Analysis: Is the Crosswalk on F St Fundamentally Unsafe?

On Monday, the Vanguard published the comments of Deb and Rob Westergaard relating to the their treatment by the police following an April 2016 collision where Ms. Westergaard was hit by a vehicle and seriously injured as she crossed F Street at the marked crosswalk south of Covell Boulevard.

It could have been a fatal collision between a car and a pedestrian and, if the driver had hit Deb Westergaard going any faster than the reported 29 mph, it very well may have been.  The police analysis of the collision is that the pedestrian was at fault – a counter-intuitive result that has rightly angered Deb Westergaard and her husband Rob.

The initial police report, by Officer Joshua Mares, found that “Westergaard caused the collision by running out into the street without confirming it was safe to do so. This is a violation of 21950(b) CVC, had Westergaard waited until all approaching vehicles had come to a complete stop the collision would have been avoided.”

But the evidence to support that is based on a single witness traveling in the northbound direction.  And that account is not corroborated by either the motorist or Ms. Westergaard’s account.  That witness indicated as he approached the crosswalk that she was “quickly running east on the walking path” and “into the crosswalk without looking for oncoming traffic and that did not activate the crosswalk assist lights.”

That witness later stated “that he did not observe him (the driver) to be distracted (talking or texting on his phone).”

Officer Mares acknowledges in his report that his conclusion was “based on the independent witness statement provided by (the other motorist).”

Under the best of conditions, we know that witness accounts are problematic, as they have divided attention.  And yet, Officer Mares concluded that it was the pedestrian’s fault based solely on this account – or so he seems to acknowledge.

When Ms. Westergaard complained, Sgt. Rod Rifredi re-interviewed the witnesses and ran the calculations.  He came to the same conclusion, that Ms. Westergaard had “failed to ensure the roadway was safe to enter the roadway prior to doing so.”

According to Sgt. Rifredi, she failed to re-check the southbound traffic when she entered the roadway and therefore failed to notice the vehicle “was so close as to be a danger to do so.”

But that conclusion, again, seems to be based only on the observations of a single motorist, who came into the police department later in the day and had been headed in the other direction at the scene.

In addition to the counter-intuitive decision to assign blame to the pedestrian, we have a potential problem with the roadway itself.  There is considerable evidence that the road configuration itself creates a dangerous situation and therefore should get a good deal of the blame for the incident.

What is concerning is that the crosswalk, which is used by children and families going to school on a daily basis, may be fundamentally unsafe.  There are several problems here.  First, the roadway merges from multi-lanes (three) down to a single southbound lane.  That means the driver was checking his mirrors to ensure that he was clear to merge before looking forward to be able to determine if someone is crossing the street.

Once one clears the merge, the crosswalk is almost immediately upon them.  Look at the photo above, if you turn your head around at the end of the merge, driving at between 29 and 35 mph, it takes 1.5 seconds to react to the crosswalk – are you going to be able to stop in time if someone is coming across?  There is not much room for error there.

The police determined that the driver was traveling at approximately 29 mph – that is above the posted speed limit of 25, but below the average speed traveled at 31 with a critical speed of 33 mph.

Generally speaking, pedestrians retain the right of way, but they cannot create a dangerous situation by jumping out in front of traffic.

Sgt. Rifredi notes that the requisite vehicle code section states, “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”

That next part is critical because the section “does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety” and, moreover, “no pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Nevertheless, the idea that a pedestrian crossing the street who is seriously injured could be found at fault here is counter-intuitive, given that the vehicle was traveling slightly above the posted speed limit and the driver acknowledges checking his mirrors.

For Ms. Westergaard’s part, she said when “she was running east on the bike path, as she approached the crosswalk she pressed the button for the crosswalk assist lights. She said she observed (the vehicle) driving south on F Street and believed that it was going to stop. When asked if she stopped prior to entering the crosswalk she said, “Yes.” She said that as she entered the intersection (the vehicle) continued south on F Street and hit her with the driver side front bumper of the vehicle.”

Unless she ran right in front of the vehicle, it seems that it should have had time to stop unless the driver was otherwise distracted – by checking his mirrors for the merge.

The driver himself estimated that he was traveling 30-35 mph (whereas Sgt. Rifredi determined it was 29 mph) and acknowledged looking at his rear view mirror briefly.  “When he directed his focus towards the front of the vehicle, (Ms. Westergaard) was running east through the crosswalk.”

Based on a single witness who came to the police counter later that day, Officer Mares determined somehow that the driver was not distracted and that Ms. Westergaard was at fault.

This is likely the point of contention for the Westergaards, even if the math analysis lines up.

The question I would have is how far the driver was from the crosswalk when he “directed his focus towards the front of the vehicle” and did the merge along with the curve in the road contribute to this collision.

The Vanguard has learned that the crosswalk has already been moved once due to safety concerns.  The city has installed safety lights – Ms. Westergaard contends that she activated them prior to crossing, while the driver of the northbound vehicle indicated that she had not.

Further complicating the situation was that the motorist who struck Ms. Westergaard did not have insurance and is himself of rather modest means.  The best avenue for Ms. Westergaard to proceed at this point would be to sue the city for the unsafe crosswalk – that, again, is of particular concern, given the number of children who utilize this during the course of the school day.

Meanwhile, it would behoove the city to have the appropriate commissions and experts re-evaluate the location of the crosswalk and determine whether it would be advantageous to move it further from the merge point at Covell.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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52 thoughts on “Analysis: Is the Crosswalk on F St Fundamentally Unsafe?”

  1. Jim Frame

    The relocation of that crossing helped, but it’s still dangerous for the reasons cited in the article.  I’m always on high alert as I approach it in a vehicle.

    A similar situation exists at Russell and University.  There’s no merge, but westbound traffic comes out of a blind curve, and eastbound traffic can’t see southbound pedestrians well until the latter reach the median.  Eastbound drivers seem particularly reluctant to stop for pedestrians trying to cross.  Warning lights would be welcome there.

    1. Howard P

      Hard to justify lights at U & Russell… with two full signals and marked crosswalks so close by, in either direction… my concern would be “false sense of security”…

      My understanding is that moving the F street crossing to the south, farther away from the signal @ Covell decreased reports of problems, and incidents of collisions… the distance between Covell and Fourteenth is much more significant…

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        The problem is that I think from the end of the merge to the crosswalk is only about two seconds (at 30 mph) and if you have a 1.5 second response time, that leaves no margin for error on either party.

        1. Howard P

          Have you ever heard of peripheral vision?  Detecting objects/threats ~ 30 degrees on either side of ‘center’?  (for a driver… who is inexperienced, or older, or impaired [you can’t ‘engineer’ around impairment…] … for a pedestrian looking both ways, more like 200 degrees of vision.

          Your ‘math’ is flawed, because your assumptions are…

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I don’t believe my math is flawed, I was extrapolating from the officer’s calculations

  2. Keith O

    It’s very powerful that there’s a neutral third party who states that she was “quickly running east on the walking path” and “into the crosswalk without looking for oncoming traffic and that did not activate the crosswalk assist lights.”

    I don’t know how you get around that.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      You get around that by mounds of evidence that show the unreliability of eyewitness statements – how closely was the person observing, how far were they from the scene, we are not told. Could he actually see into the vehicle before hand? Lots of questions. Then you have the driver’s admission that they were looking in their rearview and the close proximity of the merge point to the crosswalk. It’s complex.

      1. Keith O

        I would venture to say that the eyewitness driving northward had to have had a very good view of the accident as it all unfolded directly in front of him.

        Secondly, she claims to have pressed the button for the warning lights and to have stopped at the entrance to the crosswalk even though the eyewitness claims otherwise.  So why would one then run in front of a vehicle travelling at @ 30mph.  I know I would’ve determined that the approaching vehicle was slowing down before I would ever run out in front of a moving truck.

        For me some things just don’t add up here.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          You would venture to say that, but you don’t know and in fact, we know he didn’t stop at the scene which leads us to questions about that and also how fast he was driving and how well he could see the actions of the driver coming in the opposite direction.

        2. Keith O

          Maybe he couldn’t stop for whatever his reasoning, the fact that he felt compelled to make a special trip to the DPD I think says a lot about his character.  If he didn’t care he would’ve never bothered.

      2. Howard P

        One ‘eyewitness’ is the ‘victim’… same rules apply…  even more so, if anger or guilt is involved…

        Reliable? ‘Truth’?

        “she described not seeing the vehicle until the moment just before it hit her.” What part of a second is a “moment”? Maybe 0.2 seconds?

