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Red-Light Runner Sends 2 To Hospital

by Thomas MacMillan | May 21, 2014 1:07 pm

(18) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Legal Writes, Transportation, Wooster Square

Thomas MacMillan Photo A man who smashed into a Honda sedan and sent two women to the hospital said he didn’t notice the light was red.

The man, who was driving a red Ford Escape, said he drove into the Honda at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Olive Street just after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

At 10:45, the man, who declined to give his name, was standing outside the Olive and Grand Food Mart corner store, surveying the damage to the Honda. Cops were directing traffic nearby.

The man, who wore a red Yankees cap, said he had been headed home, traveling east into Fair Haven on Grand Avenue and ran the red light. “I took the red light by accident.” He smashed into the Honda, which was headed south on Olive Street.

The man said two women were inside the Honda. They seemed fine, he said, but were taken to the hospital.

A peek inside the Honda revealed that at least the airbags had deployed. The front of the car was crumpled and the vehicle’s bumper lay on the sidewalk.

The Ford Escape suffered damage to its front end as well.

A clerk inside the Food Mart said she heard the accident. It sounded like a loud bang, she said. “It makes me nervous.”

Police issued the driver a $136 ticket for running the light, according to Lt. Jeff Hoffman. The two women, who are in their 70s, had non-life-threatening injuries.

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posted by: Gauss on May 21, 2014  1:38pm

People run red lights at that intersection ALL the time. I’m surprised it’s taken that long for this kind of accident to occur, and hope the women will be Ok. Does anyone ever get a ticket for running a red light?

posted by: HewNaven on May 21, 2014  1:56pm

Attempted manslaughter with a deadly insyrument? A $136 fine should fix that behavior…

posted by: Nath on May 21, 2014  2:24pm

I am deeply saddened by this story.  Every day, I see people run red lights and endanger others.  What happened to the cameras?  How about giving fines systematically, and not only after people end up in the hospital or dead? 

Let’s enforce this or redesign intersections to slow down traffic, before more people get hurt, please.

posted by: disconnect on May 21, 2014  3:13pm

At least he wasn’t driving one of those deadly bicycles. Just imagine if he was zipping along in a dastardly fashion, twirling his moustache, looking for red lights to run (because OMG those bicycle riders love to run them some red lights!), and he looks ahead and says, “O-ho! my next victims!” And then we have a little slo-mo montage of the murdercycle gaining ground, the poor occupants of the Honda having no idea their lives are in mortal peril, and then BLAMMO RED ASPHALT! The cyclist escapes unscathed, whilst the poor elderly occupants are near mortally wounded and their hardworking Honda a pile of dented metal and shattered glass and leaking vital fluids, all because Mr. Spandex couldn’t be arsed to obey traffic signals.

So watch out for them bikes! They’re gonna getcha!

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 21, 2014  3:55pm

It seems like at a bare minimum the ticket should be for the amount that it costs to investigate and service this crash. That’d be several hours for several police officers to rope off the site, investigate, write a report and direct traffic. Then several hours of medical respondents time. Cleaning up the wreckage. All that costs a lot more than $136, without taking into account the inconvenience to other street users and other factors.

posted by: Esbey on May 21, 2014  4:37pm

Red. Light. Cameras.

posted by: Shaggybob on May 21, 2014  4:39pm

What about the additional $124 ticket for no front plates on the Escort??
He only put two people in the hospital, that should be two tickets.

posted by: robn on May 21, 2014  5:56pm

DISCONNECT,

Here’s another version of your funny story. The elderly woman driving the honda is your mom. The red running bicyclist makes it in front of her and she runs him over killing him dead. The the parents of the cyclist sue your mom and take everything she has. Plus your mom has to live the rest of her days feeling guilty about taking a life. Pretty funny huh?

posted by: Threefifths on May 21, 2014  6:01pm

If the driver is wroug.Then he should be charge.How about the people who jay walk.how about the Cyclist who run res lights.run stopo signs.Text on there bikes.How about the people who do not use the cross walk and cross in the middle of the streets.When are these people going to be give a ticket.I was down town today and saw all of the above. In fact I saw a police officer jay walking.

posted by: parejkoj on May 21, 2014  6:05pm

I live near this intersection, and have seen at least 2 other accidents there in the past few years. One of them, a hit and run at night, caused very significant damage to both vehicles, and had the perpetrator drive off with part of their bumper throwing sparks on the street.

Better enforcement of red lights in general, and ones with poor visibility in particular (in this case both directions on Olive cannot see far at all onto Grand) are vital.

posted by: William Kurtz on May 22, 2014  8:27am

robn,

What’s a really funny disconnect is that you, and others, think that fantasy is a common enough occurrence in real life that it deserves any attention from policy makers at all

posted by: Shaggybob on May 22, 2014  10:41am

It is apparent that the Police Officer assigned to traffic duty had no effect on the driver not seeing the red light-or being more cautious at a construction site- even though the Officer was IN the intersection CLEARLY VISIBLE and not off on the sidewalk texting -(I have seen this officer on traffic duty before and he’s ALWAYS on the job. THANK YOU !!!

