Local artist Faith Rowland was a victim of a hit & run last year.
Saturday, July 2, 2022 at approximately 10:35 p.m., the Richmond Police Crash Team investigators responded to the intersection of Cowardin Avenue & Bainbridge Street for the report of a hit and run. Investigators arrived and found an adult female pedestrian down and in the roadway. She was attempting to cross the road and was struck by what eyewitnesses describe to be a dark color, purple/blue, older model sedan with distinctive wheel rims. Investigators suspect the vehicle has frontend damage and was last seen headed north on Cowardin Avenue. She was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.
She reached out to us a few weeks ago with the following message.
I am an active artist living in RVA for 10 years. Last summer I was a pedestrian walking home from a BBQ when I was smashed by a car. The driver sped away leaving my body on the street corner. With how extensive my injuries were, I’m constantly surprised that i am still alive. This experience has been more than just a physical struggle. The mental impact of what happened haunts me, and one way I have found to release this trauma demon is through writing, and sharing my story. I would love to submit a letter for possible printing in RVA Mag. Let me know if interested or what to do next.
After some thought, we decided to run her letter to help her process her trauma, maybe help others dealing with a similar situation and possibly build new leads on her case, which is still unsolved. If you have any information, contact the authorities. Below is her letter in its entirety.
If A Forrest, a painting by Faith Rowland
For The Person Who Left,
We have never formally met, but I have spent many hours with you on my mind. I wonder about you and your life, your hobbies, your family, your passions, your love. Do you have children that admire you or siblings that adore you? Does your mother check in weekly to be sure you are well? What hobbies bring you joy? Are you a dancer, a runner and an artist? Just like me? Is travelling a pastime you enjoy? Do you have many friends and helpful, loving companionships? Because I do. I ponder these questions; I marinate in the different ideas that float in my mind. Who are you?
Pardon for my curiosity. There are innumerable questions I wish I had answers to. So many open loops that I need just a little arc to finish and complete them.
This is the question that lingers and taunts me the most. It haunts my thoughts and my dreams. What kind of person are you? Do you hold the door for strangers, or does that kindness not even cross your mind? Are you an honest and hardworking employee? Or do you steal and lie to benefit yourself? Do you have a lover or a partner that you treat with respect and loyalty? Or do you deceive and adulterize? Do you feed and walk and lovingly dote on your pets? Or do you beat your dog for upsetting you or simply existing?
I have too many questions without solutions that bear weight on my soul. There is one question about you that I DO know the answer. It may only be one simple question, but it’s a good one. One that I know the answer to for many people in my life, especially you. Your answer sets you apart from anyone I know and is the reason you will always be tied to me, and always be a part of me.
Do you pull your car over after hitting a pedestrian?
Your answer is no. I know this because I am that pedestrian. I am the woman you struck. I am the living being you mutilated with your vehicle. I am the bloody broken body you left in the street. I am the person you left.
Do you wonder if I survived? Do I appear in your dreams and haunt you? How did you clean my flesh and blood from your bumper? Or my fluorescent green hair from the shards of glass in your broken windshield? Do you wonder about me and who I am? Have you spent even a moment to consider what you took from me?
You will never count the number of bones you snapped in my body. You will never know the physical pain I have endured or the torment and anguish I survived. You will never feel or experience what I or my loved ones encountered. You will never know the magnitude of what you stole from me. You will never know if my lungs kept breathing or my heart remained beating. This magnificent ignorance is the horror and torment that I have bestowed upon you.
Your Demon from July 2, 2022
Main Image: Intertwined, a painting by Faith Rowland