Tag Archives: seriously how often does this happen

Do all Crashes “Count”?

sigh. File this under seriously how often does this happen, and ‘are cars dangerous’?

A man steps out the front door of his local CVS and gets mowed down on the sidewalk. Dead. One of the news reports said police believe the un-named female driver mixed up the gas and brake pedals. oops.

69-year-old man hit, killed by car in Sun City CVS parking lot

by Jane Lednovich – Jun. 27, 2012 10:07 AM The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

A 69-year-old man was pronounced dead after he was struck by a car Wednesday morning in Sun City, a Sheriff’s Office official said.
The four-door sedan was making a U-turn in the parking lot of a CVS pharmacy near 107th Avenue and Bell Road about 8 a.m., authorities said.
The car drove onto the curb in front of the store and ran over the man, pinning him under the front wheel of the car, Maricopa County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Brandon Jones said.
The sedan hit a parked car after striking the man, Jones said. Firefighters used airbags to lift the sedan and get the man out, but paramedics were unable to revive him, Jones said.
Witnesses told authorities the man was unresponsive while he was trapped under the car. It is unclear how long he was trapped. The CVS store is closed while officials investigate the scene, Jones said.

yourwestvalley.com has a picture showing the silver car that struck the ped at rest on the sidewalk; along with a red car that was also struck.

SUN CITY, AZ (CBS5) – A man has been killed after he was hit by a car while walking out a CVS pharmacy in Sun City, according to authorities. Sgt. Brandon Jones with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said preliminary reports are that a woman driving a tan vehicle was heading eastbound in the parking lot Wednesday morning when she decided to make a U-Turn and accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes, causing the car to accelerate. The vehicle ran over a 69-year-old man and hit a red car parked in the lot. Jones said officers found the man trapped under the tan vehicle about 20 feet from the front doors of the CVS. Once the man was pulled from under the vehicle, he was pronounced dead. The driver of the red car was not hurt. Jones said the driver of the tan vehicle has not been charged at this point. Investigators said they do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor.

Reporting Motor Vehicle crashes

There are a bunch of rules about when traffic crashes must be reported. This bears on how collision and injuries get measured and reported for statistical purposes.

Arizona Statutes

There are statutes that spell out, at a minimum, what all law enforcement agencies in Arizona must report on, reports must be filed with “the Department” (i.e. ADOT). ADOT then collates and tablulates this data — see adot-traffic-collision-database. Somehow or other ADOT forwards this the feds for national statistical purposes, for example, in the case of fatalities see FARS.

ARS §28-667 Written accident report; definition says that any “law enforcement officer or public employee who, in the regular course of duty, investigates a motor vehicle accident resulting in bodily injury, death or damage to the property of any person in excess of one thousand dollars or the issuance of a citation shall complete a written report of the accident” (667A) and that the agency employing the officer  “Shall immediately forward a copy of the report to the department of transportation for its use” (667C5). Continue reading Do all Crashes “Count”?

They Drive among Us

 

photo: AFN
photo: AFN

Story and pic from the Ahwatukee Foothill News.  Note that this turn the driver inexplicably failed to execute has an enormous radius. I note that police are unsure if any of this is illegal, how about “failure to control”? :

Car lands on Lakewood fountain, Doug Murphy, 2010-04-12 (that date seems wrong)

A crash Saturday afternoon stopped traffic when a crane was brought in to remove the vehicle off the fountain at the entrance to the Lakewood area….

“It appears she was going to make a turn on 38thStreet and apparently her speed was too fast, or she got distracted, but whatever the reason, she missed the turn,” said Sgt. Bryant Rockwood….

Rockwood said that there were no signs of impairment and that officers were still investigating the incident. He said it wasn’t clear if a citation had or will be issued.

That’s some mighty bad driving. Note that the police didn’t release the driver’s name, so there’s no obvious way to look up court records to find out if a citation was issued.


 

This one seems to fit the “they drive among us” category; though it’s just a run-of-the-mill case of pedal (brake-gas) confusion: View the shocking surveillance footage from a Publix supermarket in Florida — came through that door like a shot! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h14UNm6yaWM. News report  nydailynews.com:

Florida police have released a shocking video showing a 76-year-old woman crashing through a supermarket with her car and plowing into shoppers.