This intersection is really dangerous. I have seen dozens of accidents at this location over the years.

BTW disconnect- those bikers ARE horrible and are continuously running lights and zooming off the sidewalk against lights with no regard for their own safety. The Law says they are a vehicle of traffic just like a car- I wish PD would start ticketing them- especially the Yale students on sidewalks to streets back to sidewalks. Pedestrian crossings are FOR PEDESTRIANS ONLY !!! Please Yale teach them some common sense !!

posted by: robn on May 22, 2014  10:50am

WK,

You and I both know that cycling is increasing (a good thing) and we’re facing a changing landscape. I stand by my word that there have been few times I’ve walked down Orange Street and not seen one or two cyclists blow through a red light without enough sightline to determine if theirs incoming cross traffic. I wholly recognize the scale of danger presented by cars to cyclists, but cyclists have to recognize that their actions have consequences beyond their own safety. I hope that neither you nor I are a test case (on our bike or behind the wheel).

posted by: robn on May 22, 2014  11:24am

WK,

Unfortunately there just don’t seem to be enough stats on car-bicycle collision fault to draw a precise conclusion, but this is interesting reading.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/05/20/136462246/when-bikes-and-cars-collide-whos-more-likely-to-be-at-fault

posted by: William Kurtz on May 22, 2014  2:22pm

robn,

The lack of statistics is a problem in itself. The problems we don’t see, we don’t fix.

But coincidentally, there’s actually a new analysis of reporting on cyclist fatalities from the League of American Bicyclists:

http://bikeleague.org/content/new-report-every-bicyclist-counts

posted by: robn on May 22, 2014  4:34pm

WK,

I couldn’t download the report for lack of a password but I did find this posting on the same site. Its an interview with the creator of Balance For Cyclists; and insurance company for cycling.

Jay Paul is quoted as saying, “that only 30 percent of serious cycling accidents involve a motor vehicle and that in 50 percent of those accidents the cyclist is at fault.” Actuarials for insurance companies have to put their money where their mouth is so this might be a reasonably good source of information.

http://bikeleague.org/content/insurance-update-balance-cyclists-wins-national-award

posted by: William Kurtz on May 23, 2014  7:38am

You shouldn’t need a password to read the report or click through to it—maybe there was a glitch yesterday.

Regarding Mr. Paul—all of the statistics I have seen agree that most cycling crashes don’t involve motor vehicles.

I’m not sure of his source for the 50% figure. In my experience the estimates of who’s more often at fault in car/bike crashes hovers around 50%, but it’s important to take into account biases on the parts of law enforcement and the sad fact that in fatal crashes, there’s often only one surviving witness to tell the tale.

As far as how credible a source he is—remember, he’s selling insurance by telling potential customers that they’re likely to be at fault and unable to collect from another party. He’s got a vested interest in selling riders on the idea that his insurance is their best way to be made whole in the event of a crash.

Ultimately, though, as I’ve said before, it’s important to separate ‘fault’ (a determination of legal culpability), ‘blame’ (a moral judgment) and ‘cause’ (the factors that give rise to the crash) when responding to crashes.

posted by: disconnect on May 23, 2014  3:22pm

robn, William Kurtz, thank you for taking my snark and making it into a discussion. The scenario with a cyclist who fails to yield right of way and collides with a car doesn’t end with the car’s occupants hurt. The poor driver gets to live the rest of her life feeling bad about taking someone’s life. The cyclist is dead.

I agree with the need for separation of fault, blame, and cause. The cause of the above scenario? The cyclist failing to obey a traffic control device. The solution? Cyclists should obey traffic control devices, THE SAME WAY THAT CARS SHOULD.

Cars don’t come to a complete stop at stop signs. They just don’t. So a cyclist coming up to a 4-way stop should be able to act in the same fashion: roll up to the sign, slow down enough to verify the intersection is clear, and then roll through. When a car approaches an intersection at 30 mph and slows down to less than 5, it’s a noticeable change. When a bicycle goes from 15 to 5, drivers lose their minds because the cyclist is acting entitled. Well, no, we’re not, we’re doing what other traffic is doing.

As far as running red lights, yeah, bad idea. But some intersections react to an auto’s presence to change the light. So yes, I do roll through these intersections. If I get hit, I would agree that it’s probably my fault and I should get the blame, but the cause is insufficient consideration of the road’s users, and the solution is something more than start writing tickets to every cyclist you see.

The reason I get so bitchy about this is that it sets up a bad situation before I’m even out on the bike. People comment about how shitty cyclists are, other people pile on, and then they’re out there just waiting to see one instance of a cyclist’s entitlement. When really, all I want to do is get my ride in, just like you want to get to your manicure, so that we can both get home to our families.

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