Greater Greater Washington

Pedestrians


Loudoun principal meets deadly crash and double standard

Last Wednesday afternoon, Loudoun County school principal Kathleen Hwang was killed while walking near her Sterling home. Media and police reporting on this tragic death exemplifies the double standard used to assess blame when automobiles and pedestrians collide.


View from the crash site in the direction of the approaching car. Photos by the author.

Ms. Hwang was hit by a westbound Dodge Durango, which an 18-year-old male was driving. She was crossing White Water Drive between Longsford Way and Levee Way.

As in many such tragic crashes, local police were quick to point out that Ms. Hwang was not in a crosswalk, implying that she was at least partially at fault. Press reports, such as in the Washington Post, and Fox 5 repeated these statements.

Despite the way police and press reports make it sound, it doesn't appear Ms. Hwang was acting carelessly when she crossed where she did. If anything, the place where she crossed looks to be safer than the crosswalk.

Virginia law (§ 46.2-923) instructs pedestrians to cross "when possible" at marked crosswalks and intersections, just as it instructs drivers never to go even 1 mph faster than the speed limit. But it also says that pedestrians are not necessarily negligent when they cross mid-block.

Pedestrians are not allowed to cross mid-block if drivers will not be able to see them §46.2-926). However, that is not true here. Quite the contrary, drivers are better able to see pedestrians here than at the unsignalized intersection to the east, which has a marked crosswalk.


Approximate site of fatal collision. Image from Google Earth.

None of the news media bothered to ask why Ms. Hwang might have chosen not to use the nearby crosswalk. The reason is apparent when one visits the site. Beyond the crosswalk, White Water Drive curves to the left and dips behind a small hill. The midblock crossing would actually be safer, because drivers have a better view.


Driver's view 330 ft away from a pedestrian at the curb. Left: Pedestrian at crash site. Right: Pedestrian at crosswalk. Click on a photo to enlarge.

If, as the police suggest, Ms. Hwang was not able to see the approaching vehicle, what significance does the crosswalk have? The car would have been even harder to see from the crosswalk. There, she would be in greater danger of inadvertently stepping in front of an approaching vehicle.

Police and media disparage victim, ignore possible driver factors

The police say that the driver was not speeding. The stopping distance for a Dodge Durango moving at the 35-mph speed limit, allowing 2 seconds reaction time, is 142 feet. Visibility at the crash site is more than 330 feet, so an attentive driver moving at the speed limit had room to stop. Why did the police not address stopping distance, something far more relevant than the crosswalk location, in their public statement?

The police and the Post article also took the trouble to report that Ms. Hwang was wearing earphones. They did not describe her other attire. This detail has no relevance except as a hintquickly seized on in comment threadsthat she was at fault for not paying attention to the road.

There is no mention of whether the driver had a car radio on, and I don't recall the Post ever mentioning car radios in reporting on a crash. Music, in general, is equally distracting whether one is walking or driving, but a pedestrian, whose carelessness will not harm others, does not have the same obligations as someone in control of a ton of fast-moving steel. And in this case, it's much easier to imagine that an 18-year-old new driver might have been oblivious to his surroundings than a 60-year-old school principal.

Many small changes in the circumstances could have avoided this tragedy. Clearly, had Ms. Hwang not crossed at this time, it wouldn't have happened, and pedestrians always need to recognize that they are vulnerable crossing the street. It is safer not to have music interfering with one's ability to hear. But had the driver been traveling slower or noticed Ms. Hwang earlier, he might also have been able to avoid the crash.

What police and the media should never do is automatically assume that anyone crossing outside a crosswalk or wearing earphones is to blame. Pedestrians deserve the same opportunities as drivers to use the streets without being killed, and even to listen to music while they are doing it.

Ben Ross was president of the Action Committee for Transit for 15 years. His new book about the politics of urbanism and transit, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, is published by Oxford University Press. 

Comments

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Great investigation. Thank you for this. The picture speaks for itself. The line of sight is the problem here. The truth is the only negligent party is VDOT for being the department of roadways, not the department of TRANSPORTATION

by Tysons Engineer on Nov 26, 2012 1:03 pm • linkreport

I don't understand the "double standard" here. Better yet, I don't think the "double standard" really applies here because there is never a 1 to 1 in these situations.

I don't believe I've ever read a story where a driver killed a pedestrian and was reported that the driver had the music too loud. Sure, I've read countless ones discussing "distracted" drivers but that's usually when auto hits auto or auto wraps around a tree.

It seems as if the pedestrian was not in the crosswalk and wore earphones. Why must the media be equitable and point out whether the driver had their radio on?

I think you are pushing the limit here and fabricating a story based on very, very unrealistic expectations.

And based on what you wrote here, the "media" didn't disparage the driver. I didn't read all the comments but People who commented on the story pointed at that she was in error and that error led to her death. That's more factual than disparaging.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 1:05 pm • linkreport

From the article..."Music, in general, is equally distracting whether one is walking or driving...." This just doesn't ring true. If you're walking with headphones they cut you off from the surrounding noises of the world, be it the road or another car, or a person yelling to you that there is a car coming. If you're listening to a radio in a car, at a reasonable level, then you can still hear the horn of another car or other road noises.

If the crossing is so dangerous, petition to have VDOT address it. Certainly the driver has to be alert and able to control their vehicle but pedestrians, and cyclists for that mater, should avoid cutting themselves off from their surroundings by using headphones while in route.

by Dan on Nov 26, 2012 1:23 pm • linkreport

Hwang crossed outside a crosswalk, wearing earphones. She acted irresponsibly, set a bad example for her pupils and could have expected this /end thread.

by Arlington on Nov 26, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

The comments citing Hwang's failure to use the crosswalk fail to address whether it would in fact have been safer for her to use the crosswalk.

by johnleemk on Nov 26, 2012 1:35 pm • linkreport

I agree headphones while crossing is a bad idea, but folks are seriously underestimating the issues with crosswalk visibility, and other issues with crosswalk location, and protection.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 26, 2012 1:37 pm • linkreport

So the one fact we know about the victim absolutely negates anything we don't know about the driver?

Ok.

