Cyclist Grabbed and Dragged: Surveillance Video Shows People Coming to Help

By Darryl Holliday and Erica Demarest  on August 21, 2013 6:39am

Avid Cyclist Grabbed, Dragged by Man in Passing SUV
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

LOGAN SQUARE  — A  surveillance video pointed at Kimball Avenue shows passing motorists pulling over and coming to the aid of a bicyclist who was grabbed by a man in an SUV and dragged until she hit a parked car and crashed to the ground.

The private surveillance video obtained by DNAinfo Chicago does not clearly show the attack on cyclist Jana Kinsman, 27, but it may have captured video of the SUV involved in the 12:20 a.m. incident.

Kinsman, who launched the Bike a Bee project to put beehives in community gardens, said she was grabbed by her messenger bag and dragged for about three seconds as she biked north on Kimball Avenue at Wrightwood Avenue in the Logan Square neighborhood.

She suffered scrapes to her arm, leg and hip after hitting the parked car and then the street.

In the video, an SUV driving north on Kimball  Avenue — on the left side of the video screen — crosses Wrightwood Avenue and passes a row of parked cars. A car and a van driving south on Kimball Avenue immediately pull over after the SUV passes. Men get out of both the car and the van, cross the street and come to the aid of someone who is blocked from the camera shot by a parked car.

Minutes later, emergency crews arrived to give aid. Kinsman, who does not have insurance, refused an ambulance trip because of the cost and went to Swedish Covenant Hospital in a cab.

No one is in custody in the assault. Kinsman told police there were three men in a purple-maroon Chevy Tahoe, with the man in the rear passenger seat grabbing her while the others laughed.

"I started screaming. I didn't know what else to do," said Kinsman, who said she has been cycling in Chicago for about six years. "I could hear them laughing like it was a game or something.”

Kinsman had been going to check on a friend's cat in Albany Park just after midnight. As she came to Wrightwood Avenue, the SUV rushed her, she said.

“A car pulled up really close next to me — this big maroon-purple Tahoe — and it was pushing me against the [parked] cars, and I couldn’t do anything," Kinsman said. "I couldn’t brake or swerve. I was pinned between this moving car and this other car."

Slideshow
 Bicyclist Jana Kinsman, 27, was grabbed and dragged by people riding in a car next to her early Tuesday.
Cyclist Attacked by Passengers in SUV in Logan Square
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After a few seconds, Kinsman's bike smacked into a parked car, she said. The man lost his grip on Kinsman, and she fell to the ground — hitting her hip hard before bouncing onto the left side of her body.

Bystanders rushed to help Kinsman, who laid on the ground until police, paramedics and her roommate, Brent, arrived.

“My arm hurt really bad, and I was too scared to move," she said.

Kinsman, an avid cyclist who works as a beekeeper and freelance illustrator, was badly bruised, but she said no bones were broken.

Police have classified the incident, which happened about 12:20 a.m., as a hit-and-run, said Officer John Mirabelli, a Chicago Police Department spokesman. 

As she walked through her yard Tuesday morning, Kinsman had trouble moving her left arm and shoulder. Cuts and bruises lined her legs, arms and hips.

"This is such a violation of my self — of my personal space," she said. "As a cyclist, you can do everything to make yourself safe, but if someone actively wants to hurt you — and they think it’s a game — there’s no helmet or light or path that will stop that."

In January 2012, Kinsman started Bike a Bee, a beekeeping project that places beehives in community gardens across the city. After a rough start, her hives are thriving. But Kinsman relies on cycling to tend to the far-spread hives.

After Tuesday's incident, she can't support weight on her left arm. Her bike's front wheel needs new rims and spokes, and its fork and headset may have been damaged as well.

That's "a huge problem for my business," Kinsman said. "I can't go beekeeping now."

For now, she's relying on interns and friends to get around.

"It’s this really sad way that the world works," Kinsman said. "I can’t afford a car, so therefore I took my bike places, and therefore that leaves me vulnerable to people f---ing with me.

"I don’t have the luxury of being like, 'Well, I take that risk by riding my bike, so I can definitely pay the hospital bills because it’s a chosen risk that I take.' That’s awful."

Kinsman said she plans to reach out to an attorney, activists and her alderman, possibly to push for more protected bike lanes. She was still shell-shocked Tuesday and feeling "violated," but "This is one of those things that people gotta hear about it because it’s really messed up.

"I can’t learn anything from this. The only preventative measure from this happening again is to just never ride your bike or be outside. I wasn’t doing anything wrong."

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