Driver(s) kill boy, injure man on the sidewalk

11/11/2023 10A. Intersection of Ray Road and Coronado, Chandler Arizona.

The victims were reported to be: killed 9 year old Ilai Petersen, whose father  Aaron was injured.

Chandler Police describe the “accident” (please! #crashnotaccident) as an apparent left-turn error, and the resultant 2-vehicle collision caused one of the vehicle drivers to lose control and drive up on the sidewalk, striking the pedestrians.

Multiple video newscasts explicitly called this a “freak” car crash. E.g. Azfamily, or worse, shame on you 12news reader calling is a “freak accident“.  Um, no, it’s not at all that uncommon, drivers make grave errors along our many high-speed streets where they either or both drive too fast, or simply fail to yield; and bicyclists and pedestrian become “collateral damage”… see a longer list of drivers were driving where they shouldn’t be and hurting and killing people.

And there seems to be no appetite in the justice system for holding the dangerous, negligent drivers accountable — the Chandler PIO quickly said this was “just a tragic accident”, no one seems to have been impaired, ergo there could be no criminal charges (what about 28-672? Bad left is a predicate violation. It’s only a misdemeanor but can at least result in consequences for the driver such as license suspension).

The overall tone of the coverage (“accident… accident… accident”) was discouraging, shouldn’t the message be to drivers — you are driving a very heavy, extremely powerful death machine: “slow down” “pay attention” “don’t use mobile devices”, etc?

Will the driver be even held civilly responsible? Arizona’s minimum liability per crash is comically low at $50,000. Even a driver carrying “a lot” of insurance might have, say, $500,000 or even a million. The NHTSA places the statistical value of a life at around $12,000,000 (that’s an estimate of economic loss to society over a lifetime)…. Underinsurance is just another socialized cost of driving. Just another example of how drivers don’t pay their own way by shifting costs onto society.


2 thoughts on “Driver(s) kill boy, injure man on the sidewalk”

  1. I think that the issue is it is not a “freak” occurrence. But our road designers don’t account for this in their road design. We design our new buildings to withstand “freak” high winds, and “freak” earthquakes, but then turn a blind eye to the statistical likelihood of occurrence of “run off road” crashes. Placing pedestrians and the public within the zone car crashes are known to impact.

  2. #CrashNotAccident, along with #CarNotDriver, has been a long-time beef for me re journalism.

    We all know that the word connotes “no one bears responsibility.” After reading your post, I decided to look up how the dictionary authorities define accident. Sure enough: The folks at Oxford define it as “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” Which reduces the loss of life to the anodyne adjective “unfortunate.”

    You can sense how little thought was put into this definition when you look at the second entry: “an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause, eg., “the pregnancy was an accident.” Which suggests the folks at Oxford have yet to learn what causes pregnancy.

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