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 1:43 pm • linkreport

Wow, this article presents a curious point of view for sure. Say this out loud:

"Woman wearing headphones is struck crossing a four lane road, not at crosswalk, during the middle of the day by a vehicle that was apparently going the speed limit."

Most people would read about these circumstances and see a tragedy where, by all reports, a woman put herself in a less than safe situation and was struck by a vehicle operating within the speed limit. Others look at the reporting of innocuous facts and somehow see an assignment of pedestrian blame and non-existent double standards. All of this done with some speculation (e.g. the woman's supposed reasoning for not using the crosswalk) and irrelevant facts (e.g. providing the stopping distance for the vehicle) to get there too.

Raise your hand if you think it's safe to cross a four lane road with a 35 mph speed limit while wearing headphones?

by Fitz on Nov 26, 2012 1:44 pm • linkreport

Moreover, why are so we concerned about who is at fault when we should be focusing (as a society) how to prevent such collisions in the first place.

We can postulate all day about certain conditions of the crash but that doesn't do much to advance the larger conversation that the way we design roadways and neighborhoods.

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 1:46 pm • linkreport

Thanks for tracking all this down. When I read the Post yesterday, my first thought was to wonder whether she really was not in a crosswalk, or was in an unmarked crosswalk.

Until two years ago, the Maryland State Police would regularly make announcements that seemed to blame the cyclist after a fatal accident, while failing to note driver error. In their heart of hearts, the police were trying to be helpful--they thought they were providing important safety warnings that might save another cyclist (wear a helmet, wear reflective material, etc.). Indeed, if something that many people do is truly unsafe, there can be some value in warming people about the consequences when a tragedy occurs.

If the goal is to provide public information warnings, then it is reasonable to mention what both the victim and driver were doing that contributed to the risk. In some cases, the police are reluctant to say what the driver did wrong, because they are still investigating a possible crime and feel that criticizing the driver makes him less likely to provide incriminating information.

If the driver is subsequently charged, then perhaps we should give the police the benefit of the doubt. The driver in the Natasha Pettigrew case was eventually convicted, and as mad as we all were with the police making seemingly prejudicial statements against Ms. Pettigrew, maybe it was worth it if those public statements helped in their efforts to elicit the statements that helped get her killer convicted.

Conversely, if the driver is never charged, then the one-sided account does a serious disservice to everybody. The driver was probably negligent in this case--or worse.

Nevertheless, the Maryland State Police changed their approach to post-accident statements to avoid the appearance of criticizing victims in the immediate aftermath of a fatal crash before the families have buried their loved one or the investigation has even been conducted. The Police in Virginia should do likewise, and all of us need to encourage the Post to do a better job.

by JimT on Nov 26, 2012 1:53 pm • linkreport

Raise your hand if you think it's safe to cross a four lane road with a 35 mph speed limit while wearing headphones?

Why is the use of headphones the trump card here?

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 1:55 pm • linkreport

@drumz;@tysons engineer, +1.

Q. were her earphones turned on? Perhaps she turned off her device to cross the street. No one knows. Its just as likely that she didn't turn it off as she did, so give up on that as a reason to blame her.

I know from the data that teenagers are disproportionately involved in fatal crashes. This drivers reaction time would probably be significantly longer than 2 secs or the avg.; and/or its likely his judgement of the best course of action may not be that of a 40 y.o. experienced driver.

In any case, again I agree w/ both @drumz and @t.e. that road design played a huge part in this crash and we should ask "how to design to prevent these crashes" instead of assigning blame.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

Nautical Rules of the Road dictate that powered vessels must steer clear of sailing vessels. The powered vessel is termed the "burdened vessel," for it is the responsibility of that vessel to steer clear of the sailing vessel.

The same should be said of automobiles [the burdened vessel] and pedestrians. These Nautical Rules of the Road have been in force for nearly 150 years for a reason - they make sense.

I'd also like to know if the driver was talking on a cellular phone while driving. An 18 year old is not an experienced driver by any standard.

by Capt. Hilts on Nov 26, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

@drumz, because all evidence (witnesses say that she was very badly mangled, the car did not brake, and that she was killed), points to the fact that she stepped right in front of the car, and that the driver did not have a chance to hit the brakes. If she did not have headphones on she probably would have heard the car coming.

But I agree with your earlier post, we should discuss how we can prevent situations like this. For example, more awareness about the effects of wandering into traffic, and not following traffic laws. At least she left her pupils a strong cautionary tale.

by Arlington on Nov 26, 2012 2:02 pm • linkreport

Of course, if the victim had been a latino man, this would not have been reported on at all.

by truthsayer on Nov 26, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

Drumz, I never said or insinuated headphones were the trump card. Headphones distract pedestrians from their surroundings, so is it unreasonable to assume that this probably contributed to the accident?

by Fitz on Nov 26, 2012 2:04 pm • linkreport

I regularly walk with headphones. I regularly drive with my radio on. Why do we assume that my headphones are too loud for me to hear traffic but my car radio isn't?

Also, if the driver was going the speed limit on a clear day, why was he not able to stop his vehicle in time? Was he distracted by something in the car? Out of the car? Was the sun at an odd angle?

I think the point of this post is that the latter questions haven't been answered yet, so why is the pedestrian automatically getting the blame?

by Colleen on Nov 26, 2012 2:04 pm • linkreport

The police say that the driver was not speeding. The stopping distance for a Dodge Durango moving at the 35-mph speed limit, allowing 2 seconds reaction time, is 142 feet. Visibility at the crash site is more than 330 feet, so an attentive driver moving at the speed limit had room to stop. Why did the police not address stopping distance, something far more relevant than the crosswalk location, in their public statement?
Doesn't this assume the person is standing in the middle of the road when the vehicle is 142 or more feet away?

by selxic on Nov 26, 2012 2:16 pm • linkreport

I like how "the car did not brake" is evidence for the pedestrian must have done something wrong.

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 2:18 pm • linkreport

Virginia law (§ 46.2-923) instructs pedestrians to cross "when possible" at marked crosswalks and intersections, just as it instructs drivers never to go even 1 mph faster than the speed limit. But it also says that pedestrians are not necessarily negligent when they cross mid-block.

Actually, what the law says is that pedestrians are not necessarily negligent (by matter of law) when they cross mid-block between intersections that contain no marked crosswalks. The law says that they should cross whereever possible "only at intersections of marked crosswalks" (for some reason your paraphrase of the law left out the word 'only').

In this case, Hwang chose to cross mid-block between two intersections with marked crosswalks, even though crossing at the marked intersection was entirely feasible.

None of the news media bothered to ask why Ms. Hwang might have chosen not to use the nearby crosswalk. The reason is apparent when one visits the site... The midblock crossing would actually be safer, because drivers have a better view.

Well, we don't really know much about the driver's actual visibility (such as hard afternoon glare at 3:15pm when the accident occurred). We also don't know why Hwang chose to cross mid-block. Perhaps she did it so that drivers could see her (less likely) or perhaps she did it because that was the most direct route for her (more likely).

Also, you are speculating that if the driver were adjusting the radio or playing music too loud, then he was probably driving carelessly -- but there is not much evidence to support this. Perhaps the conditions of the scenario and its outcome would not have hinged on whether the driver was adjusting a radio.

by Scoot on Nov 26, 2012 2:38 pm • linkreport

Er, not to be overly grim, but is that a blood stain on the road depicted in the first picture?

Just glancing through the photos provided, it's obvious (at least to me) this road is to be crossed carefully, even in light traffic. At 35 mph, vehicles bear down on a particular point in no time.

This is a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the woman's family and to the students at the elementary school.

by Sage on Nov 26, 2012 2:38 pm • linkreport

The boy who hit the woman is one of my closet friends and he did not see the woman, stop blaming him for the accident when he is clearly traumatized and is unable to get in a car yet so stfu

by Jlo on Nov 26, 2012 2:38 pm • linkreport

I like how "the car did not brake" is evidence for the pedestrian must have done something wrong.

Absolutely. Also, that and the fact that the victim was horribly mangled and killed is dispositive evidence that the driver obviously was going *below* the speed limit. Also, too, because the police didn't say he was going *over* the speed limit, therefore he was going below the speed limit.

Also, obviously if he was going the speed limit, that speed limit is perfectly appropriate because if only stupid pedestrians would GTFOOMY I wouldn't run them over.

This comment thread is like a case study in projection and in-group / out-group finger-pointing. Obviously we're allowed to speculate wildly about the behavior of the pedestrian because, well, you know how those people are.

On the other hand, we must never, ever speculate about the driver's behavior, because it's very likely he was behaving in a fine upstanding manner, as we do.

Or, to paraphrase @Arlington, she was asking for it, what with trying to cross the road and wearing headphones and all.

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

Scoot: the law does not require the pedestrian to cross at a marked cross-walk just because it is "feasible" to do so. It is feasible to drive from DC to California, but most prefer to fly because it far easier.

Jlo: sorry about your friend. It must be hard for him. At the same time, I gotta ask: why did he not see the victim?

by SJE on Nov 26, 2012 2:48 pm • linkreport

Jlo - "not seeing" does not automatically excuse fault.

by engrish_major on Nov 26, 2012 2:53 pm • linkreport

@oboe When you wander into traffic, with headphones on, outside of a designated crossing, without ensuring that you can safely make it across, you are indeed "asking for it".

Reducing the speed limit, or changing the markings on the road do not matter if pedestrians don't practice self preservation. On your other point, the article and many comments here are seeking to blame the driver, which terribly annoys me. The poor guy was in complete shock after the incident, and will live with this the rest of his life.

That is not to say that drivers often blatantly disregard laws as well, and this needs to be addressed as too, but the writer of the article chose a bad example to make his case.

by Arlington on Nov 26, 2012 2:57 pm • linkreport

@SJE - I really think "because he was only 18" is the answer. I think youth and inexperience were major contributors to this crash, in addition to road design (he was failed by his county and state that fully expected mixed use on this road yet failed to design it for successful sharing) and prevailing cultural attitudes/lack of education (I doubt he was trained to always expect and watch out for and defer to people walking).

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 2:57 pm • linkreport

...wander into traffic...? @Arlington, you are slandering the character of Ms Hwang.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 3:00 pm • linkreport

@Tina: How are closely spaced marked crosswalks not an adequate accommodation for the "mixed use" that you believe was "expected" by state and local authorities?

by jimble on Nov 26, 2012 3:04 pm • linkreport

Scoot: the law does not require the pedestrian to cross at a marked cross-walk just because it is "feasible" to do so. It is feasible to drive from DC to California, but most prefer to fly because it far easier.

The law states:

When crossing highways, pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles. They shall cross, wherever possible, only at intersections or marked crosswalks.

§ 46.2-923. How and where pedestrians to cross highways.

by Scoot on Nov 26, 2012 3:05 pm • linkreport

@jimble-did you read the Ben Ross's post?

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 3:05 pm • linkreport

@Tina: I read the post, but unfortunately didn't examine the map closely before I posted my comment. There is only one marked crosswalk visible. However, it is a short walk from the location of the accident, and Ms. Hwang was taking an unnecessary risk by not using it. There are, indeed, many places when long distances between crosswalks force pedestrians to take risks that they should not have to take. This was not one of those cases.

by jimble on Nov 26, 2012 3:13 pm • linkreport

Why does every single pedestrian accident have to be reported on by GGW as if there is some conspiracy to protect the always-guilty driver?

Here is what the article said:

"According to a preliminary investigation conducted by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Unit and information provided by independent witnesses, the pedestrian was not crossing at a crosswalk/intersection. The victim apparently did not see the oncoming SUV approaching from a curve before stepping into the roadway."

That's about as objective an assessment of the basic facts as one could ask for.

GGW's interpretation:

"local police were quick to point out that Ms. Hwang was not in a crosswalk, implying that she was at least partially at fault."

"It doesn't appear Ms. Hwang was acting carelessly when she crossed where she did."

How on earth can you say this?

Do you dispute that she was not in a crosswalk, or dispute that an eyewitness said she apparently didn't see the car?

Should the news have suppressed the location of the accident for some reason? Why? How would you propose they report this simple fact, without offending you?

Do you have information that we don't, indicating she was fully alert and acting with caution?

If you weren't there, then how on earth can you take a couple simple statements of fact: the location of the accident, and a statement from witnesses, and conclude that she was not acting carelessly?

This is pure hypocrisy. You accuse the news of a double standard, while making broad proclamations that are far beyond, and in no way attributable to, the basic information reported.

The reality is, we don't know exactly what happened, and it's entirely possible it could have been her fault. The report doesn't try to place blame, but rather reports on what is known so far.

Only you are trying to assign blame now; only you are quick to make assumptions.

by Jamie on Nov 26, 2012 3:15 pm • linkreport

When you wander into traffic, with headphones on, outside of a designated crossing, without ensuring that you can safely make it across

Wow, feeling omniscient today? That's a lot of speculation.

On your other point, the article and many comments here are seeking to blame the driver, which terribly annoys me. The poor guy was in complete shock after the incident, and will live with this the rest of his life.

Most of what I see is blaming MD DOT, and saying that we shouldn't reflexively blame the pedestrian--as you've done. As far as the driver being in shock, of course he is. He just killed someone. But that's irrelevant when assigning blame. (My guess is Ms Hwang's family feels worse)

The problem is that this shit happens far too often, but rather than make the necessary changes to our built environment and culture, most people are able to write it off by blaming the victim in the most dismissive way possible.

It's about a hair's breadth from your "she was asking for it because she had headphones on" to arguing any pedestrian is asking for it because "Why would anyone walk out in Sprawlsville? You must have a death wish?"

Also, we must never address the underlying causes because that might pose a minor inconvenience to the majority--who drive everywhere.

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 3:23 pm • linkreport

@jimble, the other major point of the article is that because of the sight lines due to a curve and hill, crossing between intersections was reasonably a safer choice. Additionally neither intersection is signalized. Do you typically see drivers slow down at un-signalized intersections even when there is a marked crosswalk, even when someone is waiting to cross? I don't. Its uncommon.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 3:24 pm • linkreport

Nearly half of pedestrians killed are in crosswalks.

Here are some statistics of a recent effort in Minnesota to try to get drivers to stop for crosswalks:

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/166496886.html?refer=y

by Capt. Hilts on Nov 26, 2012 3:25 pm • linkreport

On the subject of crosswalks: does anyone know what happened to the HAWK signal on Twinbrook Ave south of Viers Mill Road? Noticed it had been taken down recently, so that all the folks living in the apartments on the east side of the street have to cross four lanes of 40+ mph traffic to get to the rec center on the west side of Twinbrook.

When someone is inevitably run down at that crossing, I look forward to all the finger-wagging about clueless pedestrians wandering into the street.

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

@Tina: The photos in the article don't demonstrate such a marked superiority in the sighlines at the accident site as to make it a safer place to cross than the crosswalk. You are right that drivers rarely slow down at non-signalized intersections, but they do take special care to scan for pedestrians and crossing traffic, even when there is no marked crosswalk. Do they always take enough care? No, obviously. But certainly they are more likely to be watching out for pedestrians at an intersection than in the middle of the block.

by jimble on Nov 26, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

Thanks for this post - I saw/heard something about this over the weekend and it is nice to get a different perspective than the usual "blame-the-victim" description of the accident.

by grumpy on Nov 26, 2012 3:36 pm • linkreport

And here we are again, back to another round of "it's the driver/road design's blame game."

Most of us (well for sure I) have been one of those pedestrians who was totally oblivious to my surrounding by either listening to my headphones or texting while crossing. I've also been a driver who noticed irresponsible pedestrians in time enough to not hit them. I've also been the driver who has ignored pedestrians in legal crosswalks.

I also reiterate that these discussions do nothing more than continue the anti-car/anti-bike/anti-pedestrian environment often encouraged here.

If initial reports are correct, the poor woman died because she had been an irresponsible pedestrian.

Road design is 1000% irrelevant to the circumstances of her death.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 3:41 pm • linkreport

@hogwash, denying the importance of road design/ the built environment on behavior is denying a mountain of empirical evidence.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 3:45 pm • linkreport

You are right that drivers rarely slow down at non-signalized intersections, but they do take special care to scan for pedestrians and crossing traffic, even when there is no marked crosswalk.

Speaking of hilarious overgeneralizations. Really?

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 3:48 pm • linkreport

Scoot: there is a whole lot of wiggle room in "possible."

As to those who blame the victim: I agree that, at this point, we really don't know the full story of what happened. However, it is clear to me that the REPORTING is biased in favor of the motorist and does not reflect the facts as reported. The story focuses on the pedestrian's faults, and her failure to see the car, as if the driver is merely a helpless bystander with no responsibility. Failure to see or staying within the speed limit should not be the end of the story.

by SJE on Nov 26, 2012 3:52 pm • linkreport

Hogwash,

So when should we discuss road design?

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

Road design is 1000% irrelevant to the circumstances of her death.

I would disagree that road design is irrelevant to the circumstances of her death, but I think the point is that even the best-designed roads cannot always prevent accidents caused by human error.

by Scoot on Nov 26, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

Hogwash: "if initial reports are correct" gets to the nub of the issue. The "initial reports" are clear that this is the fault of the pedestrian. The facts, as known, do not support that conclusion, however.

This is not anti-car, its about all road users being responsible, and about the media and police considering their own biases when reporting.

by SJE on Nov 26, 2012 3:56 pm • linkreport

denying the importance of road design/ the built environment on behavior is denying a mountain of empirical evidence.

Sorry, I disagree. Outside of here, most discussions and debates about death, don't revolve around road design. I get that this is a "transit blog." But at some point we begin to look silly always looking for ways to blame road design/engineers for actions a pedestrian/cyclist take that contributes to their death.

I recall that the only discussion about Trayvon Martin's death was how the road design could've saved his life. W/all of the news about Zimmerman and Martin, some of us thought it appropriate to somehow scoot past Zimmerman following Martin w/a gun, and assert that "road design" could've saved is life.

Come on people, we don't have to be radical about EVERYTHING. That said, I've yet to witness a discussion here that characterizes the death caused by a driver as, "the manufacturer's decision to make a v-12 engine, led to the driver speeding...and then the death.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 4:06 pm • linkreport

Two thoughts:

(1) Because this was a fatal crash, I presume it is being thoroughly investigated by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and that the report has not yet been completed.

(2) I spend a fair amount of time walking in and near traffic as part of my job. I never assume that drivers of motor vehicles (or, for that matter, bike riders) are going to see me - even though I wear a standard safety vest when on the job and in or near live traffic.

by C. P. Zilliacus on Nov 26, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

Yeah, she clearly should have been crossing at the marked crosswalk, because drivers always slow down and stop for people waiting to cross or crossing at an unsignalized intersection!

Drivers never stop for pedestrians unless absolutely necessary, because everything about our driving instruction, driving culture, and road design subliminally says that you don't have to.

Just look at the response to the unsignalized crossing in front of the school. God forbid we paint some lines on what is already a legal crosswalk, because that might mean someone would actually stop, and people have places to go!

Most of us (well for sure I) have been one of those pedestrians who was totally oblivious to my surrounding by either listening to my headphones or texting while crossing. I've also been a driver who noticed irresponsible pedestrians in time enough to not hit them. I've also been the driver who has ignored pedestrians in legal crosswalks.

I also reiterate that these discussions do nothing more than continue the anti-car/anti-bike/anti-pedestrian environment often encouraged here.

Is this a joke? Everyone knows everyone does irresponsible things, but we shouldn't discuss the reasons for that behavior? What discussion would you like to have then!?

by MLD on Nov 26, 2012 4:11 pm • linkreport

denying the importance of road design/ the built environment on behavior is denying a mountain of empirical evidence.

"Sorry, I disagree."

You disagree with scientific evidence?

Hypothesis driven study results are "radical"?

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 4:13 pm • linkreport

This is not anti-car, its about all road users being responsible, and about the media and police considering their own biases when reporting.

@SJE, This is not anti-car, its about all road users being responsible, and about the media and police considering their own biases when reporting.

I'm not sure which "this" you're referring to but have you held the pedestrian responsible in this instance?

@drumz, So when should we discuss road design?

When there's a better case to be made that "road design" contributed to her death. If I attempt to cross Route 7 (not at a crosswalk) and end up getting killed by a car, "road design" does not have to be discussed as a reason for my death.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 4:13 pm • linkreport

In reference to a recent case, Montgomery County [MD] refused to install a crosswalk near a school because - and this is the County saying so - it creates a false sense of security.

Drivers ignore crosswalks. On Wisconsin Ave. you can even have eye contact with the driver and they still charge through even if you're already in the crosswalk.

by Capt. Hilts on Nov 26, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

When there's a better case to be made that "road design" contributed to her death. If I attempt to cross Route 7 (not at a crosswalk) and end up getting killed by a car, "road design" does not have to be discussed as a reason for my death.

So it has to be a busy road? A road with Commercial zoning? C'mon you're being obtuse. Sure it may not have been the defining factor in a collision but you're saying that discussing road design is off limits unless it meets some mystery condition. Maybe the design is appropriate and maybe its not but that can only be determined by actually talking about it.

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

Come on people, we don't have to be radical about EVERYTHING. That said, I've yet to witness a discussion here that characterizes the death caused by a driver as, "the manufacturer's decision to make a v-12 engine, led to the driver speeding...and then the death.

Oh, you silly radicals, you're crazy! Can you imagine if people picked apart highway design in some misguided attempt to reduce vehicle accidents? What a whacky world that would be.

https://bookstore.transportation.org/item_details.aspx?ID=153

In my measured opinion, the one thing has nothing to do with the other!

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 4:20 pm • linkreport

If I attempt to cross Route 7 (not at a crosswalk) and end up getting killed by a car, "road design" does not have to be discussed as a reason for my death.

Why didn't you cross at the crosswalk?

Oh, shoot! Here we go with the pesky discussing road design again!

Oy vey.

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

@Oboe this appears to be an isolated incident. If this road has more than average incidents, sure change the road design. But in this case I don't really see what road design feature could have prevented this situation, apart maybe from banning cars.

by Arlington on Nov 26, 2012 4:25 pm • linkreport

@Capt.Hilts -yes i have experienced that too. This is a result of the lack of education/prevailing culture I referenced.

@HogWash, you seem to see road design as it is, not as it could be. Road design and the built environment are fully in our power to make and change. Cars designs have changed substantially over the years to improve crash survival, as have attitudes about seatbelt wearing, drunk driving and daytime headlight use, and as have laws regarding seatbelt use, drunk driving and airbags.

We have the power to change our environment in- and outside the car to reduce carnage.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 4:25 pm • linkreport

Arlington,

This road typology (based on what I see from the pictures in the article is found literally all over the US.

Plus if the number of pedestrians is low then this incident could make the likelihood of another collision here much higher than say somewhere in downtown DC with a heavy pedestrian presence.

by drumz on Nov 26, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

From my POV, saying headphones make a hearing person unable to safely cross a road is equal to saying a deaf person is unable to safely cross a road.

by dcseain on Nov 26, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

As someone who frequently walks in the VA suburbs, often the safest place to cross is not in the crosswalk. This is due to cars not yielding, let alone looking, for pedestrians at crosswalks. Crossing mid-block the traffic lights create gaps that are easier to cross, especially if there's a median.

by dcseain on Nov 26, 2012 4:31 pm • linkreport

@MLD, Everyone knows everyone does irresponsible things, but we shouldn't discuss the reasons for that behavior? What discussion would you like to have then!?

Sure we can discuss it. The problem here is that most times road design too often doubles as our excuse why a pedestrian shouldn't be faulted for making his/her own decision. I've been posting here a couple of years now and don't recall a single instance where we discussed pedestrian behavior and how it contributes to the number of traffic death. But since most of you have much more insight into stuff like this, I'm sure someone can point me to that discussion. FWIW, I'm inclined to believe that a discussion about "pedestrian behavior" would not be received very well for the same reasons many of you illuminate here: blaming the victim.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

@Arlington-what road design feature could have prevented this situation Some suggestions:
1)a narrower road bed so driving 35-40mph isn't so comfortable. Nearly everyone will be killed when struck by a car going 40mph. 2)signalized crosswalks.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

@Oboe: Speaking of hilarious overgeneralizations. Really?

Try reading what I wrote next: Do they always take enough care? No, obviously.

I know from my own experience behind the wheel, and what I've observed in the behavior of others, that drivers tend to be much more alert to the likelihood of pedestrians crossing the road at an intersection than they are in the middle of the block. Do you deny that?

by jimble on Nov 26, 2012 4:33 pm • linkreport

Im not sure the problem is road design, or the larger urban planning issues. Given low densities and segregated uses, its almost inevitable that the SOV will be the means for most trips, and will be given priority - and so there will be limits to numbers of crosswalks, protection for crosswalks, etc,etc. I'm not sure the engineers are to blame here as much as the larger paradigm expressed in LoCo (which at least has sidewalks for short recreational walks, but is not as friendly to longer transportation walks AFAICT)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 26, 2012 4:35 pm • linkreport

Why do we have to have a "fault" !? Sometimes it just has to be an accident. I believe its a tragic event for all involved.

by Barb J on Nov 26, 2012 4:40 pm • linkreport

@Barb J - its a preventable death. The cause is multifactorial including human behavior and cultural attitudes. I think its a cop-out to say "its unpreventable". Anything caused by human behavior is by definition preventable.

Again, thousands of deaths are prevented by seatbelt use and airbags. Before the normalization of those devices there were people asking the question, "how can we reduce this crash carnage?" Designs changed and so did attitudes about adopting those new designs.

I and others are asking that question now and we believe, I believe, that road design and cultural attitudes about driving and walking contributed to this fatality.

To wit, approximately 12% of trips are made by foot but pedestrians represent ~14% of fatalities; coincidentally less than 1.5% of transportation budgets are dedicated to pedestrian infrastructure. Its a matter of equity that has life and death consequences.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 4:53 pm • linkreport

@HogWash, you seem to see road design as it is, not as it could be.

Can't argue too much w/that assessment. I also don't think my view differs from the overwhelming majority of the world's population.

As I mentioned above, when the "Trayvon Martin" post surfaced there were several (I believe you as well) who thought it was at least "appropriate" to discuss how better road design could've saved his life. The problem then was that there was absolutely no evidence to support that assumption..none at all. Even when pressed, no one ever came up w/even "reasonable" case as to how RD mattered.

Here, nothing gives us any reason to believe that road design could've stopped the pedestrian from crossing through an unmarked crosswalk, while wearing headphones.

Sure we can always discuss road design. Whether it's always appropriate is another story. The people who've jumped off the WWBridge aren't victims of the bridge's poor architectural design.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 4:53 pm • linkreport

Hogwash :I'm not sure which "this" you're referring to but have you held the pedestrian responsible in this instance?"

I agree that pedestrians have a responsibility, not only for their own safety, but to ensure that their irresponsible behavior does not endanger others.

My concern is that the ARTICLE reads like a cautionary tale of what not to do as a pedestrian, assuming that ALL responsiblity/irresponsibility is on the pedestrian. Where is the searching analysis of what else could have been a contributing factor? Doesn't it seem odd that "speed was not a factor" yet she was killed without the driver seeing her. Why was the driver unable to see her?

Lets look at this situation from another perspective.

A gun is designed to kill people, and a police officer is trained to handle a gun. If a police officer discharges his weapon and kills someone, the officer is often assigned to desk duty while they check out the story. We need to be sure that the officer was acting appropriately, and the gun is in proper working order.

A car is NOT designed to kill people, and drivers are not trained nor authorized to kill people. Yet, when a driver kills someone, we are expected to just take the word of the driver. Why don't we take as much care to prevent road deaths that we take to prevent police killings?

by SJE on Nov 26, 2012 4:54 pm • linkreport

Hogwash, your analogy to bridge jumpers is inapt.
1. A bridge jumper is trying to kill themselves. In that situation, we should not worrry about design. Likewise, road design is irrelevant if people are committing suicide by jumping in front of cars. If, however, people FELL off a bridge, we would be concerned about bridge design. Similarly, if people are killed crossing the road, and there is no suggestion of suicide, road design is relevant.

2. We retrofit bridges with nets and barriers to prevent suicide. So, even if people jump off bridges, we DO try and prevent deaths. If we go to such efforts to limit bridge-jumping deaths, why not at least ask questions about limiting the far more numerous road deaths?

by SJE on Nov 26, 2012 5:02 pm • linkreport

Can't argue too much w/that assessment. I also don't think my view differs from the overwhelming majority of the world's population.

Roads and the rest of the built environment are created by people - are you suggesting that somehow people don't have the power to change these things?

As I mentioned above, when the "Trayvon Martin" post surfaced there were several (I believe you as well) who thought it was at least "appropriate" to discuss how better road design could've saved his life. The problem then was that there was absolutely no evidence to support that assumption..none at all. Even when pressed, no one ever came up w/even "reasonable" case as to how RD mattered.

Off topic, but the discussion was not about road design, it was about how creating a society where everybody drives makes anyone walking from one place to another a suspicious outsider. And it's not wrong to look at lesser conflating reasons in the case, that is reasons other than race, which was reported by all.

by MLD on Nov 26, 2012 5:05 pm • linkreport

For every 10 articles on The Washington Post's website describing motor vehicle accidents, maybe one will describe the vehicle as being operated by an actual, live human being. The rest describe some sort of autonomous, 2-ton, glass and steel vehicle that happened (all on their own) to hurt or kill or maim someone somewhere. It's like that in every other newspaper I've ever read as well.
I think that's the main point of this story. When the perpetrators of road violence are drivers, that's not (usually) how the story is framed. We say "A car went off the road" OR "a truck ran into a wall" instead of saying "The driver of a car/truck went off the road/ran into a wall..." I think David (?) wrote a little something to this effect a while back.

by thump on Nov 26, 2012 5:07 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash, iirc the post asked the question, "could built environment design have influenced the interaction"? It was posed as an exploration of an idea. There was no assumption; it was a discussion of how the built environment shapes individuals' behavior and attitudes. The prevailing idea/Q. was. "if Zimmerman lived in a world where he was accustomed to seeing many teenagers walking around, would he have been the same suspicious, racist SOB when he saw this kid walking?" This idea-question is predicated on the vetted concept of walkable areas putting "eyes on the street" (see Jane Jacobs).

In the current bloody incident the road design influenced the driver too, not just the pedestrian, as is always the case. The road design, the built environment, was a major factor in how they interacted with one another.

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 5:10 pm • linkreport

Hogwash, your analogy to bridge jumpers is inapt.

Point taken. I'm assuming there's a mountain of evidence leading us to the conclusion that road design was a dominant factor in this tragedy? If RD is relevant, where's the corresponding evidence?

Doesn't it seem odd that "speed was not a factor" yet she was killed without the driver seeing her

Not at all. A person can be killed by a car going 10 miles per hour...and that's not speeding.

My concern is that the ARTICLE reads like a cautionary tale of what not to do as a pedestrian, assuming that ALL responsiblity/irresponsibility is on the pedestrian.

Really? That's odd. What I got from the article is an attempt to shift any responsibility from the pedestrian to blaming the media...and asking why we don't know more about the driver

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 5:17 pm • linkreport

@Tina,

Again, thousands of deaths are prevented by seatbelt use and airbags. Before the normalization of those devices there were people asking the question, "how can we reduce this crash carnage?" Designs changed and so did attitudes about adopting those new designs.

And don't forget the huge body of "best practices" for highway/roadway design. Thousands of deaths have been prevented over the years by implementing safer design. (Google AASHTO Design Guides).

Pedestrian infrastructure (and bike infrastructure) tends to be ad hoc and of the "whatever's left over" variety.

by Oboe on Nov 26, 2012 5:23 pm • linkreport

- @MLD but the discussion was not about road design, it was about how creating a society where everybody drives makes anyone walking from one place to another a suspicious outsider.
- @Tina,<> iirc the post asked the question, "could built environment design have influenced the interaction"? It was posed as an exploration of an idea.

Not sure what "iirc" means but assuming you're talking about the Trayvon article,

The blurb from the posting read: "The design of Sanford, Florida, makes anyone who is walking seem like a suspicious character. With good sidewalks and places to walk, there might have been "eyes on the street" that would have prevented Trayvon Martin's death.

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 5:23 pm • linkreport

Something I'm curious about: There's a pedestrian crossing sign before the marked crosswalk near the accident scene. Has any research been done on the effectiveness of such signs? Do they reduce pedestrian accident rates, or do they just make traffic engineers sleep better at night?

by jimble on Nov 26, 2012 5:24 pm • linkreport

The design of Sanford, Florida, makes anyone who is walking seem like a suspicious character. With good sidewalks and places to walk, there might have been "eyes on the street" that would have prevented Trayvon Martin's death.

What "design" is the blurb talking about here? Sidewalk design?

by HogWash on Nov 26, 2012 5:25 pm • linkreport

@Tina, and others...Its just interesting how all kinds of great ideas come out when there's a tragic event....lets think of these things but put them on another forum, not where those involved have to see all the pointless debate...put your actions where you words are!!! Get off these sites and make a difference.

by Barb J on Nov 26, 2012 5:29 pm • linkreport

barb - this blog IS about transportation and urban design issues, for the most part. Its designed to influence the dialog on specifically those issues. I am not sure how those involved have to see the debate here. and rest assured, many folks who post here are active in the real world trying to change things.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 26, 2012 5:36 pm • linkreport

@Arlington-what road design feature could have prevented this situation Some suggestions:
1)a narrower road bed so driving 35-40mph isn't so comfortable. Nearly everyone will be killed when struck by a car going 40mph. 2)signalized crosswalks.

A signalized crosswalk would not have prevented this accident because, as noted, the victim crossed mid-block. Perhaps she would have been persuaded to cross at a crosswalk if it were signalized, but who knows?

As for designing roads for lower speeds -- I agree, but you have to consider the use of the surrounding infrastructure.
Sterling is an exurban, auto-oriented community, and people live there because they actually like it that way. This is not an excuse for speeding or otherwise designing dangerous roads, but it should be kept in mind when designing new developments. Everyone deserves to be able to safely travel by any reasonable mode they wish - walk, bike, or car -- but the same traffic calming methods we apply to densely populated urban areas may not be appropriate for exurbs.

by Scoot on Nov 26, 2012 5:46 pm • linkreport

@HogWash "if I recall correctly" (iirc)

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 6:01 pm • linkreport

@Scoot -Perhaps she would have been persuaded to cross at a crosswalk if it were signalized,

yes thats what I meant. The post indicates for her the sightlines were better between crosswalks b/c of the geography (a hill and curve).

We know from studies that where there is a pedestrian call that gets a near immediate response (like the one on 7th &Bryant StNW at HU -love that signal!) people use it and cross with the light. Thus we can reasonably infer that with a signal like that at that crosswalk the likelihood of any pedestrian using that crosswalk would go up.

She had a choice of waiting to cross somewhere with poorer or better sight-lines with the knowledge that most drivers would not slow or stop for her at the crosswalk anyway. She choose the spot with better sight-lines. She could have pressed a button, gotten a response in a reasonable amount of time (there is abundant data indicating what the threshold is) and gone across with a green light. In that case a sign below the grade/around the curve saying "signal ahead-prepare to stop" would be helpful to drivers.

Several studies indicate, even among exurban dwellers, that people greatly overestimate what proportion of transportation funds are spent on pedestrian infrastructure and when they learn what it actually is they indicate they think a greater proportion of transportation funds should be dedicated to pedestrian infrastructure.

This was found across political allegiances in rural, urban and suburban populations. People want to be safe wherever they live. Everyone is a pedestrian.
http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2012/sep/19/study-bipartisan-accedence-support-biking-infrastr/

by Tina on Nov 26, 2012 6:26 pm • linkreport

"...but a pedestrian, whose carelessness will not harm others, does not have the same obligations as someone in control of a ton of fast-moving steel."

ARE YOU SERIOUS? Are you really trying to imply that an 18 who killed a respected member of his community would not be significantly scarred by it for the rest of his life?? I fully understand not blaming the victim, but you're suggesting that the driver got off scotch-free, which is absolutely not the case. Yes, he was not physically injured, but he will absolutely have emotional scars because of this for the rest of his life.

