An online fundraising campaign has already exceeded its goal to fund out-of-pocket medical expenses and lost wages for a 20-year-old bicyclist who suffered severe facial injuries Friday in Minneapolis when a passing motorist threw a chunk of concrete at him.
By late Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign for Mackenzie Jensen had raised more than $17,000, topping the goal of $15,000 set by family members. They are hoping to pay for expenses not covered by Jensen's insurance and an estimated two weeks of lost wages.
The south Minneapolis man was headed to work in the Uptown area Friday evening when he was attacked on W. 41st Street near Aldrich Avenue S. Another cyclist nearby also was grazed by thrown material.
Police said they have confirmed three similar but widely scattered attacks within a short period Friday, starting in southeast Minneapolis and ending with Jensen's injury. Jensen was the only cyclist to sustain serious injuries.
Police spokesman John Elder said the suspect was driving an older white Ford vehicle, possibly a Bronco, with a missing window that was covered with a wood-like product. The driver was wearing a glove, and was believed to have thrown with his left hand.
Elder said that detailed descriptions of the vehicle and driver are assisting the police investigation.
"The outpouring from the community is important," said Dana Piper, who is married to Jensen's mother and launched the fundraising page. She said the contributions come from avid cyclists and those who want to protect their community. "They're not going to succumb to fear."
She said that Jensen had surgery on Saturday on his jaw, which was wired shut. He faces another surgery on Thursday to deal with multiple cheekbone fractures, Piper said.
Neither Elder nor Ethan Fawley, executive director of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, saw the apparently unprovoked attacks on Friday as evidence of an escalation of tension between drivers and cyclists. Crash rates involving cyclists in Minneapolis are generally heading down, especially as drivers become more accustomed to cyclists on busy routes.
The city's Bicycle Advisory Committee is more concerned about incidents where vehicles are used to crowd or intimidate cyclists, said Nick Mason, the panel's chairman.
Cyclists have been encouraged by police to report to 911 incidents in which they feel endangered. A subcommittee will discuss enforcement issues again with police on Thursday.
Piper said Jensen hopes to return to work at an e-cigarette shop in two weeks. She said he didn't see the attack coming.
"He, too, is pretty overwhelmed by the outpouring of the community," she said. "It makes you proud to be from the Twin Cities."