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Watch: Drag Performer Victim of Hit and Run-in Possible Hate Crime

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday October 15, 2019

Friends and authorities are wondering whether drag performer and fashion designer Sasha Markgraf was intentionally targeted by the driver of a car that reportedly veered toward him and his group of friends before striking him and sending him flying into a tree.

CBS Los Angeles reports that Markgraf and a group of friends were leaving the West Hollywood bar where Markgraf performs in the early hours of Sept. 24 when a car suddenly raced toward the group, swerving directly toward them. Markgraf, who was still in drag attire - including high heels - was struck as the others in the group scattered. The car then sped away. Police are still searching for the driver, and although the incident was caught on surveillance video - which shows the car to have been a silver Honda Civic - the footage did not capture the vehicle's license number.

"My friends and I were doing our normal Monday night karaoke and after the bar had closed we were all about to head to our cars when it all Happened," Markgraf posted at Facebook. "We stood around and chatted for a little bit, and as I stepped into the street to cross to my car, the driver pulled out of a parking spot, headlights flashed on my face, and I heard the engine rev. As we began to cross the street, the car took aim for me and ran me down."

Markgraf suffered extensive damage to his right shoulder, including tendon and nerve damage that have affected his right hand, which is his dominant hand.

"I now have 15 screws and a plate in my shoulder, so I should be fun to travel with," Markgraf posted. "I've had two major surgeries on my right arm. There is damage to my knee, and I have difficulty walking without pain.

"I'm right-handed, and my right hand falls mostly limp at my side," his post continued. " I hope to be able to use it again someday so I can go back to my passions of sewing, sketching and painting. This has changed my life. And that coward drove away and is sitting at home while I am going through the trauma of recovery."

A GoFundMe page to help with the costs of medical care and recovery has been established for Markgraf. Text at the page reiterates the suspicion that the young designer was targeted by the driver of the car, who, the text says, "ran down Sasha, the only one of the bunch who was in heels and dressed in an effeminate manner.

"Everyone scattered to try to avoid the car, but the driver was determined, took aim at Sasha, and ran him over," the text goes on to say.

As of this writing, just under $4,700 has been contributed toward a $50,000 fundraising goal.

Speaking to local news outlet WEHOville, Markham's lawyer, Craig Charles, said, "At a minimum, this is a felony hit and run, and in my mind, it rises to the level of attempted murder.

"We are asking for the public's help in identifying the driver," Charles added. "The Civic will have obvious damage to the front end and possibly the windshield. Maybe the driver told someone else and that person will come forward and identify the driver."

Watch the CBS News report, which includes the surveillance footage, below. Warning: The content is fairly graphic, showing Markgraf being struck and hurled into the tree.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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