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Cyclist who lost part of leg in hit-and-run plans charity ride

Los Angeles police are expected to shut down sections of road between Los Feliz and Griffith Park on Sunday morning as waves of cyclists take to the streets to raise awareness about hit-and-runs.

The event, Finish the Ride, was created after local resident Damian Kevitt, 37, was hit by a van and dragged nearly a quarter-mile onto the 5 Freeway near the L.A. Zoo last February.

Last year, Los Angeles logged more than 21,000 hit-and-run crimes, including more than 1,200 injuries and 41 deaths, according to Los Angeles police statistics. In Kevitt’s incident, the driver got away and Kevitt broke 20 bones and lost the lower half of his right leg.

“The only way I can bring closure to what happened to me is by taking the bad that occurred and turning it into something good,” Kevitt said in a statement announcing Finish the Ride.

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Anyone who wants to participate in Finish the Ride can register online or Sunday morning starting at 6:30. Registration fees range from $35 to $70 depending on if the 6-, 12- or 23-mile route is chosen.

The event begins about 8 a.m. in the Church of Scientology parking lot, 4810 Sunset Blvd. in Los Feliz, and finishes outside the Autry National Center in Griffith Park near where Kevitt was hit.

Proceeds from the ride will go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation that provides active equipment for those with physical handicaps and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

Police will have rolling closures as bicyclists pass through intersections along the route, organizers said. 

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In the wake of the Kevitt’s injuries, city officials offered a $25,000 for any information leading to the driver’s arrest. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) also introduced legislation to increase the penalties for hit-and-run drivers, which are already automatic felonies that sometimes result in lesser convictions or fines.

LAPD traffic enforcement is also exploring how to decrease hit-and-runs in the city.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna


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