From the LDRider list:
Vladimir Yarets, the tough-as-nails, 62-year-old, deaf-and-mute Russian from
Belarus who has been nursing an old Jawa 350 two-stroke around the world
tangled with a semi about a week ago on I-74 near Le Roy, about 20 miles
southeast of Bloomington, Illinois.
Details are sketchy, but he's said to be in stable condition at the St.
Francis Hospital intensive care ward in Peoria with two broken legs, a
broken pelvis, a broken arm and who knows what else.
Many who attended the finish of the Iron Butt Rally in Missoula got to meet
this guy. I met him there and he later spent some days recharging his LD
batteries at my home in St. Paul, Minnesota. The guy has a big heart and an
amazing talent for making friends wherever he goes.
One of those friends is Anastasia Kitsul, a native of Russia and graduate of
Yale and now of Puerto Rico who helped Vladimir for several weeks when his
Jawa got tangled up in a customs mess or something when it was being shipped
from South America. Anyway, she has been kind of his behind-the-scenes
helper during his travels, and she called me last night with the news.
She's trying to get the police report, but what she heard so far was that
the Jawa had stalled on one of the freeway lanes, or was going really slow.
She heard that the semi tried to swerve around him but couldn't and the
truck nailed him.
She is trying to help locate his bike, explain things to the hospital, get
the accident report, contact his family back in Belarus, etc. She asked if I
knew any long-distance riders who might live in the Peoria area, and if so,
would anyone be able to stop at the hospital and say hi. She knows it would
mean a lot to him. And just to be honest about all this, if you stopped in
to say hi, who knows where that might lead.
Also, she's hoping to locate the bike (they said it was totaled) and get it
out of storage before those bills get too high. Vladimir was packing a LOT
of stuff on the bike, including an amazing collection of maps and pictures
of his world travels.
Anyway, if anyone in LD land is willing to swing by and say hi to Vladimir,
send me an e-mail and I'll give you the phone number of the hospital. I'm at
Probably most of us know what it's like to have bike troubles far from home,
and some of us know what it's like to crash and need care. Vladimir has
gotten himself into a real tough one this time.
I imagine he must be pretty miserable, compounded by his inability to talk
or hear. He can read a little, but Anastasia said his glasses were either
destroyed or are with the bike, so he can't read the faxes in Russian that
she has sent him.
Let's hope this can somehow have a happy ending.