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Dustin Valenta Benefit: Bike Messenger Hurt In Hit-And-Run Recovering, Seeking Witnesses

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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser
DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

A 27-year-old Chicago man was riding his bike home from a yoga class late in the morning of Feb. 8 when he was doored by a woman exiting a parked car in the city's Wicker Park neighborhood.

The next thing Dustin Valenta, a bike messenger and actor, remembers is waking up inside an ambulance after breaking 23 ribs, fracturing his pelvis and hip and left shoulder, puncturing his lung, breaking a collar bone and cracking his vertebrae, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

Now, with the help of his friends and family, Valenta is trying to piece together what happened that morning -- and to identify the driver of a second vehicle that struck him after he was doored and proceeded to leave the scene of the crash, located in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Avenue outside Artemio's Bakery.

Valenta, who spent a week and a half in the Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Intensive Care Unit, explained to Fox Chicago on Wednesday that he remembers being told in the ambulance that "another bystander said I had been run over by a truck that had hit and run."

His parents, who live out of state, have flown in to help with the effort to identify the driver of the truck that injured their son and aide with his recovery. Michael Keating, an attorney who is representing Valenta, has gotten security footage taken from a Citibank located near the crash that shows footage of a white pickup truck running over the bicyclist, Streetsblog Chicago reports. Keating has posted flyers around the neighborhood with the hope of locating witnesses to the crash.

Because Valenta does not have insurance, his friends have set up fundraising sites at Go Fund Me and Give Forward to help with his lofty medical expenses. Combined, they have raised over $18,000 as of Friday afternoon.

Two benefit events on Valenta's behalf will also be held in the days ahead, including a bake sale Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at The Bike Lane, 2130 N. Milwaukee Ave., and a benefit at Bangers & Lace, 1670 W. Division St., from 2 p.m. until close -- with a raffle at 9 p.m. -- on Monday.

Meanwhile, Valenta remains hospitalized, though no longer in the ICU. He told Fox he is grateful to be alive.

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