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Crash victim seeking helping hand

A South Kitsap resident who sustained multiple injuries in a car accident last month is grappling with not only recovery, but the financial ramifications of a horrible night.

Anthony Swinsinski, who turned 28 on Monday, suffered a shattered right ankle and injuries to his ribs when the 2000 Chevrolet Silverado he was driving was struck by a wrong-way driver at about 10 p.m. May 22 on State Highway 16.

Washington State Patrol reported receiving a call about a possible drunk driver who reportedly was traveling west on the highway before making a U-turn. The driver of the 1998 Ford Escort ZX2, 45-year-old Delfin Ignacio, was killed when he collided with Swinsinski near the Mullenix exit ramp.

Swinsinski said he was returning home from visiting a friend in Tacoma when the wreck occurred. He was transferred back to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where he had surgery the next day.

Doctors have told Swinsinski, who works roles ranging from operating the cash register to making pizzas at the Port Orchard Little Caesar’s, that he won’t be able to work for at least two months. That means Swinsinski has no income to pay for living expenses.

In an effort to alleviate that burden, his mother, Bridgett, has established multiple accounts and fundraisers with a goal of raising $5,000. Swinsinski said that should enable him to pay for his expenses — not including medical bills — that he will accrue while he is out of work.

“She’s been a great help,” Swinsinski said. “She’s been awesome putting things together.”

It begins with an account at gofundme.com/9ip7pg. Swinsinski, who published “The Crystal Heart: Beginning”, which he described as a science fiction novel geared toward young adults, will be included for free to anyone that donates at least $150. The copy will include his signature and a certificate of authenticity.

In addition to that, Swinsinski’s mother set up a fundraiser at Yo! G’s Frozen Yogurt, which runs from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, in Gig Harbor. She also placed tip jars at the End Zone and Smoke Town in Port Orchard and there are plans to place others at Al’s Market in Olalla and New 2 You at Towne Square. Swinsinski said people can make donations in his name at Peninsula Credit Union, as well.

As for his medical bills, Swinsinski said he has “no clue” how much those will cost.

The trauma he sustained from the wreck left him with more than physical injuries.

“I view vehicles more as weapons at this point,” said Swinsinski, who has not driven since the collision. “I have to be on anti-anxiety medication to get in a car. It’s a lot harder to do now what I did every day.”

Swinsinski said he only was driving his mother’s truck because his own car broke down a couple of weeks before the wreck.

“I’m glad I was driving the truck,” he said. “The trooper and paramedics all told me that if I had been driving a car, I would be dead.

“I’m glad it was me in the truck that got hit and not a family of four. If I had been in the other lane, he could have hit a car with two small children.”

Swinsinski also expressed frustration that Ignacio had been arrested for drunk driving in 2003 and 2009, according to court records.

“I have a completely different outlook on alcohol, as well,” he said. “I’m not too happy with the DUI laws. I think they should be a bit firmer.”

 

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