the Pacific Coast Highway. He mentioned it evoked a “painful memory.”
While Sergeant Philip Brooks of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department told Canyon News that Pablo Carranza, the suspected killer of Melanie Quinonez, was immediately arrested, the assailant who caused Kevitt’s physical disabilities was never found, despite a $25,000 reward.