Family and friends of Paul Madonna are rallying together after the beloved San Francisco artist and author was seriously injured in a hit-and-run collision in McLaren Park.
Madonna was making his daily drive home through the park when his smart car was struck by a Mercedes Benz driving at approximately 65 miles per hour in the wrong lane. After the Mercedes sped off, witnesses came to Madonna’s aid and called the emergency services, as well as his wife of 21 years, Joen. Madonna subsequently underwent four hours of emergency surgery to repair major internal injuries.
“It’s 10 days he’s been in the hospital and last night was the first night he was able to sit up in a chair and eat a meal,” Joen tells KQED Arts. “Paul is really strong, he’s very resilient. I feel like we’ve just turned the ship to where he understands that he’s the one that gets to dictate his recovery; that he will be able to do it. It’s the first day where he’s really been able to feel that kind of power and autonomy over his life again.”
In addition to his internal injuries — including a collapsed lung — Madonna also sustained a broken nose, a shattered right heel, injuries to his shoulder and leg, as well as a torn carotid artery and brain blood bleed. The artist was in the ICU for three days. He is expected to be in a wheelchair for several months.
Joen, the executive director of ArtSpan, was due to travel to a speaking engagement the day of her husband’s accident. She feels fortunate that she wasn’t already mid-flight or in another city when the hit-and-run occurred, but is still reeling from the horror of that afternoon.