by Melanie Nathan, February, 19, 2012
Imagine waking up in hospital, after being transported by paramedics to ICU Emergency, in a metropolis such as San Francisco, unconscious, with broken bones and not a single policing authority has any record or clue what happened to you? That is what happened this weekend to Patrick Shortle and the incident occurred, of all places, on the greatly popular Golden Gate Bridge.
UPDATED PORTION of this report – 11.25 am 2/21/2012 Well it seems we may finally have the answer in this UPDATE to the below Report:
I received this e-mail today. It seems really strange that no one single authority on the San Francisco side of the Bridge could inform Mr. Whelan and Mr. Shortle that the report was taken by the Marin side, and that Marin had jurisdiction over all bike incidents even on the San Francisco side. The Shortle and his husband as well as the community would have been relieved of a great deal of concern. Here is the e-mail I just received –
I am contacting you in regards to the article that you wrote about Patrick Shortle’s
bicycle collision on the Golden Gate Bridge. The Marin Area Office of the California
Highway Patrol handles all bicycle related collisions on the walkways and bike paths
of the Golden Gate Bridge. At Mr. Shortle’s collision on February 17, there were
three CHP officers on scene, as well as numerous Fire Paramedic Personnel. A Marin
CHP Officer took a report on the collision and received a statement from Mr. Shortle
in the back of the ambulance. Mr. Shortle’s collision did not involve a vehicle and
was not a hit-and-run. An independent witness described that Mr. Shortle struck a
curb and fell from his bicycle alone, and was the only party in the collision. We
attempt to investigate every incident with the highest adherence to our policy of
safety, service, and security for the public and it is frustrating when an incident
is reported without any follow up investigation on the part of the reporter. I
appreciate your concern for Mr. Shortle’s well being and I hope that in the future
you contact the Marin CHP with any questions you might have regarding bicycle
collisions on the Golden Gate Bridge. Thank you.
According to James Whelan, his husband, Patrick Shortle, a San Francisco resident was struck by a motor vehicle on the the Golden Gate Bridge, near the gift store after completing a training session for the San Francisco to Los Angeles Fundraising AIDS ride.
The vehicle did not stop, a stranger called 911 and the unconscious and seriously injured Shortle was rushed to San Francisco General Emergency with not a single authority recording the event.
There are no reports available to Shortle’s husband and no one seems to have a clue about what happened that afternoon with not a single police officer visiting the badly injured Shortle in his hospital room.
I spoke to Whelan, who informed me that Shortle’s injuries included broken bones. He is now out of ICU and while it is believed that his injuries are not life threatening, he has been transferred to Kaiser and will remain under observation to ensure no brain damage or swelling occurs.
Whelan reports: “The Golden Gate Bridge Transportation District, The San Francisco Highway Patrol, The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, The Golden Gate Park Police (Park Presidio Division) don’t want to touch Patrick’s hit and run with a 10 foot pole.
Everyone tells me that it is not their jurisdiction. I was told at one point that there was no accident. Someone at the GG Bridge Highway Patrol told me that he remembers it happening, but he wasn’t paying attention because they were busy, so there is no record of it … he went on to say that Patrick couldn’t have been hit by a car because there would have been a record of it.”
When Whelan asked about Bridge cameras, he was told he would have to obtain a court order to view them, and the concern is they might be erased by the time that happens.
Surely someone out of the named authorities has the responsibility to investigate this incident!
In fact recently in Marin, when my friend fell down a few stairs and sprained her ankle, I called 911 for help and within three minutes firefighter- paramedics and a police officer were dispatched. Surely the paramedics in Shortle’s case reported the badly injured man to someone? Yet his husband cannot find anyone who has issued a report.
While the San Francisco Fire Department Paramedics brought Shortle to ER ,“they couldn’t help me and I would need to contact records on Tuesday to verify that there even was an accident, ” Whelan notes.
“I am so angry at whoever hit my husband with their car and ran off and just left him there. Even the 911 caller refused to leave a name. I hope we can find this person … I hope they are insured, and I hope they lock them up and let them rot in hell.”
Patrick Shortle, who suffered from polio as a child, had hoped to raise $5,000 with his ride this year!
Whelan has asked anyone with information to contact him or Melanie Nathan – [email protected] with any relevant information about the accident
NOTE: I have not independently checked the records of the Golden Gate Bridge or other policing authorities mentioned in this article.
Second Update 02/27/2012
A CH Officer taking the report came to a conclusion that Shortle was not hit by a vehicle, that the extensive injuries were caused by a fall by Shortle as he hit a curb. The officer based this determination, regardless of Shortle’s extensive injuries which included a broken hip, broken collarbone, broken ribs and a concussion, and on the words of an unidentified wittness.
Commenting on this report, Shortle’s husband asserts that he is not satisfied with the report as being insufficient an explanation for the extensive injuries to Shortle.
One can only wonder how an officer can base his report and rely on a witness who either refused to identify himself or who the officer omitted to identify. The passerby says he witnessed the accident, yet we do not know who he is or where to find him. How could the officer plan upon relying on that information to conclude his report?
The officer relies on the report to conclude that Mr. Shortle was riding in an “unsafe manner, riding into the raised concrete. Surely this is an unacceptable conclusion given the circumstances, where (a) injuries were so extensive and (b) the only witness is unidentified? Shortle may well have a legitimate legal claim for damages, which could be seriously impacted by the incomplete reporting of the CHP officer.
The report can be found online at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4pdvMvLhJfdOXcwc3RuR2xUZTJWc1BIYVZGMEZpUQ/edit