Bill Hangley, Jr. sends word that his wife, Cheshire Agusta, a prominent West Philly rock musician and the drummer for the veteran trio Stinking Lizaveta is recovering after surgery following a serious hit-and-run bike/car accident. Agusta was on the bike and her injuries required metal plates and cadaver bone chips.
Cheshire Agusta and her beloved but now mangled bike. (Photo by Bill Hangley Jr.)
Agusta was struck on Friday, June 1, at 60th and Chestnut Streets while riding to her gym for a morning workout. After waiting at a traffic light, Agusta had just started pedaling north on 60th Street when a car on her left took a right turn across her path – a maneuver known among cyclists as the “right hook.” Agusta and her bike ended up trapped beneath the car. As Agusta recalls, the driver stopped briefly, backed up, paused again briefly and then drove off with the bike still underneath his car, leaving Agusta sitting in shock on the pavement.
Thanks to helpful bystanders who got the car’s license plate number, police soon located the driver, an 18-year-old man who told police that Agusta was in his “blind spot” and that he did not know anything was wrong. In part because of his clean driving and criminal record, police declined to charge him. Both Agusta and the driver were insured.
The accident partially crushed the top of Agusta’s left shinbone, which had to be reconstructed with cadaver bone chips and titanium plates. She faces a total of six months of rehab. Possible long-term complications include chronic stiffness and early-onset arthritis in the joint. Doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) say Agusta now faces a painful rehab but should be ready to tour in September in support of Stinking Lizaveta’s latest record, “Seventh Direction,” to be released in the U.S. and in Europe.
“My summer plans have changed dramatically, but my fall plans are still the same,” said Agusta. “We’re really proud of this record. There’s eighteen years of work behind it.”
“The worst thing that could have happened is that I could have died,” Agusta said, “but the next worst thing would be if I couldn’t get out and play this music.”
The band has scheduled a five-week European tour starting in September to support “Seventh Direction,” recorded at Chicago’s Engine Music Studios. The record features original compositions from all three band members (Cheshire Agusta and brothers Alexi and Yanni Papadopoulos).
Agusta is the second member of Stinking Lizaveta to be seriously injured in a West Philadelphia traffic accident. Alexi Papadopoulos, a co-owner of the popular Satellite Café on Baltimore Avenue, was struck by a car on his motor scooter two years ago, suffering multiple fractures and internal injuries. “The consensus among friends is that I’m next,” said his brother Yanni but the guitarist had no comment on any steps he might take to avoid his bandmates’ fate.
We are wishing a speedy recovery to Cheshire Agusta and hope that this was the last in the series of unfortunate happenings involving Stinking Lizaveta members.