No Accident: Where Are the Plantiffs Now?

As a Kristi Jacobson-directed documentary living up to its title in every way imaginable, HBO’s ‘No Accident’ can only be described as equal parts baffling, intriguing, haunting, and shocking. That’s because it incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really underscore the aftermath of the August 11-12, 2017, “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It thus follows the civil lawsuit filed against white nationalist leaders as well as organizations on behalf of those injured while peacefully counter-protesting — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about these plaintiffs’ current standing, here’s what we know.

Where is Marissa Blair Now?

At the age of 27, Marissa was admittedly a “happy person,” yet it all changed when a white supremacist/neo-Nazi accelerated his car into the crowd of those he disagreed with on August 12, 2017. After all, she was right at the center, only to be saved by her loving fiancé Marcus Martin pushing her out of harm’s way to take the brunt of the impact alongside her long-time friend Heather Heyer. The truth is this trio knew the rally could become dangerous, but they never expected it to go to such an extent — while her beau was seriously injured, her friend lost her life, and she has since been diagnosed with severe psychological post-traumatic stress disorder.

Marissa and Marcus had actually tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony eight months to the day of the incident — May 12, 2018 — as an act of resistance in the face of hate to show love always wins, yet things gradually started crumbling apart between them. “Usually in a relationship, when one person is sad, the other person helps to cheer them up and uplift them,” she once said to explain their divorce. “But we were both dealing with a lot of trauma.” In other words, this trauma tore them apart — the former has since been doing her best to move on in life, but she does miss the way things used to be and is hence currently focusing primarily upon helping others through her work as a local Attorney at S&P Global.

Where is Marcus Martin Now?

When Marcus pushed his fiancée Marissa out of the rushing vehicle’s way on that fateful day, he was reportedly catapulted into the air before suddenly crashing down right on the hard, concrete road. Therefore, he suffered a broken ankle as well as a shattered lower leg, which eventually needed to be operated upon, resulting in him soon being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder too. The fact he subsequently lost his job as a landscaper for a while didn’t help his situation either, especially as it unwittingly allowed him to let anger management issues, aggression, depression, plus emotional numbness sweep in — his ordeal was both physical and psychological.

Image Credit: The Ellen Show/YouTube

“People just didn’t want to be around me because of what [the attack] had done to me,” Martin candidly said. “It pushed one of the best things that ever happened to me out of my life… Marissa.” According to reports, he even lost his ability to play the sports he was utterly passionate about — basketball and softball — all the while taking away his concentration level owing to flashbacks too. The now 34-year-old has since also been formally diagnosed with a severe head injury, so it seems like he’s doing his best to heal at the moment, with the help of therapists and active recognition of his problems, while continuing to reside in his hometown of Shipman, Virginia.

Where is Natalie Romero Now?

Although a native of Houston, Texas, Natalie’s Colombian roots as well as her values concerning community service, equality, morality, and sensibility, have always been a big part of her identity. Therefore, once this Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps member heard of Unite the Right while pursuing a Bachelor’s in Global Development with a minor in Sociology at the University of Virginia (2016-2020), she immediately decided to join the counter-protests. Yet little did this 20-year-old — the first in her family to attend college — know she would end up with skull fractures plus multiple other injuries, which would affect her memory for a long while.

“[I have] a lot of back pain and neck pain,” Natalie said of her injuries at the time. “Just a lot of bruises. I think when I fell [following the attack], I bit my lip. So my lip is really busted and my face looks pretty horrible right now.” Nevertheless, she has since worked hard to heal in every sense of the term, enabling her to currently serve as a Trainer in the Arts Program of The Posse Foundation in New York City, New York. Prior to this, the EMERGE fellow turned Educator was an Executive Board Member at the Charlottesville Immigrant Freedom Fund, an Organizer for Virginia Organizing, plus a Curriculum Development and Translation Specialist at Success Stories Program.

Where is Elizabeth Sines Now?

As per the original production, Elizabeth credits her incredible upbringing in Garrett County, Maryland, for the steady head on her shoulders and her innate sense of responsibility towards society. That’s why this University of Virginia School of Law sophomore (stepping into junior year) student chose to attend the August 2017 rally as a counter-protestor, unaware violence would soon erupt. She thus got caught up in it too, resulting in her enduring a bit of trauma — yet, she has since done her best to move on and is presently based in Baltimore, Maryland, alongside her long-term partner, Tyler Yutzy.

Coming to Elizabeth’s professional standing, from what we can tell, she holds the title of Associate at Venable LLP at the moment, where she offers counsel to clients at both state and federal levels. Before this, the 2019 University graduate served at the Garrett County State’s Attorney’s Office in Oakland, Maryland, followed by a stint at the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore. Therefore, it seems like commercial litigation is her specialty right now, and she’s determined to shine through every step of the way.

Where is Seth Wispelwey Now?

If there’s only one way we can ever describe Charlottesville native Reverand Seth Wispelwey, it would have to be as someone with integrity considering how he has always carried himself in life. That’s because he’s not just an ordained minister/pastor but also a proud grassroots organizer, educator, nonprofit consultant, and community helper with several years of experience under his belt. In fact, he was amongst those who directly, unfalteringly helped the injured following the car attack by James Fields Jr. on the fateful August 12, 2017, day despite the scene seriously disturbing him from the get-go.

“A woman ran up to me, just red-faced, saying people need help,” Seth recalled. “I thought she needed help, when she says a car has just attacked somebody.” He, alongside several other clergy members, hence rushed to the intersection of Waters and Fourth streets, where he did whatever was needed to help the paramedics as well as the police do their jobs. Since then, Seth has ostensibly relocated to Tucson, Arizona, from where he still serves as a Minister for Economic Justice at the United Church of Christ while also advocating for those unable to do so themselves.

Where is Devin Willis Now?

Even though a lot of hate-centric incidents occurred on August 11 and 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, 18-year-old University of Virginia freshman Devin had one of the worst experiences as a black man. After all, according to official records, tiki torch-carrying white nationalists surrounded him for hours at one point in time, only to spew both extremely racist “monkey noises” and chemical irritants his way. So, of course, he was one of the primary plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against such leaders/organizations, yet he has since decided to remain well away from the limelight for security reasons, meaning we unfortunately have no clue what he’s up to these days.

Where is April Muñiz Now?

As per court documents, Mexican-American Virginia resident April was peacefully protesting on August 12 when she was harassed on several occasions before almost being hit by James’ car. As a result, she suffered severe emotional injuries and was actually ultimately diagnosed with stress disorder as well as trauma — she even had to step back from her job to deal with this ordeal. Nevertheless, from what we can tell, the mid-50-year-old has since returned to work and currently serves as a part-time Project Manager at Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance (DTRA), plus a full-time Senior Project Manager of Life Sciences Solutions at Veradigm.

Where is Thomas Baker Now?

Thomas’ experience as a peaceful counter-protester was unfortunately similar to Marcus’ in the sense he was directly hit by James’ vehicle and hurled into the air before he came crashing down. He thus suffered a concussion, torn ligament, serious hip injuries, and much more, for which he even had to undergo major surgery with the understanding he will still likely need a hip replacement relatively soon. In other words, this Charlottesville-based Conservation Biologist can not run, jump, or stand for long periods without severe pain at the moment, and it’s possible he may never regain his full strength.

Where is Chelsea Alvarado Now?

While James also struck Chelsea on August 12, 2017, her wounds were arguably much more psychological than physical, considering she endured mostly a concussion and contusions on her leg. Still, even this was undeniably unacceptable because the former was motivated by racial hate, driving the Sweet Briar College graduate to be amongst the plaintiffs against the accused. As for her current standing, it appears as if she has since earned her Master’s in Data Science through the University of Virginia’s online program (2020-2022) and now serves as a Junior Biomedical Data Scientist at The National Institutes of Health in Sterling. She also got married in 2021.

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