No one was a winner in this situation. It is horrible that a woman lost her life. But acting like it has no effect on the driver is disgusting.

by NT on Nov 27, 2012 9:34 am • linkreport

@NT- ..acting like it has no effect on the driver..

There is not one comment in this thread that suggests this, or even implies it.

You have seriously misinterpreted the thrust of this discussion and the earnest serious concern most commenters have displayed in seeking methods to prevent another preventable tragedy like this.

by Tina on Nov 27, 2012 10:42 am • linkreport

@oboe - Pedestrian infrastructure (and bike infrastructure) tends to be ad hoc

There is a study (open availability) in the most current Am.J. of Public Health examining types of infrastructure and crash risk to bicyclists.

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762

One of the unique methods in this study is that it differentiates types of non-automobile accessible infrastructure whereas historically all the different types were combined into one category, including sidewalks. The result of this historic sloppy methodology is that crash risk for bike only infrastructure was over-estimated. This resulted in for the last 40years planners thought bike-only tracks had a higher crash risk than say multi-use paths or non separated street bike lanes. This has driven how bike infrastructure was viewed and planned and built in north America (when the crumbs from the table of funding fell to non-motorized infrastructure) for the last 4 decades and helps explain why European cities/towns have so much more emphasis on bike-only infrastructure. It also illustrates the problem of having non-bike riders doing research on biking. Anyone who rides regularly would immediately see the problem of collapsing sidewalks and cycle tracks into one category.

by Tina on Nov 27, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

Several studies indicate, even among exurban dwellers, that people greatly overestimate what proportion of transportation funds are spent on pedestrian infrastructure and when they learn what it actually is they indicate they think a greater proportion of transportation funds should be dedicated to pedestrian infrastructure.

That does not mean that exurban dwellers are going to vote for politicians who will increase ped funding, or are going to support elevating such projects above auto-centric infrastructure.

Since we're talking about what studies indicate, may I remind you that a lot of studies indicate that people often want to see more funding for infrastructure but don't actually want to pay for it themselves. The public often vacillates and contradicts itself when it comes to supporting government projects, including infrastructure. That's why such studies showing how the public "thinks" tax money should be spent ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Take a look at the leaders that the people of Loudon County have elected to handle transportation policy.

by Scoot on Nov 27, 2012 11:51 am • linkreport

This is about distribution of funds, not increasing funds. There's a big difference. i'm not disputing the cognitive dissonance seen in polls and voting.

But there is not cognitive dissonance in overestimating what proportion is currently spent on ped, then, upon learning what the actual distribution is, stating that available funds ought to be distributed differently - that's what the study I referenced indicated.

Also, historically bike-ped infrastructure has had strong and extensive bi-partisan support at the local level.

by Tina on Nov 27, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

@ Tina "There is not one comment in this thread that suggests this, or even implies it."

Tina, the ARTICLE implies it. I never mentioned any commentor in my remarks. I'm fully aware that many of the people commenting on this article have done so in a thoughtful manner. My beef is with the blase attitude the author of the article took toward the impact that striking a pedestrian has on the diver.

by NT on Nov 27, 2012 3:09 pm • linkreport

@NT- would you mind explaining how the sentence you copied "...but a pedestrian, whose carelessness will not harm others, does not have the same obligations as someone in control of a ton of fast-moving steel" , or any other sentence from the article, implies the driver "would not be significantly scarred" and that "the driver got off scotch-free", and suggests there was "no effect on the driver", because I really don't see it.

I see that sentence as asserting that a driver, any driver of a car, including this one, has greater responsibility for the shared safety of all road users than does a road user who is not driving a car. There's no mention about the interior world or feelings or thoughts or emotional state about the driver. None.

by Tina on Nov 27, 2012 4:01 pm • linkreport

@Tina
Perhaps if I remove all the other clauses in the sentence it will become clearer...

"...but a pedestrian, whose carelessness will not harm others"

The simple fact is that the carelessness CAN and DOES harm others. That is what I am taking issue with. It is something that the driver will have to live with the rest of his life, and the author seems to be brushing it off as inconsequential.

by NT on Nov 27, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

NT -I read it completely differently:
"...but a pedestrian, whose carelessness will not cause bodily harm [to] others..".

The emotional experience of the driver is neither mentioned nor denied; its not broached.

No one disputes the experience for this young man is awful. His personal experience is not the subject. The subject is "what modifiable conditions contributed to this crash?" and "what conditions in the built environment and social environment can be modified to prevent this type of preventable fatality?".

by Tina on Nov 27, 2012 4:27 pm • linkreport

sorry didn't close ital.

by Tina on Nov 27, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

...so either:

A. She jumped out in the middle of traffic/into the car's way and there was no way to stop, so he couldn't brake.

or

B. She was crossing, thought the driver would slow down enough, and he didn't see her so he didn't.

There's not really any other explanation, at least that I can think of - it's not like he swerved across the lanes to hit her or something.

That said, if she jumped out like 10 feet in front of the car, that's terrible, a tragedy, and I feel for the guy who hit her. On the other hand, if she was crossing in what anybody would say is a reasonable manner, and he hit her because he did not see her, then I have zero sympathy for him.

It's like when you rear-end someone - it's always your fault, because you should have left enough space to brake while also paying enough attention to react in a timely manner.

If she jumped out, what could he do? If she was crossing reasonably at all, then it's his fault for not paying enough attention, and all the people who keeps posting here who know him need to f off.

18 is an adult, and he can take responsibility for his actions - we were keeping this objective, but you all dragged him personally into this, and quite frankly, I think the idea that she threw herself in front of his car is horseship.

I know the girl that killed the MPD officer in Georgetown back in circa 2004, so don't come crying to me about how butthurt this kid is - no duh, he killed someone - and having grown up in Sterling, I know how ridiculously easy it should be to not run over someone who's not throwing themselves in front of your vehicle. I mean, the lanes are like 15 feet wide here, and it wasn't nighttime.

by MJB on Nov 27, 2012 4:36 pm • linkreport

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