It’s been two weeks since San Francisco Police Department Officer Elia Tankel-Lewins was hit on his bike, as suspect Maurquise Johnson attempted to evade arrest in his SUV. The collision at Turk Street and Van Ness Avenue left Tankel-Lewins in critical condition and spurred a multi-neighborhood manhunt for Johnson.
The Tenderloin beat cop has since had emergency surgery to remove part of his skull to manage swelling in his brain — and the initial press conferences SFPD command staff gave outside the hospital in the days after the collision were grim.
But Tankel-Lewins is still alive, and although details on his improvement are slim, the attitude from colleagues and friends towards his prognosis has become more positive.
“Elia is making slow, but incremental progress. We are buoyed by the changes we see every day. It will be a long recovery, but he has a fighting spirit and we know he will persevere,” says Kate McEachern, a friend of the family.
And as with any disaster, there has been the inevitable switch from core survival to collective recovery. Last week, McEachern launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support Shideh Etaat, Lewin-Tankel’s wife. An English teacher at Mission High, Etat will soon be out of her allocated paid time off. The funds raised will go toward supporting the couple while Lewin-Tankel undergoes what McEachern calls “a long recovery.”
Thus far, the fundraiser has been a wild success: More than $66,000 has been raised so far. And though Lewin-Tankel has a difficult road ahead of him, the donations gathered have been “an undeniable bright spot during a dark period for Elia’s wife, their families, and their many friends at the hospital,” McEachern says.
Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel’s fundraiser can be found at gofundme.com/support-officer-elia.