Drag performer and costume designer Sasha Markgraf is recovering from major injuries after being struck by a driver in a hit-and-run that appears to have been intentional.
“The driver swerved and the next thing I knew I saw headlights,” Markgraf told the Los Angeles news station KCAL9. “I saw headlights and the next thing I knew I was hitting a tree that was next to me. And waking up 10 minutes later.”
Markgraf was leaving Flaming Saddles, a West Hollywood bar, with friends around 2 a.m. when the driver hit him.
The group was allegedly crossing a nearby street when a driver revved the engine of their car and aimed straight for them. Everyone scattered, but Markgraf’s friends reported that the driver continued to barrel him in his direction; he was the only member of the party in drag.
The driver crushed Markgraf’s shoulder with the car before speeding away.
Markgraf awoke with significant injuries to his arm and hand. Doctors reportedly had to place 15 pins and a plate in his arm, and he currently has no ability to use his right hand. It could be a year before his hand is functional again, which could have major repercussions for his work fabricating costumes.
In addition, Markgraf now has serious pain in his right knee, which is filled with fluid. He must wear a brace in order to walk. Still, it could have been even worse: Drivers kill on average 10 people every day in California.
The attack was caught on video. While the vehicle was a silver Honda Civic, neither the camera nor witnesses got a glimpse of the driver. There are no leads as of now.
Even if the driver is caught, courts are notoriously reluctant to punish drivers who use their cars to attack others. Last year, a driver in Marin County, California who swerved to hit a group of cyclists at around 70 miles per hour was sentenced to just a year and a half in prison. In San Antonio, a drunk driver who hit a woman at over 120 miles per hour — resulting in an amputated leg — was sentenced to two years of probation.
Markgraf’s attorney, Craig Charles, has asked anyone with information to get in touch at (424) 343-0660. In the meantime, friends have set up a GoFundMe to help with medical bills and his recovery period. His expenses are estimated to be around $50,000.