Last Thursday, a teenage girl was hit by a car at 6:30am while walking to her local bus stop.
Police are still trying to piece together what happened. They said incident happened just before sunrise and witnesses say the road was dark which may have contributed to the crash.
The Central High East student attempted to cross Brawley Avenue to get to a bus stop near her house. Neighbor Jeffrey Holland said he was riding his bike home from a nearby shopping center when the girl was struck near the center-divide.
“I was coming around the corner from the recycling base, heard a boom — and the paramedics were there quick,” said Jeffrey Holland, “The windshield was blown in the car, roof was smashed back, the doors were popped open, it looked really bad.”
Like most articles about pedestrians or cyclists being hit, the details are vague. I can’t find a single other news outlet reporting the story, and the Fresno PD website is no help at all.
According to a witness, visibility was a factor
Holland said the street was dark and the driver may not have seen the girl crossing the road. He said thieves recently stripped the street lights of copper wire and several of the bulbs were out at the time of the accident.
Action News: “Do you think it’s a safety concern?
Holland: “Oh yeah. No doubt. They have been out three times. They rewire them, then they’re out again.”
I have no doubt on his statement. Copper theft is running rampant, and apparently nobody has had the inspiration to design a streetlight in which the copper is inaccessible to thieves. Based on the amount of thefts around town, I’d assume that stealing the copper wire is as easy as loading a cart at the Home Depot.
However, this does raise a few questions:
1) If street lights are so critical to safety and visibility, why aren’t they fixed faster? Why isn’t copper theft being pursued to a greater extent? People are literally being run over because of these thieves. Aren’t they accessories to this?
2) Why don’t our lighting systems have redundancies built in? Currently, streetlights are set apart very far apart, so if one dies, the entire road goes dark. In this case, only one side of the road has light.
Mind you, it’s not like a lack of lighting excuses unsafe driving. Isn’t there that rule that you should never outdrive your headlights?
But that’s not the problem with this report. You know how every single report about a bike collisions mentions whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet or not? This article posed no such question about the sobriety of the driver. Or the speed. Reading the description of the car after the collision, it’s clear the driver was going at a good clip.
Instead, Fresno PD is quick to lay all blame on the victim, and really, all pedestrians.
While Fresno Police work to determine who was at fault and whether the lack of lighting contributed to the crash, Sgt. Richard Tucker wants to remind pedestrians to take precautions to keep themselves safe.
“Walking in the roadway is not a place to walk, we’re asking pedestrians to cross at the intersection, to push the button and wait for it to say walk. And of course the cross walk isn’t always a safe zone. We’re asking you always look both ways before you cross the road,” said Sgt. Tucker.
First of all….walking in the roadway is not a place to walk…? Do you propose pedestrians teleport across roads? Do we use the mythical underground tunnel system? How about the fact that just feet from the scene, there are zero sidewalks? Where would one walk if not the roadway?
And Sargent, do you understand what California law says about intersections…?
Here is what the INTERSECTION of Brawley and Weldon looks like. That’s right Sgt, according to California law, this is an intersection. And just because the city couldn’t be bothered to paint crosswalks, doesn’t mean there aren’t three legal crosswalks here.
Sargent Tucker, where are these mythical push buttons you talk about?
Of course, I can see why the officer is confused. The intersection is far from ADA compliant, as the sidewalk on the east side simply ends, and the sidewalk on the west side ends a few yards down.
Wonder if the student, in her wheelchair, will be suing the city for the ADA violation…?
Now, I don’t know exactly where the bus stops, but as the school is north of this location, the bus would be traveling north on the east side of the road, so this student crosses here every single day. She probably did look both ways, but perhaps she didn’t expect the vehicle would be moving so quickly.
Was any investigation done as to the speed of the car? The article doesn’t say anything about the driver, the speed of the vehicle, or really, any of those pesky details.
Also, Sgt. Richard Tucker, as a favor, I’ve rewritten your statement so it makes more sense.
Sgt. Richard Tucker wants to remind drivers to take precautions to keep their fellow citizens safe.
“Driving in the roadway is not a license to kill, we’re asking drivers to not outdrive their headlights, to slow down when visibility is poor. And of course the lit area isn’t always a safe zone. We’re asking you always scan side to side while driving” said Sgt. Tucker
The article then ends with this
In this case the girl survived, but Tucker said there were 10 pedestrian related fatalities in the city last year and Fresno is on pace to exceed that number this year. He said officers with the traffic division will continue monthly operations focusing on pedestrians to drive that number down.
Yes, that’s right Fresno PD. Ticketing pedestrians is the right thing to do. Not the drivers of the fast vehicles, it’s the pedestrians that must be ticketed. After all, every time one of them gets run over, it’s such a damned nuisance. Delays car traffic and all.
On a final note, I tried to find the exact location of the bus stop, but the Central Unified School District website was of no help at all. The list of “proposed” bus stops is clearly not complete, and they offer no bus maps on their website.