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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Police State and Prisons
Update on student who fell from I-880 highway overpass
hi, we were there and saw it all. we were the only 2 witnesses from the ground to what happened. stayed with him til ambulance came and have been in touch with hospital and family. he is 15, a skyline high school student named francois zimany. by some incredible miracle he is ok. we will post a longer statement later. he fell a long long way (25-30 ft) in a way that was obviously not a jump - his body was tumbling through the air. this happened right when the cops charged the crowd so it seems likely to us that he was accidentally pushed over or chased over. he landed flat on his back onto asphalt with visible injury to his head. he was unconscious for about ten minutes then later going in and out of consciousness. he has fractured skull etc but no broken back and more or less will recover though there is some question about his vision and not all test results are in. he's regaining some memory so maybe we will find out more. we are going to visit him now and will update.
Reference: abc helicopter video
Francois was wearing brown pants and a dark sweatshirt over a light t-shirt. It looks like him running up to edge and looking over at 1:05. At this location the freeway is almost 40’ above 5th Ave. This person points and they all run down towards where they are later confronted by cops. At 1:35 they are all near the tree. The freeway is about 25’ above the street here. The tree shakes and you could see a person (woman?) in a white sweatshirt looking over the edge at 1:41. She likely saw him fall. Then she is brought down from behind by cop. At 1:56 you could see me running up to him on the street, waiving my arms cause traffic wasn’t stopping. At 2:15 a cop car comes up wrong direction of street to where we were. It is possible that he may have climbed up on ledge and tried to climb into the tree or that something caused him to fall from here. We saw his body falling adjacent to the tree but not through the tree. There was one small (.5” diameter) branch broken near the top of the tree, no other damage throughout tree. He did not jump - his body was tumbling as he fell through the air and he landed on his back and side of his head, not on his feet. His legs are not broken as would be the case from jumping.
Francois left Highland hospital tonight and is at home in Oakland with his parents and two younger siblings. He has fractures in his skull and pelvis and wrist. He has swelling behind his right eye that may lead to vision problems but for now his vision is good. He is in a lot of pain and feels exhausted. He will not be walking around for a while. His face is purple and swollen. He is in good spirits and happy to be alive and with his folks. He has memory loss and though he remembers going to the protest, he can’t remember with whom or anything about going onto the freeway or laying on the ground with Kathy and I before going to the hospital.
There is another video in which the woman with the white sweatshirt appears earlier and I will try and post a link. Francois’ parents would love to speak with anyone who witnessed what took place from up on the freeway since Kathy and I only saw him from the point where he was tumbling through the air. If anyone knows who the woman in the white sweater is or anyone else who was in that group arrested near the tree, please let me know and I will pass on the info.
In case anyone needs to get ahold of me: beehappy747 [at] hotmail.com
Just wanted to add that people can also contact me at kwallerstein [at] gmail.com. And that we will post updates as we have them on Francois.