Aug 20, 2021
Hans Hughes was very seriously injured last month after being struck at a downtown Phoenix intersection (1st and Filmore). He subsequently succumbed to injuries. Police say a drunk driver ran a red light, striking the bicyclist, and then fled the scene. He was later arrested…
This is fishy; where is the media and why don’t they ask questions?? “The identity of the suspect was not released” (KTAR). As of late September 24th??!! wtf? These are very serious criminal accusations, felony hit-and-run and (likely) manslaughter (blowing a red light and kill someone is also a misdemeanor); someone has been arrested, why the secrecy?
Here’s what the ABC15 report said:
In August, a spokesperson for Phoenix police said the suspected driver ran a red light at First and Fillmore streets. That driver, who was not identified, was arrested and cited for DUI and failure to stop. [I realize now in hindsight, the “failure to stop” refers to a stop sign, I mistakenly thought it was shorthand for hit-and-run]
Update March 2022; we’re finally seeing some news reporting (but only from azcentral. Other outlets continue to miss this:
“Hughes was while biking home from work near First and Fillmore streets on the evening of Aug. 20. After several weeks in the hospital, Hughes died of his injuries on Sept. 21. Despite initially saying the driver had been issued citations for driving under the influence, Phoenix police as of Tuesday had not named the driver or announced an arrest in the case and have not explained why. ” — azcentral.com
Crash Report (#report)
Also, I just realized — there doesn’t appear to be a signal at 1st And Fillmore, it’s an all-way stop. Perhaps someone got mixed up between disregarding a stop sign vs. running a red light(?) and this wrong info got passed along to news media(?).
Anyway, see comment below for what is in crash database.
There are other inconsistencies; I’m setting the “missing hit and run” tag. [Edited to add: There is no indication in the Police Report (see below) that the driver fled, the original media report referred to a “failure to stop”, I misunderstood that to have been referring to a hit-run.]
Crash data in database indicates a straightforward, right angle crash at intersection of 1st and Fillmore; both units have a stop sign (4-way stop intersection).
The Police Report
TL;DR A DUI driver crashed into Hans at right angles. The driver and passenger both said they stopped at the all way stop sign. There were no independent witnesses. The driver was processed and released immediately with a misdemeanor DUI, and a citation for running the stop. When no evidence could be found the driver ran the stop, that citation was dropped. The driver plead guilty to the misdemeanor DUI.
As distinct from the Arizona Crash Report, which contains just the databased info along with a terse narrative; I did order and receive the full departmental report well-after the case was closed; it took a couple of months to process (which apparently is an improvement for Phoenix PD records, see comment below).
It becomes apparent that police, within a few minutes of the incident decided to NOT treat it as a crime scene; apparently because someone from hospital staff told police Hans’ condition was not life threatening (and also probably because Hans was moving around when they initially arrived).
Much later, they went looking for more surveillance video that might indicate if the DUI driver caused the wreck or not, was by that time unavailable. It should have been apparent to police, long before Hans died, that the incident was serious, implying serious felony charges if the driver caused the crash. Another indication the police weren’t treating the incdied as serious is the driver was processed and release within a few minutes
The police report doesn’t have any clues as to why the arrested driver’s name was never released; nor how the mis-information that it was a red-light, and that the driver was suspected of running the red light.
