Two furs badly injured, four dogs killed in horrific 80MPH hit-and-run
Just after nightfall on Monday, July 16, Gemily West (Wolfgem) and her boyfriend Harison Long-Randall (Elden) were walking their four Australian Cattle dogs home from a visit to their local park in the Carmichael neighborhood of Sacremento, California, when they were struck by a drunk driver. Witnesses reported that the light-brown Nissan Maxima was driving with no lights on (including tail lights), when the accident occurred. Police could find no evidence of skidmarks or any other sign that the perpetrator attempted to slow down, and estimated that the driver was going around 80 miles per hour when he struck the victims and fled the scene.
As reported in the Sacramento Bee, 21-year-old Hari saw the car coming just a moment before it struck and threw himself in front of his girlfriend, Gemily. He took the force of the impact, which severed one of his legs just below the knee and left him with extensive internal damage as well as other broken bones. Gemily sustained a compound fracture in her lower right leg. All four of their beloved dogs, Zury, Winry, Evie and Bindie, were slain.
Update (29 July): Hari has now died of his injuries, two weeks after the crash
In the early hours of Thursday, July 19, the suspect was apprehended; in a cruel twist of irony he was pulled over by an officer that suspected him of driving while intoxicated. Paul William Walden, 31, of North Highlands, CA was driving the same vehicle that was seem by witnesses at the scene of the crime. He claims that he did not know that he had struck anyone, only that he saw only 'a man and a dog' and didn't believe he had hit them. He has been booked on two counts of felony hit and run, four counts of felony animal cruelty, misdemeanor driving under the influence and driving on a suspended driver's license. He is in the Sacramento County Jail in lieu of $135,000 bail.
There has been several donation funds set up to help the families of the victims, as well as a Facebook Group made in support and solidarity. The Sacramento Bee has posted this information for donations from the public:
Anyone wanting to contribute may send checks made out to the Harison Long-Randall/Gemily West Fund and send them to:
Community Affairs Director
The Sacramento Bee
2100 Q St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
If you have questions you should check this story or contact the Bee directly. If a direct deposit account becomes available it will be posted by someone in the family. Be careful where you send money as their are scammers ready to take advantage of a tragic situation. If you are unsure, verify the source before you send anything.
Update (21 Oct 2014): Belatedly reporting on more recent developments in this case, the trial of Paul William Walden began sometime prior to April 29, 2014. The trial included testimony by Gemily West and an expert witness on heroin addiction. Walden claimed he fell asleep at the wheel and discussed the timeline of events. After attorneys made closing arguments on May 12, and the following day it took the jury only four hours of deliberation to find Walden guilty of second degree murder. A month later, the judge sentenced Walden to 25 years to life, the maximum sentence allowable. Gemily West continues her slow recovery.