Thelma Wagenhoffer, of Palm coast, injured ten people on Saturday afternoon — including a couple in their 80’s and a 3-month-old baby — when her 2004 Toyota Camry smashed through the glass entrance of a Publix market and tore through the store for some 50 feet.

Video of the horrific crash was posted on The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s website.

“When you see the video you realize it’s a miracle no one got killed,” Florida Highway Patrol Capt. Jerry Crews told the newspaper.

Three people, including Lupo Mario Hernandez, 83, who was pinned beneath the car, and his wife Maria Hernandez, 81, were seriously injured and recovering in hospitals in Daytona Beach and Palm Coast, according to the News-Journal.

The other injured were either treated or released over the weekend or walked away with minor injuries.

Lasaunda Hampton, 33, and her 3-month-old son, Tyshawn Davis, who was in a stroller, were among the first people struck by Wagenhoffer’s car.

In the video, they can be seen siting on a bench next to the entrance’s sliding glass door when the car suddenly comes barreling into view.

In an instant, the victims vanish, a trail of debris and wreckage left in the car’s wake.

“She just pushed everybody out the way like bowling pins,” Hampton told the News-Journal.

Hampton suffered injuries to her legs and had glass in her feet. The toddler escaped with just a bump on his head.

“It was like a little angel was watching over him,” she said.

Wagenhoffer, who was not injured, was charged with careless driving on Tuesday.

Florida police found no malfunction in the car that would have caused the crash.

Loop wall down, loop wall down!

12/29/2011: A wrapped (i couldn’t quite read what it said?) pickup pulling a trailer apparently lost control and (of course) drove over the sidewalk and knocked down a wall on the Warner-Elliot loop near Nambe Street. Here is the ahwatukee.com story; following their pattern, police didn’t identify the driver saying only he was a man in this 60s.

This is less than a mile away from the site where a driver lost control and iced a jogger, Rene Karlin, on the sidewalk back in August. Whatever happened to that investigation of the un-named driver? Why is the driver un-named? Nobody bothers to report. Nor did police bother to release the name of the elderly driver who drove into Lakewood’s fountain last year.

For some more wall knockings down see here, very popular pass-time.

In other news, I usually consider residential streets pretty calm and serene, and they usually are — then there was this parked car that got whacked on Desert Broom Way just two-door away from my house on (i guess the early morning hours of) 12/28/2011… It got hit really hard, though it’s not apparent from this pic, besides the obvious side-swipe damage, the rear wheel was pushed way ahead and the tire flattened; this car is going to need a LOT of work to get it right.

And while I’m on the subject, here’s a pic of a car I discovered abandoned a couple of weeks ago that had run off of Ray Road, crossed the sidewalk, and landed in the bushes. It must have been going pretty fast becasue jumping the curb flattened all of its tires. Sheesh. I imagine it was stolen.

 

Newer Wall-down story from early 2013

This was on Kachina in Ahwatukee/Phoenix. Their neighborhood is hoping to get speed bumps added as of early March, see slowdownonkachina.org
KPHO5 story: Feb 25, 2013 Teens crash into block wall in Ahwatukee; Police are investigating after three high schoolers who allegedly spent the morning drinking off campus plowed a car through a block wall in an Ahwatukee neighborhood… Wagner told us the driver was arrested at the scene for DUI but none of the teens were hurt.

Another Ray Road Wreck in Ahwatukee

Westbound, single-vehicle, presumably one or more fatalities occurred Sept 24, 2011 early morning hours. The vehicle was apparently going way too fast, lost control and smashed into some trees in the median. I didn’t see any skids. The palm tree got decapitated, and a smaller tree was snapped off (you can see the original trees in the google maps streetview, below). The picture barely shows the twisted wreckage. The cops were keeping people way way way away. To the extent one wonders what was trying to be hidden? I was told I “can’t” take a picture. Weird.

google maps view of the vicinity; E. Ray Road about mid-way between 33rd and 34th St.

News Report

Press coverage was brief; e.g. az rep piece that appears to have been drawn from a police statement:

One woman was killed early Saturday morning after her car crashed into a palm tree, Phoenix police said. The crash occurred just before 2 a.m. Saturday near E. Ray Road and 33rd Street, said Phoenix police spokesman Tommy Thompson. The victim, 28-year-old Nicole Johnson, was driving at high speeds when she entered the center median and collided with the tree, Thompson said. She was taken to a local hospital where she died as a result of her injuries, he said. Police said Johnson was the only occupant in the single-vehicle collision, and it is unknown at this time if impairment was a factor.

