Posted on June 9th, 2013 1 comment
Az Republic story Liability for government-issued vehicles on the rise Stated some of the obvious; bigger, sprawly cities tend to have more driving by public-sector workers, invariably leading to more liability costs to cities/taxpayers. Just another socialized cost of sprawl and automobility.
The sidebar has some interesting dollar figures for a number of Phoenix-metro area cities (and Maricopa county), all were costs paid out by the municipality over the period from ~ 2008 through 20012. A small, compact city like Tempe clocks in at $806K, Scottsdale is up at $2M. Scottsdale at a population of ~ 221K people is somewhat larger than Tempe’s 164K; but certainly not nearly triple! But Scottsdale’s land area at 186 sq.mi. is way larger than landlocked, mostly built-out Tempe’s 40 sq.miles.
Phoenix is of course the 500 pound gorilla: $23M paid out, with 1.5M people, and a whopping 517 sq. miles of land area.
Statistically speaking, Chandler seems to have a quite-low payout ratio; $203K, 240K population and 58 sq.miles — so maybe Scottsdale is just an outlier
Posted on May 30th, 2013 No comments
Really? Oh yeah, and of course it was hit-and-run. Oh, yeah, the driver ran a red light. incident occurred 5/13/2013 around 0400.
Dead ped at a bus stop? Seriously, how often do thinkgs like this happen? Pretty often apparently. And, oh yeah, in March a suspected dui driver slammed into a Phoenix bus stop and killed 2 people — at least that guy didn’t (or couldn’t) hit-and-run.
Oh well back to the present case, excerpts:
One person is dead, a second is injured and a third is in police custody after a car plowed into a Phoenix bus stop before sunrise Monday. Police believe the driver, a 22-year-old Hispanic woman, was impaired at the time of the wreck…. According to police, a black sedan was heading north on 27th Avenue when the driver ran a red light. She swerved to avoid two cars, veered off the road and slammed into the bus stop by the 7-Eleven at Indian School Road… Harry Cleveland, 50, was sitting on the bus bench when the car hit it. He took the brunt of the impact and died about an hour later at a local hospital. A 20-year-old man who had been sitting on another bench, was taken to a local hospital, as well. His condition was not immediately available. A 19-year-old woman who also was waiting at the bus stop managed to dodge the out-of-control car and avoid injury…. Witnesses told investigators that the driver, now identified as Elsa Olivares, and the passenger ran away from the scene. Police checked the vehicle’s registration and went to the address listed. While en route to that apartment, police received a call from Olivares. After telling them she was involved in the crash, she turned herself in.
Late May, the suspect entered not-guilty pleas to all charges, the usual litany: 2nd Degree Murder, agg assault, endangerment, leaving the scene of a fatal. You can read all about it case lookup St of AZ Vs. Elsa Priscila Olivares CR-2013421459
Posted on May 29th, 2013 No comments
Phew, the horrendous news just keeps on coming
An 11-year old boy was killed May 25(?), 2013. The driver initially tried to help the victim, but then fled the scene. The boy was walking with his mother in the an apartment complex parking lot when he became pinned to a cinder block wall by a driver backing up. Killed while walking in a parking lot? Seriously, how often does stuff like this happen?
There have been a string/spate of hit-and-run incidents lately. Consider, just in the past month or two, and just in Arizona: a bicyclist seriously injured in Casa Grande last month, a Phoenix Police Officer (pedestrian) killed last week, a bicyclist near Tucson killed by a redlight runner just a few days ago, and a bicyclist killed in Phoenix just this past Friday (police are still seeking a suspect, AFAIK). I almost forgot the crazy woman last month who killed a bicyclist on Usery Pass, kept going only to run a red light a few miles later, killing a motorist. This is just a sampling, of course, there are thousands of motor vehicle hit-and-runs every year just in Arizona, and while it’s clear the pedestrian-victims are over-represented, it also includes a dozen or so motorist deaths – driver-on-driver violence.
