Injured cyclist’s family, girlfriend remain hopeful
Beth Anne Harrill posted the first status update about her boyfriend, Greg Germani, on June 10, a day after a man driving a red Dodge Nitro intentionally ran Germani down.
Germani, 50, is a Decatur resident and works at Turner Broadcasting. Police are actively looking for the driver of the Nitro. They believe that, following a verbal confrontation after a near-collision on Montgomery Ferry, the driver turned around and came after Germani with the 4,000 pound vehicle. The driver faces a charge of aggravated assault.
“I want to give folks a general update about Greg Germani’s condition,” Harrill wrote on June 10. “He was admitted to Grady last night and treated in the Marcus Trauma Center by a team of trauma and neurosurgeons. He has suffered multiple injuries, the primary one being brain trauma from the impact of the incident. Importantly, he was wearing a helmet.”
Harrill’s regular updates became a crucial source of information for friends and family.
“I was getting so many emails,” Harrill said. “I did that first one that first night and I hadn’t planned on doing one every night. I find it very therapeutic. I want him at some point him to be able to read all of those.”
Harrill works as an attorney. She makes plans and executes them. But so much about Germani’s situation remains out of her control.
The doctors still don’t know the extent of Germani’s brain injury.
“There’s a lot of unknowns right now, a lot of variables,” she said. “The truth is we don’t really know at this point. We are as optimistic as (we) can be and are going to do whatever it takes.”
Harrill said Germani’s recovery is “absolutely the No. 1 through 10 priority.”
Beyond that, finding the person responsible would bring the family some measure of comfort, she said. Harrill and John Germani said they are grateful the media keeps story alive. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing, WSB-TV and 11 Alive published reports about the case. Harrill said getting justice for Greg Germani matters, but the family’s efforts are focused where they’re needed most, on the man in the ICU at Grady.
“Finding the person who did this, it’s absolutely imperative,” Harrill said. “It’s just that it’s hard to channel all your energy. We’re juggling so much it’s impossible to focus on that so much.”
A reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect has swelled to more than $17,000. John Germani, Greg’s younger brother, said there are two detectives working on the case full time.
John Germani and Harrill said they haven’t heard any news about how close – or how far – police are from catching the person who allegedly did this to Greg.
“We don’t know much at all,” John Germani said. “They play it close to the vest.”
Greg Germani is perhaps best known as the creator of the Atlanta Time Machine website, which publishes “then and now” photos of the city.
John Germani said that on the evening was June 9 Germani was on his way home from his job at Turner. He’s been riding his bike to work for 25 years, John Germani said. In all that time, he’s never had a serious accident or a run in with a driver.
John Germani said his brother doesn’t seek out conflicts like the exchange of words leading up to the alleged assault.
“Greg is not an aggressive, violent person,” John Germani said. “He’s not going to call anybody names. I’m sure he just put the guy in his place.”
Harrill and John Germani said they are confident that police will catch the driver, sooner or later.
“I think it will happen,” John Germani said. “”It’s just not happening as soon as we wanted it to. As this whole process has taught us, you have to be patient.”
Harrill thinks about what could’ve been and what could be. She wonders how much worse it could’ve been if there were kids on the street riding their bikes when the driver chased Greg Germani down Flagler.
She imagines what it will be like when police catch the driver. Harrill said Germani’s friends will pack the courtrooms for every hearing.
“I do think that they’ll find him,” Harrill said.
Harrill continues posting status updates about Greg. The interest in them – and her need to write them – hasn’t waned.
“Greg continues in stable, but critical condition at Grady,” Harrill wrote on June 20. “Greg continues to receive outstanding care from a team of doctors, nurses, and therapists, whose aim is simple: get him healthy and stable for the next phase of rehabilitation. As said before, this is going to be a long road to recovery.”
About this case:
Police believe the suspect was driving a red Dodge Nitro and is an “under 30 year old African American male.” The vehicle likely has damage on its front right side, but police weren’t certain about the extent of it.
Police released this video of the vehicle they’re looking for:
People with information can submit anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers by calling 404-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.crimestoppersatlanta.org or by texting CSA and the tip to CRIMES (274637). You do not have to give your name or any identifying information to be eligible for the reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspect.