Monday, March 11, 2013

When media fails...

A few miles to our north, it was reported NYPD will retire the term "accident" in favor of the more appropriate term "collision" when it comes to incidents of motor vehicle violence.

Like perhaps this incident in Queens today, where a motorist sped into the wrong lane, jumped a curb and drove up onto the sidewalk at high speed, killing a 16-year old and injuring four others...

This sidewalk is often crowded with students waiting to cross Thomson Avenue after getting off the Q39 bus, and the street also sees heavy traffic from drivers on their way to and from the free Queensboro Bridge.
Today’s fatality is the latest in a series of crashes in which motorists have driven off the roadway and injured or killed pedestrians on the sidewalk. On February 12, an 89 year-old man was seriously injured when an SUV driver jumped the curb on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, smashing into Saks Fifth Avenue. On February 22, Brooklyn Heights resident Martha Atwater, 48, was killed just blocks from home when a pickup truck driver drove onto the sidewalk and crushed her. Just two days later, a pedestrian was killed at Third Avenue and East 27th Street in Manhattan after a two-car collision sent a taxi careening onto the sidewalk. On March 1, a man was seriously injured on the sidewalk at 8th Avenue and 51st Street after a driver jumped the curb.
...immediately prior to jumping out of his deadly weapon and saying "I'm sorry."


Yeah, no.  Here's to hoping this killer won't get away with "no criminality suspected," as so many others have before.

So anyway, here in Philadelphia we are apprised of this story, in which two sisters have been victims of hit-and-run motor vehicle violence in the very same week.  The only reason this story probably made the news in the first place is due to the 'believe it or not!' angle (quote right there in the article - ""It's amazing. Like, I just can't believe somebody can have this much bad luck," said Jim.").

 It's not 'bad luck,' though.  It's two crimes, and very serious ones at that, at least if Pennsylvania criminal law is to be believed.  Let's hope the authorities prosecute them properly when the responsible parties are found.

A 10-year-old girl and her 15-year-old sister were struck by two separate hit-and-run drivers in a span of only three days.

At least ABC said "drivers," rather than "cars," which seems more often than not to be the chosen assailant in such instances.  As if there was nobody behind the wheel, and some angry piece of machinery just decided to randomly mow down our neighbors of its own volition.

Of course, where they really fail is here -

Both accidents remain under investigation.

Neither of these incidents of motor vehicle violence were "accidents," and in fact they became crimes according to the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as noted above, when both drivers fled the scene.

15-year-old Kylie Givens is fighting for her life in the Intensive Care Unit at Aria Torresdale Hospital. 
The Mayfair teen was knocked off her feet by a hit-and-run driver Saturday night at the intersection of Torresdale and East Cheltenham avenues in Philadelphia's Frankford section.
Kylie's sister, 10-year-old Sarah Givens, was struck on the 2400 block of Memphis Street in Fishtown around 2:15 p.m. Thursday. 
Sarah tells Action News, "I was walking across the street and I saw a white truck just come zoom down the street. I got hit, flew up, and I land under a car, then blacked out."

Brian Hickey has more here.

In the past three years, I've chronicled 3,359 cases of vehicle-on-pedestrian hit-and-runs from across the country. It's an awareness mission.
While my case may have gotten a bit of attention locally (that's what happens when a crime victim is a member of a media that covers crime and its victims), hit-and-runs were not nearly getting the level of attention they deserved.
I get the sense that public awareness of the hit-and-run epidemic is growing. All I can do is hope that that trend a) helps solve some of the cases, both fatal and nonfatal and b) convinces people to remain at the scene.
Let's set morality aside for the sake of this discussion. The problem with bringing "b" to fruition is that Pennsylvania's antiquated laws encourage the opposite.


As currently written, drunk drivers are unintentionally encouraged to leave a hit-and-run scene. A drunk driver who kills faces a mandatory three-year sentence, while a drunk driver who flees, sobers up and gets caught (or turns him- or herself in) faces a one-year minimum.
Police officers tell me they know this.
Speaking in the wake of the fatal hit-and-run of a 5-year-old boy in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce likened that lapse to an "incentive to flee."
This is something state legislators know as well.

Time to fix this.  And not only for instances of drunk driving, either, as it doesn't matter whether the criminal is drunk or sober.  Running over somebody, and fleeing, needs to carry an extremely stiff penalty which would ideally act as a disincentive against same in all cases.


  1. " As if there was nobody behind the wheel, and some angry piece of machinery just decided to randomly mow down our neighbors of its own volition."

    Yeah that's right. Like that mean looking truck in "Duel".

    1. Heh, I know a blogger who resembles that remark, actually... ;)