Man in coma following hit and run at colony |

Man in coma following hit and run at colony

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A Carson City man remained in a coma Friday, more than a week after he was struck by a car and left for dead on a Carson Colony street.

Alyn “Sonny” Frank, 47, was found tangled in his bicycle and still clutching a Popsicle on the side of Paiute Street just after midnight on July 17. No one saw the car that hit him.

“He left my dad’s house on Oneida Street and was going home. The neighbor girls heard something, and when they came out they saw Sonny lying on the ground,” said Frank’s sister Jonie Radcliff, of Reno. Radcliff said she spoke to the women who discovered her brother, and they told her he was trying to get up right after the accident. By the time rescuers arrived, the Carson native had lapsed into a coma. He was taken by helicopter to Renown Regional Medical Center where surgeons removed a portion of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.

According to Washoe Tribal Police Chief Richard Varner, the damage to Frank’s bicycle and his head injury are consistent with being struck by a car, but since no one saw the accident, authorities cannot be sure what happened.

“I have made this our No. 1 priority, and we are working diligently on it following up on leads as we are receiving them,” he said.

It’s believed that whoever struck Frank knew they had hit something and that there would be damage to their vehicle, though it may not be substantial.

Radcliff said doctors are not optimistic that the brother she called a “scrapper” will recover fully – if at all – from his injuries.

“They don’t know that, if he does awaken, he will know anything or anybody. They said he would never be able to care for himself again,” she said.

The family has had to consider what they will do if Frank can’t survive without the help of life support.

“I don’t want to keep him alive if he can’t take care of himself,” she admitted tearfully, “because he wouldn’t want to live like this.”

Radcliff is convinced that the driver that struck her brother, knows him. The Carson Colony is a tightly knit community, she said, and Sonny has lived on it his entire life.

“If it was an accident they need to stand up and admit it and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ We need to find out who did this, so we can at least accept what happened. We just want to know what happened,” she said.

Felicia Archer, spokeswoman for the tribal police, said Frank was riding a yellow 10-speed bike with white, wrapped handlebars and asked that anyone who saw him on the night in question call police.

Varner said even the smallest clue may help to solve the case.

“Part of what we are looking for is anyone who has seen a vehicle that has some kind of new damage,” he said. “We would ask that any individual who has information to call the police department.”

To contact the Washoe Tribal Police during business hours call (775) 265-7540 and after hours you can call dispatch at (775) 782-9087.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.