Brian Fairbrother, a 20-year veteran of Espresso Vivace, was seriously injured in a late-August bicycle crash, Capitol Hill Seattle reports. Comments from long-time customers are pouring in expressing their condolences.
CHS reports that Fairbrother will be taken off life support Thursday in accordance to his wishes.
Details of the wreck are not clear, but a September 1 post on the CaringBridge site set up for Brian says he was cycling on Fairview Ave E and hit a dirt patch near a stairwell. Medics found him on the stairs, and he was not breathing. It does not appear a car was involved in the incident, and details of what caused the wreck and where it occurred are not yet clear.
More about Brian from the Vivace website:
King manager of 321 since before it was a store (he managed the cart at 301 Broadway before that), Brian is now the general manager of Espresso Vivace and also manages Alley 24. Besides being a very unique soul, he is our third leg on our decision stool. Brian, Geneva and I are the “board of directors” for Vivace Inc.. We know that if all three of us endorse a course of action for Espresso Vivace, it is the right course of action. He has earned our respect countless times. He was very crucial to holding the company together during our horrendous transition from carts to stores in 1992. And he has earned the respect of his staff for fair, but tough standards. It is Brian that is the principal architect for our customer service philosophy: compassion for the foibles of humanity. Brian practices his compassionate service, and considerable skills as a master barista and manages Alley 24 five days a week. He has been with us for twenty years. If a problem pops up on his watch he is fond of telling me “not to worry my artistic little head over it.” Thank you Brian
Condolences to Brian, his friends and his family during this very difficult time. We will update as we learn more.
UPDATE 4 PM: With the help of Capitol Hill Seattle, we have pieced together a few more details about what happened. A large 911 call went out around 5:50 p.m. August 30 to the intersection of Fairview Ave E and Fairview Ave N for a bicycle accident. Medics found a male in his 40s unconscious but breathing and transported him to the hospital.
Details from the CaringBridge site and discussions with people familiar with the incident suggest that he crashed down a stairway, and that the evening sun may have been in his eyes. His brain injuries were caused by a lack of oxygen.
Though we do not know for sure what caused the crash, the intersection of Fairview E and Fairview N has a somewhat infamous hazard where what appears to be a trail (especially in difficult seeing conditions) actually leads to a staircase. Just south of the intersection, Fairview Ave E goes over a bridge leading towards South Lake Union. At both the north and south ends of the bridge, there are staircases leading to a walking path, but bicycle users are meant to ride in a bicycle lane at street level. It is not yet clear whether the incident happened at the north or south staircase.
The city is in the process of redesigning the intersection of Fairview N and Fairview E, with construction scheduled to start in 2012.
UPDATE 4:11 PM: Espresso Vivace’s walk-up location at Broadway and Harrison is hosting a tribute to Fairbrother, CHS reports. They also have a box so people can leave notes of support.
UPDATE 6:35 PM: SPD was able to provide a few more details on the incident. Fairbrother was riding northbound on the west sidewalk, according to the traffic investigation report. He crashed on the stairway near the south side of the bridge, landing face first on the sidewalk. When riding northbound on the sidewalk, which is part of the city’s Cheshiahud Loop trail, people biking are meant to exit the sidewalk at the south end of the bridge and use a bicycle lane at street level. The stairwell leads to a floating pedestrian pathway: