Dunbar blacks out at candidate forum after ‘serious’ car crash

Councilwoman and mayoral candidate outlines ‘history with migraines’

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WEDNESDAY, June 9 — Lansing City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Kathie Dunbar blacked out during a virtual candidate forum hosted last week by the Eastside Neighborhood Organization following a car crash that took place sometime over Memorial Day weekend.

Dunbar said she began “feeling a little faint” about halfway through the June 2 candidate forum in the midst of answering a question about job creation in Lansing. She was seen clutching her chest before turning off her camera, appearing dazed when she returned a few moments later.

“Everybody is coming to check on me right now,” Dunbar said. “I’m going to go off camera.”

Dunbar’s friend Emily Dievendorf, who also manages the South Lansing Farmers Market through Dunbar’s nonprofit organization, later appeared to explain the situation to viewers.

“She is not feeling well right now, not recovering from blacking out very well,” Dievendorf said, noting that Dunbar had been in a “serious” car crash over Memorial Day weekend and was exhibiting signs of a concussion. “This episode that she is having is not normal for her.”

Dievendorf also said that Dunbar had “totaled” her vehicle in the recent car crash. 

In a statement, Dunbar said she had switched from driving a stickshift to a larger automatic vehicle later in the day, accidentally running a red light and colliding with cross traffic. The other driver wasn’t injured and the investigating police officer didn’t issue any citations, Dunbar said.

The light turned yellow, and I reacted like I was still driving a stick. I didn't correct myself in time and hit another car. It was my mistake. I made sure the other driver was OK, apologized and told the responding officer I was responsible,” Dunbar said this afternoon in a statement.

Dunbar also described her health complications as “brain freeze” in a June 6 Facebook post that also outlined a history of migraines and debilitating symptoms to go along with them.

She didn’t describe the crash, but said she initially declined medical treatment after it occurred.

“I have a history with migraines, and when enough triggers converge they can limit my vision and speech,” according to a Facebook post from Dunbar on June 6. “Given my symptoms at the forum and the fact that I may have had minor head trauma, I agreed to get checked out.”

A subsequent trip to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing showed that Dunbar’s recent episode was likely tied back to a migraine, she said on Facebook. She also said physicians advised her to avoid bright lights and too much caffeine, reduce stress levels, eat more and to get more sleep.

The details of the car crash — including precisely when and where it occurred as well as why police decided not to issue a ticket — remain unclear. Dunbar didn’t respond to questions. A records request filed under the Freedom of Information Act wasn’t immediately returned today. 

This is a developing story. Check back for more details as they become available. 

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