(Special note to remember for ASDM purposes; this occurred entirely on private property)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Phoenix police said a man believed to have walked away from a hit-and-run crash that killed an 11-year-old boy turned himself in to police Tuesday morning. An 11-year-old boy has died after being pinned by a car to a block wall. Phoenix police said the driver of an Isuzu Amigo was backing out of a parking space in the south parking lot of the Fountainhead Apartments at 4326 N. 35th Ave. when he collided with the boy, who was walking with his mother.
Mabior Ding, 32, faces possible charges of manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal collision after Enoc Quejada was pinned to a cinder block wall by an SUV that was backing out of an apartment parking space, said Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump.
Police said Ding allegedly tried to back up from the Fountainhead Apartments while a security “Club” was still attached to the steering wheel and brake pedal of a 1999 Isuzu Amigo about 7:45 p.m. Friday.
Enoc was walking with his mother and became pinned between the wall and the SUV at 4326 N. 35th Ave.
Witnesses told police the suspect got out of the SUV and helped pull the child from under the vehicle, but then walked away from the scene. Witnesses told police they believe alcohol might have been a factor.
Enoc was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later from his injuries.
On March 24, a witness came to police headquarters and told police he owned the vehicle and was there when Ding drove it into the wall and fled. He claimed to have been drinking with Ding that night. On March 25, Ding came into the police station for an interview and requested an attorney.
Posted on May 28th, 2013 No comments
Friday evening, 5/24/2013, suspect and vehicle are still at large as of Monday morning
azcentral.com 58-year-old bicyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver in the 3800 block of west Bethany Home Road, according to the Phoenix Police Department.
Norberto Martinez was riding his bicycle Thursday night west in the eastbound curb lane along Bethany Home road when he was struck by a light-colored, four-door or extended cab pickup truck, police spokesman Tommy Thompson said. Martinez died of his injuries at a hospital, Thompson said.
The driver sped from the scene and was last seen entering the neighborhood east of the location, he said. The vehicle had chrome rims and was possibly white or gray.
Police is asking that anyone who may have information concerning this incident or knows who the suspect might be or where the suspect vehicle may be, to call Phoenix police at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at (480) WITNESS, (480) TESTIGO
Posted on May 25th, 2013 2 comments
I have some questions/concerns/misgivings about helmet usage as it relates to bicyclist safety and crash reports. It seems to me that it is not well-reported…
Arizona Crash Report
Curiously, given the hoopla intense interest surrounding bicyclist helmet usage, there is NO place on the ACR to report whether or not a bicyclist was using a helmet. There is a block for each traffic unit(4dd) and passenger(5c), SafetyDevice lists things like helmet/airbag/seatbelt and so forth. However, this block is always supposed to be coded 0/Not Applicable, and is explicitly never to be 1/None Used, or 5/Helmet Used for pedalcyclists. See p.23, 26 of 2010 Arizona’s Crash Report Forms Instruction Manual.
Clearly this is often coded not according to the manual, see below for some live data e.g. from 2010. We might guess that the 10% or so that say Helmet Used probably does mean those bicyclists had helmets, and likewise probably the 35% that said None Used probably means not helmet. But the other 55% is (from the data) anybody’s’ guess.
There is likewise no place on the ACR to code for nighttime crashes whether or not a bicyclist was using required lighting equipment (a front headlight or a rear taillight/reflector).
For 1994 through 2009; all persons including bicyclists and other pedalcyclists used the P10 Restraint/Helmet Use field. The column was called REST_USE in the person table.
From 2010 and later, this info was moved to a whole new dataset, the SafetyEq table. the column name is MSAFEQMT; and it’s slightly annoying because it’s indexed by ST_CASE (i.e. the case number), and person number. There can be any number of records for any given person.
The field is called NM13 Non-Motorist Safety Equipment “This element indicates the safety equipment that was used by the non-motorist
involved in the crash”, in the FAR Manual. In the FAR Validation Manual, there’s an elaborate confusing explanation of differentiating between Not Reported and Unknown. Allowable values are:
- Reflective Clothing (jacket, backpack, etc.)
