Wheelchair pedestrian case continued
One month after he was struck by a police cruiser in a crosswalk– and then ticketed– artist Gerry Mitchell appeared in Charlottesville District Court this morning to face charges of failing to obey a pedestrian signal. The only problem: the court case had been continued, and no one had notified Mitchell.
Corky Mitchell moved to Charlottesville in 2001 to care for big brother Gerry, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1981 and full blown AIDS in 1996.
An artist who by his own estimation has raised at least $100,000 for charities through his benefit shows in the last several years, Gerry Mitchell's health has long been precarious. Drugs he takes to control AIDS have made his bones so brittle his legs break when he walks; he has suffered several strokes; and his kidneys are failing.
But even so, Mitchell, 53, has been able to paint daily, something his younger brother believes has helped keep his spirits up even through years of poor health.
"He manages to laugh about it somehow," says Corky Mitchell, 48, who calls his brother an "inspiration."
Gerry Mitchell was on his way home from Reid's supermarket on Preston Avenue on Monday, November 5 around 10am. He waited for the traffic signal at West Main and Fourth streets to change, then wheeled into the intersection. Albemarle County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis, turning left onto West Main, struck Mitchell's wheelchair from behind, throwing him face down in the street.
In the month since the accident, Corky Mitchell says, his brother's health has declined. He was hospitalized the day after the accident in renal failure; his right shoulder was injured during the accident, possibly when Officer Davis and a witness lifted him from the street back into his wheelchair. The injury to Mitchell's shoulder now makes it hard, if not impossible, for Mitchell to paint.
"All these conditions have been whittling away at him for years," says Corky Mitchell, but the accident "is like a chunk taken out of him."
"I'm a happy guy. I have a great sense of humor, I love life, and I love Charlottesville," says Gerry Mitchell, who graduated from Lane High School and moved back to Charlottesville after living in California and abroad. "I've done as much as I can to contribute to the community."
Mitchell says the pain from the accident has made it hard to remain upbeat.
"If I didn't have this messed up right arm, I'd be a lot better about this," he says. "I'm still angry, and I'm trying to deal with it."
Mitchell's case has been continued to Thursday, January 3 at 9am.