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Victim of Hit and Run, Gerlinde Gautrey Recovering
September 6, 2012 - By Flavia Potenza
Around dusk on August 21, Gerlinde Gautrey was returning to her car after hiking with her two dogs along Summit to Summit at the Old Canyon junction.
She had to cross the street to get to her car, heard a car coming up the hill from the Valley, and waited. She paused to listen for more traffic noise; hearing none, she proceeded to cross the street.
She heard a motorcycle coming up from the Canyon side and everything after that was a blur.
She doesnt know if the motorcycle went down, but remembers the driver cursed a couple of times, then got back on the motorcycle and took off.
Cars that he had just passed at excessive speed, according to witnesses, were now coming up the road.
I was lying in the street, Gautrey recalls, saw the cars coming and managed to get up long enough to wave them off. The cars stopped, people called 9-1-1, and one woman, a Topanga resident, took Gautreys nine-month-old puppy to the emergency vet, where it died. Pat Tomlinson of Topanga Pet Resort got a call and boarded the other dog, Bruce, overnight.
I handed my cell phone to one of the bystanders to call my family, said Gautrey, who was soon airlifted out and diagnosed with a concussion and torn ligaments in her right knee.
Im getting better on crutches and the bruises and road burns are going away, she said. She was going in for surgery at UCLA to repair the torn ligaments on Sept. 4, and expected to be home in a day or two. There are still some residual effects from the concussion, she says. If I move my head too fast, I get dizzy.
All in all, I got great care, she continued. I didnt realize my friends were so devoted. Im surrounded by so much love and care. My boys have been great; my husband, who is usually out of town on business during the week, took time off. My office has been so supportive. It will be a month or six weeks before I can go back to work. I have a lot of steps at my house, so friends have offered to put me up after the surgery, but I like having my own four walls around me in spite of the steps, Gautrey said.
Taking the long view, she added, how can we make that intersection safer? It would be worth having a talk with [Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky] or the sheriffs or CHP to see if there are safety measures for that area where there are a lot of hikers.
Asked how she can even think about that when shes barely recovered, she replied, It helps in my recovery to think that something good can come out of this.