herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

'Thank you to the Irish people' - crash victim's wife after €25k boost

Ilabek in hospital
Ilabek in hospital

The wife of a man left in a vegetative state after a scrambler bike crashed into his skull has thanked the Irish public for their incredible generosity in supporting the couple.

After more than €25,000 was raised in just a day to help Anzhela Kotsinian remain at Ilabek Avetian's bedside, she wept as she said: "Thank you to the Irish people."

Compassion

Irish people who read Anzhela's tragic story yesterday in papers, including the Herald, donated to allow the former teacher keep a vigil by Ilabek's side.

The roofer (39) suffered devastating brain injuries and lost his left eye after the bike ran into the couple, who are originally from Armenia, as they sunbathed at the bottom of a hill in Darndale Park, Dublin, on June 9.

Anzhela, who sustained a fractured pelvis in the crash, has stayed with her husband at Beaumont Hospital since.

"I want to thank the Irish people for their help," she said.

"It is very hard for me to put into words how this has helped me today. From the morning when I looked online, I have not been able to stop crying.

"To know that so many Irish people wanted to help Ilabek and me has made me very happy. I cannot describe how this feels to know so many Irish people cared for us."

As Anzhela (43) spoke last night the sounds of her husband's breathing apparatus were audible in the background.

The pair, who had only moved to Dublin a little over a month before the incident, had been enjoying time off work for Ilabek on the tragic Saturday.

Devoted couple Ilabek Avetian and Anzhela Kotsinian before a scrambler bike hit them, leaving Ilabek with terrible injuries
Devoted couple Ilabek Avetian and Anzhela Kotsinian before a scrambler bike hit them, leaving Ilabek with terrible injuries

They were hoping to buy a home and undergo a second round of IVF to have a child.

They were listening to music on a mobile phone, without earphones, when Anzhela heard the sound of a motorbike.

In shock, she realised she could no longer hear her husband, who had been lying across her legs on the grass.

When she looked down, Anzhela saw Ilabek's face had been crushed by the motorbike as it passed over them and her pelvis was fractured, where his head had lain.

Ilabek, lost his left eye and has been in a vegetative state in the Dublin hospital ever since while Anzhela's "world has fallen apart".

"No one is answering for this, how can this happen?," Anzhela said, laying bare the fact no criminal legislation prevents scrambler bikes being driven through public parks.

Only local authority by-laws cover these incidents, and Anzhela feels more has to be done by the State to stop this activity.

"We came to Ireland, from Lithuania, to begin a new life," Anzhela said. "We wanted to have a child, to buy a home in Ireland. We were discussing our plans that day."

John Curran, Fianna Fail TD for Dublin Mid-West, has called for "substantial legislative action to be taken to curb the illegal use of all-terrain vehicles including scramblers and quad bikes in urban areas across the country".

Action

"I have been raising the dangerous absence of legislative action with both the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Transport repeatedly over the past two years," he said.

"A considerable amount of time has passed since it was first highlighted as a growing trend."

A garda spokesman last night said: "A juvenile male was arrested on August 8 in relation to the incident and later released. A file is expected to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Investigations are ongoing."

The GoFundMe page which has been set up to help Anzhela stay in Ireland to be by her husband's side is gofundme.com/avetian-ilabek.

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