here are a bunch of quotations from report; I redacted some names
DUI driver xxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx; born 1992 ARR/SUB PHX202108200120 SUMMONED / CITED NOT TAKEN INTO CUSTODY Charge FAILURE TO STOP AT A STOP SIGN, CIVIL DUI-IMPAIRED TO THE SLIGHTEST DEGREE, CRIMINAL TRAFFIC p10 "... I then made contact with SP1 (the driver) who had slurred speech and was acting a little suspicious... he admitted he had been drinking... I then conducted field sobriety tests... and placed SP1 under arrest for DUI" "I transported SP1 to the DUI van... SP1 was process for dui and then cited sp1 in lieu of detention. SP1 was released to a friend... It should be noted that V1 (the bicyclist) has possible facial fractures but at the time of this report we did not have that information". p.11 "... at 2308 (is that right? that's only 18 minutes after the crash?) Medical staff had intubated before... attending physician (said) Hans was in critical but stable condition. His CT scans were not finalized but staff said his injuries were not life threating.... Once I learned that Hans' injuries were not life threatening I contacted sergeant..." p.14 "It appeared that Hans may have developed a traumatic brain injury... and/or may have had other serious injuries... After receiving information from the hospital that it appears hans had suffered ... no life threatening injuries the scene was broken down" p.16 "there was no video evidence for this event from city buses. All data had been over written on every bus" -- (because they waited over a month!) p.17 "at 2340 I was present in the DUI van when ofc broght in (driver). I administered PBT ... and it came back .112 ... " There was a search warrant then, and a blood draw "...told me Hans did not have any life threating injuries just a possible face fracture. Due to nature of the injuries I advised ... that we should issue a citation in lieu of detention" p.24 W1 ... is passenger (and owner of the vehicle) "on 8/31/2021 (so 11 days after crash) I contacted next of kin Hana and provided her with an update. [the extent of the investigation at this point being that the driver was given a ticket for DUI and released; there was no further investigation] "On 9/21/2021 i received a call ... indicating victim hans hughes succumbed to his injuries from this collision. On 9/22/2021 I was assigned case detective for this incident" (there's a reference to 09/07 looking for surveillance from ASU building; is that the right date? ASU told him that camera wasn't working; a later reference also ASU was 9/27 when was told >30 days so no good; no other video was found) 9/27 interview by det. with the passenger/car owner, "they were WB Fillmore and came to a complete stop at 1st st....they proceeded forward and reached a speed of about 15miles per hour when they felt the impact from the left (driver's side)" "... I asked her to be honest with me and and tell me who was driving the car and she said (the guy who was arrested for DUI). (she) told me only her and (the guy) were in the vehicle when the collision occurred." Statement by AP1 (the guy who was arrested) "... I received a call from his attorney... indicating (he) would like to exercise his giht to remain silent" "A witness is heard on Ofc Gomez's body came stating he saw the Nissan come to a stop. (but) the witness left". conclusion "There are no statements or data to indicate if the bicycle stopped for the stop sign or not. Without such evidence no conclusion can be made to attribute any traffic violation to the traffic units involved" "the driver, passenger and an unknown witness indicated to officers that that the Nissan kicks stopped for the stop sign... but no witnesses remained on scene to aid in the investigation"
Hans died on 9/21/2021; making it more than 30 days after the crash. For statistical purposes, this doesn’t “count” for fatality reporting purposes in the federal FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System)
“To be included in this census of crashes, a crash had to involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public, and must result in the death of a person (occupant of a vehicle or a nonmotorist) within 30 days of the crash.” from DOT HS 811 137.
The death of Hughes appears to be the primary motivating factor in reconfiguring Filmore (example: “Victory!…this is a community win that honors the loss of Hans Hughes…”); despite his crash being unrelated to having anything to do with a bike lane, “protected” or not. (Hughes was north on 1st, while the driver was west on Filmore)
Here is the city project page: www.phoenix.gov/streets/fillmore
Most of the distance, from 1st to 7th Street (a little less than 1/2 mile) would have one travel lane removed that used to have Shared Lane Markings; to be replaced by a buffer bike lane with flex posts in the buffer. The few hundred feet from Central Ave to 1st St is more confusing; it’s much wider, and Filmore bends and shifts at Central.
Here’s a nice pic of newly painted BL and flexposts:
Bicyclist collisions at 4-way stops (All Way Stop Controlled) are rare, and serious collisions are practically unheard of; see some stats here which relates to a 2023 bicyclist fatality at a 4-way stop in Tempe: bicyclist-killed-in-collision-at-college-alameda-4-way-stop