Fundraisers underway for Islanders injured in Virginia car accident


Friends of four Islanders injured in a serious car accident in Virginia last week are mobilizing support. Laurel Redington and her husband, Ray Whitaker, and their daughter, Tessa, and her friend Elinor (Ellie) Hanjian, both 14, were heading home on April 27 from a spring vacation trip to Florida on I-295 in Richmond, Virginia, when a Mercedes SUV suddenly turned left in front of them from the right lane.

Ellie, Ms. Redington, and Mr. Whitaker suffered injuries in the crash that required hospitalization in Richmond. Ellie, the most seriously injured of the group, suffered a head injury and underwent surgery that day. Ms. Redington had a severe concussion, a chipped patella, and broken toes, and Mr. Whitaker had compression fractures in two vertebrae. Tessa did not require hospitalization but had severe neck strain.

Ms. Redington, Mr. Whitaker, and Tessa returned home to Martha’s Vineyard last Thursday, May 1. Ellie remains hospitalized in Richmond, according to an email to The Times from the Hanjian family’s friend Niki Patton.

Those who wish to donate to the Whitaker and Hanjian families can do so online at the website, Enter the name “Elinor Hanjian” in the “search fundraisers” box. All funds raised will be divided equally between the Whitaker and Hanjian families.

Donations specifically for Ellie may be sent to “You’ve Got a Friend,” an Island nonprofit created to help Island residents get through life-changing circumstances. Donations are tax deductible. Donors should make their checks out to “You’ve Got a Friend,” with the notation, “In honor of Elinor Hanjian” on the memo line, in order to receive a letter acknowledging their donation. Send checks to YGAF, P.O. Box 1317, West Tisbury, MA 02575.