The KPHO piece is very similar, but mentions the model of vehicle was 2007 Mitubishi Eclipse.

 

The Walls Continue to Keep Tumbling Down

This area is the scene of many wall-knockings-down. There were two I know of in broad daylight within this past year. Here is a pic of one in the east 3200 block from March 2011. Less than a month before that, another careless driver knocked down a wall exactly 2 blocks west of here, that time at 34th Street.

These are the result of extreme negligence, and it’s only by happenstance that no one gets killed. The broad sidewalk and shoulder attracts all manner of pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers and bicyclists.

I haven’t seen the Phoenix Police Department doing any speed enforcement here in ages. Years. Don’t they love us?

… update: on Sept 30, there was a motorcycle unit monitoring speed at 32nd Street and Ray at ~ 7:30 AM (which, by the way, is when traffic is pretty heavy, and it seems to me, less likely to be speeding.

Couple killed while walking on sidewalk

From the never-ending Are Cars Dangerous? and Seriously, how often does this happen? files:

[Final result, seemingly inexplicably, the driver was never charged with any crime, and never issued and citation in connection with the incident]

Randy and Doris Bjerken, of Palmer, Alaska were in town visiting Randy’s dad… out for a stroll at 10AM on Mother’s Day when. BAM! An SUV jumps the curb and wipes them out.

Police say the driver, Andrew Whalen, 23, fell asleep during the May 8 incident and are recommending neg hom charges. Continue reading Couple killed while walking on sidewalk

Are Cars Dangerous?

Superhuman-sized objects moving at superhuman speeds are dangerous. Inherently. But who bears this danger? Motorist liability insurance is one supposed motivator; in theory motorists are supposed to bear the cost of the risks they are inflicting on others, but has many limitations (see e.g. The Disneyland Model). In reality this risk-spreading ends up socializing the costs of driving — paid for by others, subsidized, also called an externality. Thus we get more driving, because it is artificially cheap, and more traffic death and destruction.

It is worth pointing out to nervous cyclists that the large majority of traffic death and destruction is done by drivers of automobiles to other motorists (see, e.g. the chart here). This is to be expected, of course, since the large majority of traffic is motoring.

Here are a couple of  recent, local incidents… out of control “accidents” all —

Girl critically injured, was standing on the sidewalk, May 6, 2011: Deette Lynn Perry, 54, was arrested Friday after she was discharged from the hospital, where she had been admitted following the May 6 incident, Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department said. Perry was in a 2004 Nissan Altima near Thomas Road and 23rd Avenue when she drove onto the sidewalk and struck a 17-year-old girl, Martos said. Police suspect Perry was impaired by drugs, Martos said. The girl suffered a fractured pelvis and severe head injuries, Martos said.

Another:

Tourist killed at Phoenix intersection The Arizona Republic, Glen Creno – Aug. 19, 2010

An Australian tourist crossing a Phoenix street was killed late Tuesday when a sport-utility vehicle slammed into him, authorities said Wednesday…The SUV was moving so fast the victim was dismembered by the impact. Witnesses told police the vehicle apparently ran a red light…Ramzy Khalil, 29, of New South Wales, Continue reading Are Cars Dangerous?

Mionske: Can’t we do better?

In Bob Mionske’s Nov 20th column, Can’t we do better?, he asks “What do you think can be done about cyclist safety?”…

2007 Fatals by type

This may sound trite but, to improve cyclist’s safety I think the best thing to do is focus on improving traffic safety.  I know it’s easy to read yet another apparent case of a negligent motorist hurting/killing a cyclist, getting off scot free and then feeling that “the system” is stacked against cyclists. But this loses sight of the fact that the problem isn’t limited to cyclists as victims, all categories of motorist’s victims, including other motorists, are treated just as shabbily. Cyclists’ fatalities represent less than 2% of the 41,059 traffic deaths (NHTSA 2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment – Highlights)

There are other, far larger, constituencies who are also subject to these same injustices; pedestrians, motorcycle operators, and the largest of all; passengers and innocent drivers. These groups — which includes just about everybody — are all victims of negligent drivers.