- Protective Pads Used (elbows, knees, shins, etc.)
- (not used)
- Other Safety Equipment
- Not Reported
- Unknown if Used
For reference, you can see mmucc.us‘s field P23 Non-Motorist Safety Equipment from (MMUCC is a nhtsa-funded group that sets standards for data collection on traffic crash reports). This is consistent with FARS definition; except that mmucc says only two may be selected for any person, and FARS allows any number to be selected (theoretically, the vast majority have either one or two selected).
Posted on May 24th, 2013 No comments
Annoyingly I cannot find the actual article by searching The Journal of Pediatrics website jpeds.com/search/quick so we may never know… Apparently they’ve taken the tactic of flooding the internet with press releases that don’t even mention the name of the article.
In any event I am having a hard time seeing that helmet use data is well-reported, please see data-collection-of-bicyclist-helmet-use-in-crashes; if the data is not accurately collected and reported, studies such as these that simply mine FARS data seem really suspect.
From a press release (my emphasis): “Existing research shows that bicyclists who wear helmets have an 88 percent lower risk of brain injury, but researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital found that simply having bicycle helmet laws in place showed a 20 percent decrease in deaths and injuries for children younger than 16 who were in bicycle-motor vehicle collisions”
I think helmets are great; but it seems to me they are being over-sold. Here there is a general claim of an enormous reduction in TBI, and then further that there is a modest safety bump in JUST HAVING A LAW. hmmm. so many questions.
- what does rate mean? my guess is it’s population based; it would be far better if it were exposure based. I wouldn’t be surprised to see pediatric exposure has been declining. The study I noted at effects-of-bicycle-helmet-laws-on-childrens-injuries from National Bureau of Economic Research made more sense to me: helmet laws = less cycling = lower “rates” of death/injury mostly because most people figure rates based on population and not exposure
- obviously, what’s really more interesting is compliance rate, and not just whether or not a state has a law. plus how do they handle local laws(e.g. tucson and a few other Arizona cities have a minor helmet law, though there is no state law).
- helmet data in FARS; the last time i remember checking , there were a *lot* of “unknowns” in the helmet yes/no box. This should be pretty easy to check, at least for 2010 and 11 now that I have my own FARS database up and running.
- Another study out of Canada and published in BMJ found helmet laws had little to no effect; what they describe as an underlying baseline effect. “… the incremental contribution of provincial helmet legislation to reduce hospital admissions for head injuries seems to have been minimal.“
In case you were wondering here is the list of Arizona cities/jurisdictions that have MHLs: mandatory-bicycle-helmet-laws-in-arizona
Posted on May 23rd, 2013 No comments
05/23/2013 Bicyclist John Akers was struck and killed at the intersection of Mission and Irvington Road; this is near but outside of Tucson, and so Pima County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation. The driver fled the scene. Akers was on his way to work around 3:30a as a SunTran driver. Deputies located a suspect vehicle and a suspect was arrested a few hours later. The bicyclist was northbound, and the motorist was eastbound — this is a signalized intersection. Bicyclist killed in Tucson hit-and-run was SunTran driver
tucsonvelo.com has reported that ”Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy and BAC liaison Ryan Roher said via email that alcohol was involved. He said the suspect left the scene, but was later apprehended by Pima County deputies. According to Roher the cyclist was wearing a helmet and witnesses indicate the cyclist was riding ’within the law.’ ”
Posted on May 20th, 2013 No comments
May 19, 2013 ~ 3:30a, Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz was killed while “processing a DUI suspect near 51st and Cambridge avenues when he was struck by a green Ford Expedition, which then fled the scene”. azcentral.com. The story doesn’t give much detail, I would assume from what was presented he was a pedestrian, which is consistent with the picture of the SUV that struck Raetz, which police released later.