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Every eyewitness has the same limitations. I focused on this particular one since he was the basis for the officer’s conclusions.

  3. Sharla C.

    In her statement she described not seeing the vehicle until the moment just before it hit her.  She didn’t look before she crossed. I think she relied too much on her belief that she had the right of way and the painted cross walk.  Pedestrians in downtown Davis do this all the time – stepping into the street, without a pause, often with their attention focused on phones.  Is the crossing at fault if they get hit, the driver, or the person who steps in front of the car without looking?

    1. Alan Miller

      Pedestrians in downtown Davis do this all the time – stepping into the street, without a pause, often with their attention focused on phones.

      Yup.  This is caused by the bulb-outs.  Jack-hammer the bulb-outs.

      1. Alan Miller

        Yes!  Bulb outs make downtown less safe.  I have explained this so many times here I’m not going to do it again, and few F-ing understand anyway.

        1. Alan Miller

          I don’t believe the studies; it’s current traffic-engineer PC culture.  The mass increase in complaints about auto-bike-ped conflict in the downtown began when the bulb-outs were installed.  The conflicts decrease when the pedestrians have a longer distance to the point of conflict with traffic.  Yes, I’m going against current alternate transportation design theory.  I’m right.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You get to offer an opinion, you don’t get to declare “I’m right” – particularly without evidence.

  4. PhilColeman

    The shifting standard of witness reliability.

    Eyewitness statements from defendants, friends of defendants are not subject to the same “unreliability” accusation as independent witnesses. Independent witness are “problematic” and error prone if they don’t meet the title theme of the column.

    Police officer observations are also summarily dismissed if they don’t meet the same goal, which is usually the case. Police may have no emotional involvement in the matter, have no relationship with any parties, have the most expertise in the application of a criminal statute, and are trained information gathers and analyzers. But dismiss their observations because we know all how untrustworthy police are.

    Defense attorneys publicly posturing for their client are the most credible sources of all. Attorneys representing a defendant are given paragraphs of quotes to discredit an official account. Never mind the fact that attorneys rely on second-hand information derived from clients who hired them. Disregard the fact that he/she was not even present at the scene. Nothing in an attorney rendition of an event will ever reach the level of being judged problematic.

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Phil:

      What you’re not stating here is that the shifting standard of witness reliability is due to empirical and experimental research showing it to be far less reliable than previously deemed. I would argue the criminal justice has not caught up to the research here.

      I still remember being in a traffic collision in a parking lot, I had one recollection and then watched my dash cam, there were a lot of things I didn’t see in real time that were evident from the cam.

      In this case, I am troubled by the fact that the witness didn’t stop at the scene, he came into the police station later in the day. So why didn’t he stop and attempt to render aid? how fast was he going?

      Also the key admission from the driver was that he was looking over his shoulder, so the lack of distractions noted by this witness may not be paramount. Also the driver did not describe the woman walking into his path. Instead he said when he directed his attention to the front of the vehicle, she was in the crosswalk. That suggests that he didn’t see her enter the intersection and the reason was that he was looking over his shoulder or in his rear view.

  5. Cindy Pickett

    I’m very thankful for the crossing guard that works at the crosswalk before and after school. Even with the painted crosswalk and the lights, the guard still has to force some motorists to stop for children entering the crosswalk.

  6. Howard P

    As far as “danger”… at the F street crossing, here are two portions where a pedestrian is exposed to the possibility of a car/pedestrian collision… each ~ 12 feet wide.  With walking speeds of ~ 2-3 feet per second, that’s a maximum of 6 seconds of exposure for each exposure, and only one direction of ‘threat’, each.

    I was always taught to look both ways before crossing… but that was more than 50 years ago… guess things change…

    Keith’s quote,

    For me some things just don’t add up here.

    pretty much nails it, and it’s scary when Keith and I agree…

     

    1. Mark West

      I was taught to look at the driver’s eyes to make sure the car is stopping and that the driver sees you before entering the roadway. If you step in front of a moving vehicle, you are the one at fault.

      1. Howard P

        Yeah, I do that too, but wasn’t taught that except by experience… I also do the same as a MV driver and see a potential conflict with a bicyclist or pedestrian… even if I have the legal right of way.

        Think the technical term is “common sense”.

        Approaching a conflict point (signed or otherwise) I never just look straight ahead.  Without moving my head, if I scan with my eyes, I have about 110-120 degrees of vision.  I also hear pretty well, and can detect approaching vehicles that way (not so much with electric cars).

        If I look right/left without moving my shoulders, I have ~ 200 degrees of vision. ‘Detection vision’, where I can judge if there is something that needs more focused thinking.

  7. Todd Edelman

    Leave the police or lack thereof, crossing guard or lack thereof, witnesses or lack thereof… leave them all out of it. Leave the lawyers out of the discussion… except in regards to this specific incident or any others that occur before there are…

    Changes? Yes. There need to be changes here. But first of all, how does moving the crosswalk make any sense when it’s placed exactly where it needs to be, in a direct line from the too thin passage between the ballfields and the parking lot of the apartment building?

    But also it’s not that the merge is in the wrong place, it’s really the larger design here from the intersection of F and Covell all the way to F and 14th. The main problem here is the design speed of the street is too fast. That’s it. On Monday in this space  I suggested that all streets in Davis that front on parks should have a design speed of 15 mph, which is just about the design speed of most streets – except for arteries that don’t front on front yards – if Davis was annexed by the Netherlands.

    There’s no rocket science needed here, no ingenuity or experiments. What ultimately needs to happen is that F between Covell and 14th (at least) should have:
    * A roundabout or much tighter configuration with signals at F and Covell;
    * Two lanes of motor vehicle traffic;
    * Protected bike lanes, also going behind the bus stops;
    * A raised crossing from the ballfields to the park side of F, with absolute priority for pedestrians and cyclists;
    * What I will call a T-roundabout at F and 14th. As with other roundabouts this increases safety and maintains or almost always improves flow without signals.

    With all of these measures travelling at around 15 mph here should feel normal. Hopefully by the time these solutions can be designed and funded State law catches up to reality – and international best practice – and presents no formal barriers to the new acceptable velocity. The first priority should be to make the crossing itself slower and hopefully this “ultimate” design can guide that forward.

    My understanding is that there are already some plans to tighten up F and Covell – that’s great – and hopefully it’s not a disaster like J/Cannery and Covell about which city actors, faith leaders, representatives of the New Home Company and the police did not bother to meet all day, apologize about it and start a healing process. J/Cannery and Covell is a potential meat grinder that threatens everyone.

    I’ve written recently in this space and spoken at BTSSC meetings how the in-planning Cannery to F connection is in the narrowest way fine for ADA compliance except in regards to conflicts with cyclists, for whom it’s at minimum ridiculous and at worst inefficient and dangerous. So enough about that.

    To go one step further to address the narrow passage between F and H, my idea is trade an easement on the north side of the apt. complex – perhaps about 10 ft wide or in other words enough width for a single line of cars in parallel configuration as they are now – with an extension to the east of the property line onto H. St, and increasing the parking lot size in this dimension so that the cars that were formally parked on the ballfield side of the complex will now be on the railway side of it. There’s plenty of space for it – maybe thin out the trees a bit etc. – and it will help reduce speeds on this last section of H, only causing a problem for everyone who drives here for baseball-related things or events at Community Park. (If – yes, a big if – there was a level ped/bike crossing of the railway just north of the Covell overcrossing, it’s not so far a walk from the planned parking at the retail etc. section of the Cannery to the ballfields. So then it would be possible to narrow H south for a block or two, with parking next to the ballfield only available on non-game days ajd ADA compliance.)

    1. Mark West

      The smarter move would be to relocate the Little League Fields to a new Sports Park and move the bike path so that it crosses F Street further south, getting rid of the crossing at this location. Until then, we need to stop telling people that they have an absolute right to cross in front of traffic whenever they want when the law states otherwise.

      That next part is critical because the section “does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety” and, moreover, “no pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

    2. Todd Edelman

      Walking is traffic. The only thing that’s absolute here is death or serious injury that’s the result of car-oriented design. At what arbitrary point do you place the crossing and how does this work with the route for school kids between Community Park, Holmes and east of the tracks? There are much wider streets that need to be prioritized for undercrossings. The difference in time between travelling between Covell and 14th St at 30 vs. 15 mph is a matter of seconds.

      1. Keith O

        The difference in time between travelling between Covell and 14th St at 30 vs. 15 mph is a matter of seconds.

        If we all road in horse buggies we would only be going 5 mph, but guess what it’s called progress.  We’re never going to a 15 mph speed limit all over town, get over it.

      2. Howard P

        The GHG generated between travelling that distance, by an internal combustion engine,is significantly greater at 15 mph than 30 mph.

        Ignoring that, why not 10 mph?  5 mph?  0.5 mph?  Those would be much ‘safer’ than 15 mph.  Or, 30.

        1. Todd Edelman

          HUGE parts of many cities all over Europe are much safer than here because of lower design speeds. Excluding full electric vehicles and hybrids – the latter to varying degrees – it’s true about those higher rev’s at lower speeds – but perhaps only partly true as the much of the pollution would come when the car accelerates out of the zone – but compare this to the risks of car vs. bike or ped collisions at 25 or 30 mph vs. about 15 mph. The lower speed benefit more than cancels out the of risk of pollution.

          I would like to see more hybrids with what I’ve called a neighborhood speed setting – that complements a neighborhood design speed – which ensures that their internal combustion engine is not used up to a certain speed.

          Certainly a 15 mph design is more suited to certain locations than others.  In Davis, I would start with Downtown, streets that front parks and e.g where Greenbelt paths meet streets – best to just make any section of street that meets a path have a 15 mph design speed. Making a speed limit that only applies during school hours only makes it difficult or impossible to make that street with a 15 mph design speed. There can be exceptions, course. By the way I recently learnt that stop and yield signs cannot be used on bikepaths.

        2. Todd Edelman

          “Unsafe at any speed” – a slogan as you use it – is “a book accusing car manufacturers of resistance to the introduction of safety features such as seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety” – from Wikipedia

          Replace “car manufacturers” with “traffic engineers” and “seat belts” with e.g. “narrower streets” and you’ve made my argument for me!

  8. Eric Gelber

    I’m no traffic engineer, but I’ve always felt the merge on F Street is dangerous both because of the proximity to the crosswalk (before and after it was moved) and its suddenness after the double left turn lanes from Covell. The number of cars making a left at that intersection does not seem to warrant the double lanes at most times of the day based on my observation. Eliminate the unnecessary double left turn and F could be made a single lane in each direction, as it is the rest of the way from Covell south.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I just drove back through the area on my way in this morning. I had forgotten just how close the merge is to the crosswalk, it’s closer than it appears on the photo I have. The officer placed the drive 61 feet north of the crosswalk when he saw Ms. Westergaard in the crosswalk, that gave him 1.5 seconds. I’d estimate it is only about 2.3 seconds from the end of the marge to the cross walk at 30 mph. So if he was looking in the mirror completing the merge, he had no time to react to what was ahead. That’s the problem right there.

      1. Mark West

        You continue to look for a justification for the simple fact that the pedestrian apparently failed to ensure that the roadway was clear before crossing. The crossing is problematic, but from what you have reported, the police got this one right.

        I drive that section of F nearly every day, usually heading south. There is plenty of space to stop before the crossing, and the merge is not an issue (and checking your mirrors is proper driving technique, not an example of being distracted). There have been plenty of times when I have approached this crossing when I have witnessed pedestrians and cyclists who fail to even slow down to check for traffic, let alone stop to activate the signal. The question you need to ask is how much time does it take to stop a vehicle traveling at the speed limit (and the distance traveled in that time) and was there sufficient time to stop after the signal was activated (if in fact, it was).

        The design of this signal is part of the problem in my opinion. When you push a button to cross at a regularly signaled intersection, there is almost always a delay before you may cross as the signal lights cycle, forcing you to come to a complete stop. This signal, on the other hand, is activated the moment you touch it, giving the impression that it is safe to cross. Unfortunately, activating the signal does not mean that all traffic freezes instantaneously and you can safely proceed into the crossing. You have to give the traffic sufficient time and space to respond to the signal (or the pedestrian/cyclist in the crossing).

      2. Keith O

        David, you want to question the driver’s story and the neutral eyewitness account but I have not seen where you have questioned the runner’s story.  Why is that?

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          The runner’s story is questioned by the police officer and therefore not the basis for their conclusion. I questioned the eyewitnesses account because it was the majority basis for the opinion and there are some factors in there that seem difficult to know – again, the driver acknowledged that he was looking at the mirror during the merge and then he looked forward and saw the pedestrian in the crosswalk. Assuming that’s an accurate account, it suggests that the driver did not see the pedestrian enter the crosswalk and also had less than two second to react before hitting her. To me that’s a design flaw. That’s my point.

      3. Howard P

        Do you understand “perception time”, “reaction time”, and “braking time”?

        Perception time factors include attentiveness, distractions, habits (scanning with eyes, e.g.)

        Reaction time factors include age, physical ability, cognitive ability, ‘sobriety’ (including influence of meds like antihistamines’ [aka ‘influence’], general alertness (sleep deprived/tired)

        Braking time factors include how brakes are applied, speed, weight of vehicle, pavement condition

        Stopping distance (be it walking/jogging, operating a bicycle, driving a car) has a simple formula:

        Stopping distance (feet) =  [perception + reaction + braking times (seconds)] X feet/second of the moving objects involved.  True of all modes of transportation including walking.

        There is another principle in law… the individual who had the last, best opportunity to avoid a collision has the greater burden as to responsibility for a collision, if it occurs, other factors being equal.

        Another principle… unlike baseball, ‘tie-base’ goes to the heavier object… the lighter object loses… ex. ‘runners’

        [moderator] edited

    2. Howard P

      You are correct.  You are no traffic engineer.  You have not studied the traffic volumes/turn movements at the intersection at F and Covell.  You are probably only vaguely aware of the interaction between volumes, # of lanes, traffic signal timing and queue lengths.

      Others are cognizant and have studied this intersection.

  9. Howard P

    A simple test… how many collisions have taken place at this crossing since it was installed?  How many took place in a similar time frame at the previous location?

    The question is not of absolute safety… it is a matter of risk… and knowing how to judge the appropriate behavior to use, given a level of risk.

    Am thinking that at least two “stupids” (reckless/ill-advised behaviors) led up to this collision.

    I don’t believe design was one of them.

    1. Deb Westergaard

      I’m currently out of town with little internet access so my ability to respond to all of this in real-time is limited. This discussion is another example of how select information can lead to an incorrect assignment of victim blaming. I did see the truck as it turned onto F Street. The follow-up investigation had additional witnesses who corroborated my statement that I activated the lights. In addition, the lone initial witness changed his story when he was re-interviewed as he had me being hit on the wrong side of the truck. The collision time/speed/distance calculations are absolutely wrong because Sgt. Rifredi used my top running speed to calculate how long I was in the crosswalk before being hit; I was actually walking not running. Northbound traffic had stopped, and I turned to wave a “thank you.”

      I was in the crosswalk far, far too long a time to be called an “immediate” hazard. The driver had plenty of time to react. If he had been paying attention and driving the speed limit, this would have been a frighteningly close call rather than a collision.

      And regardless of whether I was at fault or not (and I was not) the police still mishandled the investigation. When we confronted them about their mistakes, they refused to acknowledge them and instead tried to write an even more damning follow-up. They were still callous and lazy, and I absolutely deserve better.

  10. Howard P

    The initial police report, by Officer Joshua Mares, found that “Westergaard caused the collision by running out into the street without confirming it was safe to do so. This is a violation of 21950(b) CVC, had Westergaard waited until all approaching vehicles had come to a complete stop the collision would have been avoided.”

    Was anyone “cited” for any reason in this matter?

    That ‘fact’ is important to the narratives…

      1. PhilColeman

        Oftentimes, mitigation and contributory factors from multiple perspectives find the officer determining that no citation shall be issued. Call it a “push,” if you will.

        A citation could easily have been issued to the runner. As a rule of traffic law, when a pedestrian starts running, the legal protections to somebody on foot begin to immediately evaporate. I would have written the tag, and feel supremely confident it would have withstood a court review.

        That’s the criminal judgment. One can always take their case to the public, but as is often the case, the sub-text points more to the accuser than the accused. Law enforcement is such an easy target, they must remain silent on personnel-related matters. But perhaps one person yelling in enough for the collective sanity of us all.

         

        1. Todd Edelman

          A “pedestrian” loses their classification (in this type of crossing) if they are “running”? What’s “running” as defined in the law and how is it that at this crossing where running speed is likely similar to bicycle-crossing only the runner has no protection under the law? If it’s something like “a driver cannot differentiate between a person walking or running”?

          The elephant in the room here is not the quality of police, trustworthiness of witnesses or a small variation in velocity of a person not cycling… it’s the design speed of this section of the street and lack of a narrow, encumbering and therefore safer crossing that’s an aggregate part of that.

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