So the key, in my view, to tightening up laws which would actually punish negligent drivers is to broaden to appeal beyond the tiny community of active bicyclists to involve as many of these other groups as possible.

So without this becoming a laundry list — consider for example victim Lance Adams who was killed in Mesa, AZ April 2005 WHILE WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK… no criminal charges(prosecutor says “no likelihood of conviction”), no citations. Matthew Hayes Peterson said he blacked out, causing his vehicle to jump the curb. The young man who killed Lance had a previous speeding violation, and somewhat incredulously was ticketed for speeding again on Dec 14 (90mph! in a 65. As of story Feb 1, the outcome of that ticket was still pending).Prosecutors won’t seek criminal charges against a 21-year-old driver who ran over a Mountain View High School student last year, saying there isn’t enough evidence to prove he was impaired.


DRIVER WON’T BE CHARGED IN STUDENT DEATH

Jim Walsh. Arizona Republic.  Jan 31, 2006.

Lance Adams, 15, was walking home from school on a sidewalk April 11 when he was struck and killed by an SUV driven by Matthew Hayes Peterson.

Mesa police sought manslaughter charges in late December after obtaining long-delayed test results from the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s crime lab on drugs found in Peterson’s system.

But Krystal Garza, a spokeswoman for Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, said in a statement that the case was sent back recently to Mesa police.

“Based on the information submitted to date, we don’t believe there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” Garza wrote. “One factor in this decision was there were no signs of impairment that could be tied to any substance, legal or illegal, in the suspect’s system.”

Peterson told police after the collision that he blacked out before his 2000 Toyota RAV4 jumped a curb in the 1400 block of North Lindsay Road and struck Adams.

The lab tests measured the amount of marijuana metabolite found in Peterson’s system, along with two prescription drugs identified by police as propoxyphene, a narcotic pain reliever and zolpidem, a sleeping medication.

[oddly, they listed the chemical names. The two prescription drugs found in Peterson’s system are commonly known by their brand names; Darvon, and Ambien. One wonders if Peterson had a prescription? What about the warnings, did Peterson heed them?]

Heed the warnings?

Ambien/zolpidem Warnings : “Patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness or motor coordination such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle after ingesting the drug, including potential impairment of the performance of such activities that may occur the day following ingestion of Ambien”

Darvon/Propoxyphene Warnings: … may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a car…”

Double Jeopardy and Flawed Logic

ARS §28-1592 specifies the time limit for bringing a civil traffic violation. Sort of like the “statute of limitations” for traffic tickets. The normal limit is 60/90 days, but for alleged violations when there is a wreck and investigation the limit is 180 days, and extends to a full year if a fatality is involved.

The rub is that police (cities? jurisdictions?) won’t issue complaints for a traffic violation if there is any sort of ongoing investigation, an incipient neg hom/manslaughter charge for example… and these things do seem like they can drag on forever. They appear to do this in an overabundance of caution — claiming “double jeopardy” issues. As far as I can tell there can be no double jeopardy between civil and criminal.

The end result is that drivers who would clearly be found responsible for a traffic infraction frequently end up getting off scot free; when the criminal case falls through for whatever reason. See e.g. Kandas. Or sometimes it is just an oversight on the part of police. It seems clear that the driver responsible for the Eades fatality could have / should have been cited for §28-701 “failure to control”.

Talk about getting away with murder…

Yet police didn’t confiscate her driver’s license. Had this been a DUI case, Sgt. Joel Tranter told me, they would have taken it and notified the state Motor Vehicle Division so it could administratively suspend Gilbert’s license. But police don’t pursue DUI charges in manslaughter cases, for fear of jeopardizing the more serious charges.

“The (administrative suspension) law does not apply to homicide or aggravated assault cases because those are criminal,” Tranter explained. “They aren’t traffic investigations.”

In other words, if you drive drunk, you lose your license. But if you drive drunk and kill someone, you can keep driving.

Hentoff [the victim’s family’s attorney] calls the police department’s interpretation of the law “absolutely flawed logic.”

Driver in DUI-death case still at the wheel, Laurie Roberts, The Arizona Republic. Aug. 25, 2007

We’ve heard this double jeopardy business before from the police department, Continue reading Double Jeopardy and Flawed Logic