The suspect vehicle, was located a few hours later by Surprise PD, was a large, raised SUV green/gray Ford Expedition with fog lights and oversize rims Jesus Cabrera Molina, the owner of the SUV, was arrested and currently being held on unrelated drug charges; while police determine who was driving at the time of the hit-and-run. The suspect has been denied bond, as apparently he is not a US citizen. azcentral.com
Updates in a 5/23/2013 azcentral.com story: “Experts say that without an eyewitness account placing SUV owner Jesus Cabrera Molina, 24, in the driver’s seat shortly before or after Raetz was hit near Cambridge and 51st avenues, that process could take months”. The owner of the SUV isn’t cooperating with police.
Update; Molina was formally charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene on 6/4/2013. Police haven’t revealed what evidence they have that cause them to bring charges at this time.
Police work is dangerous
Although it seems obvious that police work is dangerous because there are bad guys with guns trying to kill them; roughly the same number of policeman killed in the line of duty die as the result of a traffic collision than by being shot (or stabbed). The Officer Down Memorial Page lists and categorizes all law enforcement deaths in the line of duty across the US. The exact numbers, of course, float around from year-to-year; in 2012 there were 52 gun/knife deaths (54 if you include 2 from accidental gunfire), and 48 traffic deaths (21 automobile “accident” 5 motorcycle “accident”, 6 struck by vehicle, 5 Vehicle pursuit, 11 vehicle assault — usually dui’s).
Just a couple of weeks ago on May 6, 2013 Arizona DPS officer Tim Huffman was killed when a semi-truck inexplicably slammed into his parked cruiser on I-8, on the scene of a previous collision. This was despite all sorts of flashing lights (there were numerous units on the scene for the prior crash), cones, and waving arms. The yumasun reported DPS arrested Jorge Espinoza a few days later on 2nd degree murder and a string of endangerment-type charges associated with the crash. They were mum on what factors might have been involved (impairment?). 2nd degree murder normally indicates impairment.
Posted on May 17th, 2013 1 comment
A Phoenix police officer was injured in a collision with red-light-runner at Sweetwater and 43rd Ave. The red-light-runner was described only as “elderly”. As a result of the collision, both vehicles careened out of control up and over the sidewalks, one striking a tree and another a wall. Although there were three fairly minor injuries, it appears serious injury (or fatality) was only avoided by a stroke of luck that no one was walking there. How often do cars drive up over the sidewalk?
azcentral.com news report:
A car reportedly ran a red light and slammed into a Phoenix police SUV, leaving the officer and two others injured Thursday morning, according to authorities. The police SUV was heading east on Sweetwater Avenue about 9:30 a.m., said Lt. Ben Leuschner of the Phoenix Police Department. The car, with an elderly couple inside, was going south on 43rd Avenue. The car ran a red light and slammed into the police SUV, according to police. The car ended up hitting a wall and the police SUV was pushed off the side of the road. All three people had to be extricated from their vehicles. The officer’s injuries weren’t considered serious. The conditions of the people in the car weren’t immediately available.
I don’t know anything about that area of town, however, I will comment that Sweetwater looks like a nice calm road, whereas 43rd Ave is a standard city of Phoenix car-sewer.
Tragedies just keep on coming
… A few days later on May 19th, Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz was killed while “processing a DUI suspect near 51st and Cambridge avenues when he was struck by a green Ford Expedition, which then fled the scene”. azcentral.com. The story doesn’t give much detail, i would assume from what was presented he was a pedestrian.
Posted on May 6th, 2013 No comments
On April 3, 2013, bicyclist Edward Brennan, 57, was struck from behind by SUV whose driver fled the scene. Brennan was injured, seriously from the sounds of it. [trivalleycentral.com] The vehicle’s mirror was left on the scene and was identified as a 2003-2006 Ford Expedition. On a hunch that the driver might use the same route around the same time, police staked out the area and arrested Thomas Cole Wuertz, 22, suspicion of leaving the scene of an injury accident. [trivalleycentral.com]
Case lookup reveals a number of traffic charges against the youthful suspect over the past few years; including a reckless driving charge in 2010 in Florence-Coolidge Justice court TR-20100451, to which he plead guilty.
Hooray for the Casa Grande Police Department for following up and using good, old-fashioned police work to locate the suspect vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »