Letter: Another DPD Victim, Justice for Deb Westergaard

Davis Police CarBy Whitney Covell

In April 2016, Deb Westergaard was struck by a truck in the middle of the pedestrian crosswalk on F Street between the Playfields and Community Park. She was knocked unconscious and woke up in the ambulance en route to UCD Med Center. Westergaard suffered a skull fracture that penetrated her sinuses, serious road rash on her face, arms, legs, and neck, and her left ear was severely injured.

Her complaint against the Davis Police Department is not resolved. The main points of that complaint include the fact that the responding officer did not properly investigate the collision, Westergaard was not interviewed until after the investigation was concluded, and the police department incorrectly applied California Vehicle Code 21950 to reach their conclusion. As a result of that misinterpretation of the CVC, she is considered to be at fault in the collision. The driver who hit her was neither cited for speeding, nor for driving without insurance, or hitting her.

Westergaard and her husband filed a citizen’s complaint about the police report which found her at fault despite the fact that she triggered the flashing lights and was hit halfway through the crosswalk. This complaint is still open. The Westergaards spoke with the city-employed police ombudsman, Bob Aaronson, who stopped answering their e-mails after the citizen’s complaint was reviewed with no change or satisfactory solution. Aaronson has since left this position. Westergaard spoke with the Yolo County district attorney’s office, in front of the City Council, as well as the police oversight committee. She spoke with the Mayor of Davis, as well as City Council member Will Arnold. Westergaard filed a complaint against law enforcement with the California Department of Justice and e-mailed countless politicians, including John Garamendi, and contacted numerous lawyers about civil rights claims.

The Davis Police Department not only owes Westergaard an apology, they have a duty to protect citizens who are hit in crosswalks, and not just falsely blame cyclists and pedestrians for collisions because it’s convenient. They also have a responsibility to not falsify information on reports as they did on Westergaard’s, stating the driver had insurance when he admitted on camera that he did not. I urge you to look into Westergaard’s case and her complaint about the Davis Police Department.


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88 thoughts on “Letter: Another DPD Victim, Justice for Deb Westergaard”

  1. Ken A

    From what I understand the police don’t have any obligation to “investigate” anything.

    When my garage in SF was broken into the police could not even be bothered to come out.  I was hoping that the CSI team would come over to get fingerprints and DNA evidence but they just told me to come down to the station and get a police report that I could fill out and turn in.

    I’m sad to hear that Deb was hit by the truck, but it is a good reminder for everyone that you need to “look both ways”  for cars and trucks before running or walking in to the street and “a red light or flashing crosswalk light will not make a car or truck stop so you still need to look both ways”…

      1. Ken A

        The article says: “The main points of that complaint include the fact that the responding officer did not properly investigate the collision”

        If the MAIN POINTS of a complaint is that the officer did not PROPERLY investigate the collision we need to ask who decides what is a “proper” investigation.

        1. David Greenwald

          Yes, they have an obligation to properly investigate an incident especially when they have a police report on it.  Who decides?  There is a chain of command and ultimately a court could weigh in.

    1. Todd Edelman

      good reminder for everyone that you need to “look both ways”

      Classic victim blaming. Classic class(general) pre-victim blaming. You’re smart and realize how destructive your comment is, right? By the way DID she look both ways, or not? She paused long enough to trigger the beacon. What else do we know?
      F St. is a great example of stupid design. F St. has too fast a design speed. Your comment is reflective of the attitude – or really the philosophy – also exhibited by the police and other government entities in this situation. It’s why the USA is one of the most dangerous Western countries for “crossing” the stroad.

  2. Keith O

    Knowing that crosswalk I would never run in front of any moving vehicle until I was certain that I had eye contact with the driver and I knew beyond a doubt that they were either stopped or slowing way down in order to stop.

  3. Jeff M

    Distracted students and slow-responding old people in a high-density situation make for higher risk of accident.  I drive like I am in an athletic event… seeing the field of play and trying to anticipate movements of all the other “players” around me. I have never had an accident even though I commuted to Sacramento to and from Davis for almost 30 years.

    I find Davis to be one of the most difficult places in the universe to drive, bike and walk in.

        1. Jeff M

          Rome and Mexico City are even worse than Boston and SF (Davis is worse than Winters and Williams)…

          Ok… I am the one that wrote “universe” and so I earned these types of examples.

          Let’s bring it back to earth and also to a smallish city in the US.

          1. Don Shor

            Let’s bring it back to earth and also to a smallish city in the US.

            Traffic in La Jolla was and is way worse than anything I’ve dealt with in Davis. I’d guess most of our smaller coastal cities as well, but that’s one I have long-time experience with. Population about 50,000.

        2. Jeff M

          I am not familiar with Lawrence MA.

          What I note in many other cities around the size of Davis is that they are more car-oriented and thus have a less chaotic mix of pedestrians, bikes and cars all trying to vie for space in the same small core area.  Larger cities tend to have more timed and lighted cross-walks… more order.  Davis has chaos… students crossing the roads everywhere at any time without paying attention to the autos.   Students from out of the country that seem to be driving for the first time.  A large population of old people with slow response time.  Other people that are gifted academics with low spacial intelligence and a distracted brain doing math puzzles in their head while they drive or bike.

          Chico is a comparable small city with a large university but downtown Chico is nothing near as chaotic as downtown Davis.

          We have $1000 in damage from a bike.  Waiting to make a right turn at a stop-sign with the blinker on while waves of people crossed in the crossing-walk.  Finally see an opportunity and start to turn only to have a bike coming up from behind in the blind spot on the right without stopping assuming that he would be seen and we would wait for him to cross before we turn.  Bike rider was not hurt but his handlebar gouged the quarter panel.   And this is from the athlete that sees the field.

          Yes he should have stopped. But few do.  And few look up from their smart phone when crossing the lane.  I should have seen him… but this is the point.   360 degree movement and hazards everywhere.

          Davis may not be the worst traffic place in the US, but in terms of small cities it must be in the top 10.

        3. Jeff M

          Traffic in La Jolla was and is way worse than anything I’ve dealt with in Davis.

          I was just there last year and it did not seem near as difficult.  But it is also much more car-oriented.  Are you talking about a specific area… the village?

          I think places with a lot of tourism can be a challenge, but then these are generally places for tourism and NOT where locals go to get their business and shopping done.

          For example the wharf area of Monterrey.

        4. Alan Miller

          What I note in many other cities around the size of Davis is that they are more car-oriented and thus have a less chaotic mix of pedestrians, bikes and cars all trying to vie for space in the same small core area.

          I agree the core is a Cluster.  You say making it more car-oriented would help.  I say put in a ped mall on limit blocks of 3rd and E with car access for pickup, making it more bike and pedestrian friendly.

          But rip out the g.d. bulb-outs.

  4. Sharla C.

    I have a student who was hit by a car a few weeks ago when she rode her bike into the crosswalk out in front of a car making a protected right hand turn at the southeast corner of Russell and LaRue/Anderson intersection.  I think this kind of accident happens a lot, because there is signage installed warning the pedestrians and bikes on each end of the crosswalk that approaching car traffic does not stop.  I read the police report.  The UCD police officer did not talk to the injured student who was already on her way to the hospital.  He did talk to the driver of the car that hit her and the driver of the car who driving behind her that witnessed the accident.   The student on the bike was found at fault for riding out in front of the car.   When I talked to the student, I advised her that she needs to ride her bike like she would a car.  She wouldn’t have driven her car out into the street without checking for approaching traffic, so then don’t do it on a bike.  I’d guess that this rule could apply to walking too.

    1. Howard P

      It not only “could”, as a matter of law, it does apply to crosswalks…

      Students should be taught about momentum (M X V) and kinetic energy and realize that when something that weighs 2000 encounters something weighing ~150 lbs, guess what object suffers the worst of it.

    2. Todd Edelman

      signage 

      The signage at this crossing indicates that vehicles in this free right turn have to “yield”. (The image is from 2017).

      Sharla, am I missing something? Could you please ask your student to contact me? Thanks! Todd Edelman, member, BTSSC, todd(at)deepstreets.org

      Fortunately it is city policy to eliminate these extremely dangerous – as Alan has commented – free right turns. The one here will be executed when any re-design in the Anderson Road project is implemented.

  5. Alan Miller

    I remember this accident being in the Vanguard last summer.  The other side was given, I don’t remember if in the article or comments.  There is virtually not detail given here.  As I recall, the person hit was jogging east, stopped at the light, hit the beacon, waved to some people who had slowed going north (far side), started across, and was hit by a truck that was going south.  My recollection is that the police cited a law which gives an exception to the driver being at fault when someone makes a sudden move into traffic as to why the driver wasn’t cited, even though admitting to going slightly over the speed limit.  If I have this wrong, feel free to correct.

    In the same article, it was implied that the crossing was inherently unsafe because it was too close to Covell.
    Soon after the previous article was published I took a class at Davis Art Center.  During lunch I spent a full hour eating lunch on the hill in the park that overlooks the crossing.  I observed dozens of people of all ages use the crossing, walking, biking, jogging, skateboarding.  Although people used different techniques and levels of aggression, some used the beacon, and most handled the crossing very safely, looking both ways.

    I also approached the crossing in my car from Covell around the corner as the truck did, and didn’t find the crossing all that close.

    As to it being an “unsafe crossing”, all crossings are potentially unsafe.  It’s people trying to cross a place of huge metal objects rolling through.  Crossings are best placed where people cross, as if you move them, people tend to cross illegally.  This crossing seems perfectly placed, being between the baseball park and the park where people would naturally cross, and also a path to the H-street tunnel from the Covell bike overdressing and school.

    I kept trying to come up with a scenario as I watched, under which a person being hit by a car could have done so if they had looked both ways, and I couldn’t come up with one.  None of the people I observed would have been hit.  As the truck driver was speeding, that could be a factor, if he failed to slow with a pedestrian right at the side of the road, that could have been a bad decision, and together a percentage of the fault may lie with the driver.  Not having been there I can’t say for sure.  But the conclusion the police came to that the person hit may have jogged into the road having looked right and waved but without looking left as well and was therefore mostly at fault does not seem far fetched to me.

    Nothing personal, I don’t know any of the parties involved.  And I may or may not be right.  These are my observations.

    1. Howard P

      You are pretty much spot on, as to your observations and conclusions.

      Everything I’ve seen reported on this indicates it was no “accident”… looks like a “stupid”.

      Methinks someone is trolling for a basis for a lawsuit.

      1. Craig Ross

        “Methinks someone is trolling for a basis for a lawsuit.“

        Unless they’ve already filed the lawsuit, it’s already way to late to file one.  So have they?

        1. Craig Ross

          So you have no idea if a lawsuit is even an option.  You are posting anonymously.  And you are making accusations about real people in this community.  Wouldn’t you say that is irresponsible of you?

  6. Alan Miller

    > “Another DPD Victim”
    Also, what the heck is that headline about?  Is that an implication that there is a string of victims of the Davis Police department, and this is “another victim” of the Davis Police?  That is one super-proactive stretch if ever a stretch there was.  Care to justify that headline?

    1. Howard P

      Only way this speaks to a victim of DPD, is if a DPD vehicle is the one that collided with the pedestrian.

      Evn the term “victim” is iffy.

      1. Don Shor

        looks like a “stupid”.

        Methinks someone is trolling for a basis for a lawsuit.

        Evn the term “victim” is iffy.

        I think your comments are incredibly inappropriate to this situation. I’m speaking as an individual, not as moderator. Her complaint is about how she was treated by the DPD. I think your aspersions are unfounded here.

        1. Alan Miller

          HP, even though we may ‘agree’ on the probable allocation of fault (without being witness), I agree with DS on the use of the term “st—-“.  For one, unlike you, I’m not anonymous and may run into this person someday in town (stranger things have happened).  And two: glass houses.  I am extremely careful on my bike, which I ride in challenging traffic almost every day and have too-frequent ‘close ones’ with cars.  Usually their fault.  

          But occasionally I just ‘space out’ and catch myself and go — “holy s—, if there was a car there, I would have been a pancake”.  For instance, I cross this three-lane, very busy street every weekday on the way to work.  One day, for whatever reason, I looked left instead of right and biked out into the street, thinking I’d looked into oncoming traffic, but just the opposite.  Lucky for me, no cars.  But . . . Happens to the most cautious of us.

        2. Howard P

          With your explanation, Alan, I’ll agree with the ideas that I “overspoke”, picked the wrong word.  I apologize for the word.

          But Alan, when I was young, riding a bike and daydreaming, and suddenly found myself colliding with a car, which happened to be parked, I blamed no one but myself, and believed I had “done a stupid”.   Dad agreed when I told him.  I guess I was just brought up wrong…

          Forgive me, and my Dad.

           

  7. PhilColeman

    Add my recall to the list of persons who has the same recollection as Alan Miller and others. For the past two years this victim has published, posted, and announced the same rote story in every public forum possible. This fallicious story has now been syndicated into “re-runs.”

    The self-admitted fact that nobody in the City structure including a Police Ombudsman of impeccible integrity will no longer return her phone calls is called a “clue.” Another irrfutable fact, based on the victim’s telling of this incident, she suffered serious head injuries, she was concussed. Nonetheless we shall accept on complete faith that her recollection of events and quoted comments in the critical hours thereafter are complete, accurate, and above any level of suspicion or question.

    A final fact that is also a re-run. The applicable California Vehicle Code provisions protecting pedestrians in or approaching a crosswalk assumes that the pedestrian is walking, not running. An apporaching motorist is reasonably expected to be vigiliant for persons walking, not running. Anytime a pedestrian is running–or a mounted cyclist using the crosswalk–comes into a collision course with an approaching motorist, the laws protecting pedestrians are compromised or waived. Were the Davis Police Department to cite the motorist in this circumstance they case would have been rejected by the district attorney, and the motorist could seek civil redress against the DPD for malicious prosecution.

    The accuser is 100% wrong in her condemnation of the Davis Police Department based on all applicable laws. No matter, it still made a delicious column headline, again.

    1. Howard P

      Minor correction… the law doesn’t “protect” the pedestrian (or anyone) from injury… neither does white lines, flashing lights (yellow or red), stop signs.  There is a “computer”, usually between both ears of one or more individuals, that can protect one from injury most of the time.

      “Computer glitches”, including distractions, and/non-use of the “computer”, or mechanical failures are generally the variables. 

      Ex:  elderly woman enters traffic from a driveway, without adequately assessing whether it is safe to enter.  Gets broadsided and dies.  Police investigate, and determine the ~8 month pregnant woman driving the other car, had no culpability.  Elderly woman, based on family/witness accounts was ‘impaired’ mainly due to some dementia. (Oakshade Town Center/Pole Line Road) [Saylor demanded, and got CC backing to spend $30,000+ to fix the “receiving lane” on the other side of the median, and blamed ‘engineering’.  The “victim” died before even getting to the other side of the median, where Saylor demanded the modifications. Yeah, good call]

      Ex: young woman, running, wearing earbuds, runs across Russell Boulevard, at an intersection, in heavy fog, driver hits and kills her… after DPD investigation, driver not cited.

      Exception:  elderly woman starts crossing Second Street, with a car yielding to her, and some “J-word”, speeding, right-hand passes the yielding car, drives in the bike lane, under the influence, broadsides the woman’s car, and she dies, big time.  Speeding driver was arrested, charged on multiple charges (I see four no-brainer charges… but perhaps that’s “over-charging, to some).  That was flat out criminal.

      City responds by making it a three way stop, with flashing red… lots of money, would not have prevented the woman’s death. 

      Whatever…

      1. Howard P

        Btw, VG… what was the outcome of the trial of the ‘J-word’ who crashed into, and killed the woman @ Second and Cantrill?  Must have missed that.

        1. Matt Williams

          Howard, here you go

          http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/07/justice-update-picnic-day-fullerton-matters-delayed-hendrix-sentenced/

          Steven Hendrix Gets 42 Years in Car Crash Death

          The jury hung in his trial on the murder charge, but Mr. Hendrix on Thursday was still sentenced to 42 years in prison.

          Here is the DA’s press release:

          District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on July 20, 2017, the Honorable Paul K. Richardson sentenced 33-year-old West Sacramento man Steven Hendrix on two separate cases. First, the Court sentenced Hendrix on one count of

          gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count of driving while under the influence causing injury with an enhancement for injuring multiple victims, and four separate counts of child endangerment. Next the Court also resentenced Hendrix in a domestic violence case from 2015 which included two counts of felony domestic violence from two separate dates. Hendrix had been convicted of the domestic violence case on February 19, 2016 and was allowed to stay out of jail after posting bail. Hendrix then committed the vehicular manslaughter just five days later on February 24, 2016.

          In May 2017 a jury heard four weeks of evidence. The evidence showed that on February 24, 2016, the Hendrix drove a car at speeds of over 80 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone on Second Street in Davis which is a two lane road. Hendrix was intoxicated by both methamphetamine and marijuana. Hendrix started tailgating one driver within just a few feet of the rear bumper. He then passed this driver in the bike lane as she was “driving like Miss Daisy.” While passing this driver the Hendrix came within a few feet of side swiping a bicyclist who was riding well within the bike lane. Hendrix then passed another car in the suicide lane after passing the bicyclist. As Hendrix started to weave back into the normal lane of traffic, he crashed into 71-year-old Cynthia Jonasen as she turned off Cantrill onto Second Street.

          Mrs. Jonasen died almost immediately from her injuries. Hendrix also had his domestic violence victim, her three minor children, her sister, her sister’s young child, and three dogs in the car that he was driving. All of the people in his car were injured and at least two of the victims are still experiencing symptoms of those injuries.

          A prior jury had heard evidence of two separate incidents of domestic violence that occurred in April and June of 2015. During the April incident, Hendrix placed his hands around his girlfriend’s neck and squeezed while lifting her off the floor. An argument between the two continued into the living room where Hendrix again placed his hands around her neck, strangling her on the couch. During the June incident, Hendrix used one hand to strangle his girlfriend as she was lying in their bed. She told a police officer that she did not lose consciousness but that she was unable to breathe for a period of two seconds. Hendrix later strangled her in the kitchen, this time with her sister looking on. The children were also present during these violent attacks. The Honorable Samuel McAdams found true the allegation of prior domestic violence incident in Sacramento County in 2011 as well as a prior strike conviction.

          The jury in the most recent case found true the allegations that Hendrix suffered the same prior strike conviction for a felony first degree residential burglary in 2011. The jury also found true allegations that the Hendrix had served a prison term and that he committed the vehicular manslaughter while out on bail. These priors all serve to enhance his overall sentence.

          Based on careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances of both cases the Honorable Paul K. Richardson sentenced the defendant to total prison sentence of 42 years and 4 months in the California State Prison.

      2. Alan Miller

        > City responds by making it a three way stop, with flashing red…

        Don’t forget the sister flashing yellow nearby . . .

        . . . there for the same reason.

        1. Howard P

          Whose sister?  If she’s cute, gotta see!

          Kidding aside, you are correct.  The sister flashes yellow on two legs, red on the minor street third leg.

          Back to humor, what does one call a sister with three legs, who can flash in two different manners?  Will leave that to others… appears I’m at least half-way into the dog house as it is…

      3. Alan Miller

        HP, it’s also possible your first two example were just two more victims of the Davis Police Department.

        If headlines were horses . . .

    2. Jim Hoch

      “case would have been rejected by the district attorney”

      Too bad we don’t have a DA that likes to take people to court. A DA like that might provide some relief to Deb.

  8. Deb Westergaard

    This is Deb Westergaard. To clarify, all these things happened as I described. I was not running, nor was I even jogging through this crosswalk. I stopped. I triggered the lights and looked both ways. The driver had just turned off Covell. Any reasonable person would have had enough time to cross had the driver been a) going the speed limit; and/or b) slowed for the three warning signs (one flashing) that this was a school crossing. The driver was speeding and admitted to speeding. He also admitted to being inattentive, along with admitting to not having valid insurance. The DPD falsely wrote on the police report that he had insurance, falsely wrote his speed, incorrectly noted me being hit on the wrong side of the car (despite video evidence of vehicle damage) and didn’t interview me. A so-called witness came down to the station 2 hours after the collision and described a scene that bore no resemblance to fact. It doesn’t take a serious brain injury to feel this injustice. You people (and your judgements, absent any of the facts) are amazingly pathetic trolls. I didn’t want to get hit and I certainly didn’t ask for this despicable treatment from the Davis Police Department or from you. I will absolutely stand up for myself and what is right and nothing you or anyone else says will stop me from that.

    https://youtu.be/oGwgSlTAtMc

    1. Howard P

      OK… this piece we are responding to was not written by you… unclear the “creds” of the author…

      Now that you’re here, what do you seek?

      1. Ken A

        Since Deb is reading she can tell us how much she wants the taxpayers of Davis to pay her for getting hit by a truck (or if she is just venting and does not want any money and has no plans to take any legal action against the city and the police department)…

        P.S. Does anyone know if the guy without insurance that hit her is here legally or is one of the many “dreamers” driving around without insurance and shooting people in “sanctuary cities”?

        1. David Greenwald

          Maybe Ken can tell us his real name if he’s going to engage in this manner?  Also, maybe he can show us evidence that Deb is suing the city or asking the taxpayers to pay for her injuries?

    2. Jim Hoch

      I will agree that people turning south on “F” from Covell are often going too fast though it’s usually a danger to people in the crosswalk  in front of the Art Center

      1. Ken A

        It is about 450 feet from Covell and it would take a car going 35mph (10mph over the limit) about 9 seconds to get to the crosswalk.  The lane is only a little over 10 feet wide so the only way someone who is looking will get hit is if it takes them more than 9 seconds to move 5 feet (to the center divider or back to the curb).

        P.S. A typical adult in decent shape can cover about half a football field in 9 seconds.

        P.P.S. Even if the guy was averaging 70mph (no stock truck could make the turn at 70mph) just about anyone without a severe physical handicap that was looking would have time to get out of the way.

      2. Alan Miller

        Agree . . . this crosswalk isn’t a problem, the g.d. “free” right-turn lanes need to be removed from every intersection in town (despite that one guy who shows up at council meetings and defends them whenever this comes up).  The free turn allows people to keep moving through the turn rather than slow and pause.

  9. David Greenwald

    I think it’s important to understand that Deb isn’t suing the city and she can’t sue the city.  It is irresponsible for Howard and ken to be implying otherwise particularly when they post anonymously.  I don’t know how to make this point any clearer.

    1. John Hobbs

      “particularly when they post anonymously.”

      Posting under my true name guarantees super-censorship. edited

      ” Probably because my truck was environmentally incorrect as the speeding car that blew through the blinking light was a Prius.”

      edited

       

      [moderator: No, John Hobbs, your constant flouting of the Vanguard Comment Policy leads to having your posts removed. And once again, I have had to edit a post because you have violated the Vanguard Comment Policy. I have tried communicating with you about this with no effect. So I will continue to remove or edit your posts as you continue to violate the comment policy. You know this, so I suggest you stop complaining about it and just follow the rules.]

    2. Howard P

      Yes David (6:36 post, yesterday), agree to an extent, except you fail to acknowledge that the article that prompted my “irresponsible” implication, was not authorized, nor condoned by the person in question… that post/article was inaccurate, inflammatory, and more irresponsible (IMO) than any of my responses.  You also ignore my apology (actually, two), for the use of a word (which others can freely use, if used as an adjective (which I believe is worse than using it as a noun))[and not aimed a a person, but an action], and have not said anything about the appropriateness of Ms Covell’s piece, given Ms Westergaard’s repudiation of the piece, including her term of “plagiarism” in regard to the piece… whatever… thought we had moved on, but apparently not.

      Whatever.  Your blog, your rules… got it.

  10. Jeff M

    I think the pedestrian-fired blinking cross lights actually cause more danger than safety when they are on a two-lane road because a stopped car can block the view of the pedestrian for a moving car driven by a dope that does not know what the blinking lights are for… or that just think the other stopped driver is a dope because they stopped for no reason.

    In one case I think I saved someone’s life although they were not happy with me.  In my truck on Covell I stopped hard seeing someone had just pressed the light but the car in the next lane and behind me did not stop and was focused on making the green light for the cross that was only less than 100 feet further down (which is another pet peeve of mine… really… we need another separate stop and pedestrian cross that is only about 50 ft further to walk?!).  But I saw the car coming in my review mirror and honked at the person crossing in front of my truck and about gave that person a heart attack and I was glared at like I was the one at fault.   Probably because my truck was environmentally incorrect as the speeding car that blew through the blinking light was a Prius.

    1. John Hobbs

      Deb  , I am aware of your issues and empathize. Police have a code of misconduct and if you are not on their side of the blue line line, they don’t care. I’m willing to bet that the reckless driver was the brother or son of a cop or other city official. Having been on an accident review panel for theCity of sacramento, I have seen the gross inaccuracies in most police reports, due to either sloppy work, stupidity or intentional deception. I hope you continue to press the matter with authorities.

      “The DPD falsely wrote on the police report that he had insurance, falsely wrote his speed, incorrectly noted me being hit on the wrong side of the car (despite video evidence of vehicle damage)”

      I would think that would be sufficient cause to raise the state AG’s interest.

  11. Deb Westergaard

    I was in the crosswalk 4-5 seconds. I was stepping onto the median when he hit me. He had every opportunity to see me and slow down but he kept his speed of 35mph looking right at me through the windshield and hoping that he’d make it back in time from his lunch break at Carl’s Jr. after leaving his wallet at the construction site. Guess what? He was late.

    No, I’m not suing the city, don’t worry your precious tax dollars are just fine in the City’s retirement fund.

    No, I’m not stupid, but I’ll be right there to call you that when you get mowed down by a truck in the middle of a crosswalk and blamed for it.

    No, I was not consulted about this letter, nor was I told about this publication or approve of it. I don’t know who the author is. In fact, this letter is a plagiarized version of my comment on NextDoor Davis with pronouns changed.

    I also don’t know why Howard P posted a crime report link [https://www.localcrimenews.com/welcome/detail/23163816/no] about the author along with this comment: “I now see that the article may not be about this instance, at all… not even clear if Ms Westergaard had any direct part in it.” (==> Answer: I didn’t) and then deleted it so no one could see it.

    If you have something to say, don’t be a Trolly-McTrollFace coward, say it to my face instead of spreading lies and untruths.

    1. Alan Miller

      > I was in the crosswalk 4-5 seconds.  I was stepping onto the median when he hit me.

      If that’s true, that’s an entirely different situation.

      > No, I was not consulted about this letter, nor was I told about this publication or approve of it. I don’t know who the author is. In fact, this letter is a plagiarized version of my comment on NextDoor Davis with pronouns changed.

      Wow.  That is somewhere between weird and creepy.  Why would anyone print this without consulting you?  Almost sounds like it was done on purpose to bring out comments against you.   Very odd.

       

    2. Howard P

      I only commented, in this post, to the author, not you…

      David can connect us to have the face to face… I fear that not.  I offer that, but not on the blog… reasons far beyond this thread. 

      A portion of your post…

      No, I was not consulted about this letter, nor was I told about this publication or approve of it. I don’t know who the author is. In fact, this letter is a plagiarized version of my comment on NextDoor Davis with pronouns changed.

      That speaks volumes!

      So, I have no problem, nay, suggest, that all my posts on this thread, be deleted… as you assert that you were not a party to the article’s posting… hope you understand that I assumed you were… now you make it clear that you weren’t… perhaps Whitney is victimizing you, again… for reasons I will not conjecture on…

      1. Howard P

        In any case, please understand, I was reacting to the words in the article…

        Not aimed to you, as you have disavowed the article.  Wish I had known that much earlier, but that is not your fault.  The fault lies with another…

  12. Howard P

    I see now, most vividly, that the VG will “publish” anything that is fit or unfit to ‘print’.  Even if the subject is not cognizant of the publication… got it.

    More is the pity.

      1. David Greenwald

        It’s not actually. I have a long queue of backlogged articles I put off because of the election focus. However, I have a general policy that we publish submitted works that are topical.

  13. PhilColeman

    I have much empathy for the constrained editorial role of the Vanguard and it’s inability to vet posts from any subscriber. An unscrupulous subscriber (we have a couple) can post a hyperlink to some disreputable group or person, and disavow authorship at the same time.

    We are left with the judgment wisdom and objectivity of every reader to properly assess the credibility of any assertion.

    Never accept here anybody’s presentation of purported facts and circumstances at face value. True to any blog. A California Senator once said that the first casualty of war is the truth. Hiram  Johnson’s pithy quote would have been slightly altered had the Internet been in existence at the time.

     

    1. David Greenwald

      True to any newspaper as well. Letters to the editor often contain errors and misinformation and are rarely corrected by the paper.

  14. Sharla C.

    On Nextdoor, The victim posted several stories and people were urged to write letters to the media and Davis City Council members, so a letter to the Vanguard was actually encouraged by the victim.  Per her own post, the victim has already received an insurance settlement to cover her out of pocket medical bills, so it is her disagreement with the police investigation and report and lingering upset with this, which is at issue.  She used her uninsured motorist coverage, but would have had to use her own insurance regardless due to the police report finding her at fault for the accident.  It is not clear what would resolve this for her.  She disagrees with the report.  She asks for an apology from the City.  She wants the person who hit her to be punished, I think, for driving without current insurance at least, but this would not change the outcome for her.  The City could do things to make the crossing safer – post signs for pedestrians that the signal is just a warning for cars and not a red light, they could shorten the merge lane from Covell to F Street, they could remove the crossing altogether, they could make the signal for the crossing a red light for cars – mandating that they stop and make bikes and pedestrians wait until the light changes before crossing (instead of the instant flashing yellow lights that warn only), put a stop sign in the median for pedestrians and bikes so they pause and look before entering the opposing lane.

    1. Howard P

      Don’t disagree with your gist, but no sign, no color of light, no striping can “protect” anyone… can point to numerous examples… there was a safety ad (Safety Council?) on TV in the ’60’s… punch line went something like this, “(so and so) had the right of way… they were right… dead right”.  Ultimately we are each responsible for our own safety, and to act responsibly for the safety of others.   Simple. Yet, complex…

  15. Deb Westergaard

    Quite the contrary, my version of the incident is amazingly consistent and in-line with the driver’s statement and the front facing camera footage [https://youtu.be/oGwgSlTAtMc]. You were called out on NextDoor saying that multiple witnesses stated the contrary yet you never named the witnesses or their stories. There were no witnesses except me, the driver, the car going north and the car behind them. Yes, I do deserve an apology. Yes, they stated many things wrong in the police report which they have yet to correct. Yes, they (and others on this thread) have fallen into a similar victim blaming trap. Everyone should expect more from their local police department if this is how they treat their citizens.

    1. Sharla C.

      I think she is talking to me.

      I wasn’t there at the accident, so I only know what was described.  Regarding “multiple witnesses,” my only information was from the Nextdoor postings and the comments made.   I only heard that one witness went into the police department to give his statement.  I don’t know who that is.  I don’t disagree that the DPD could do better – much better.  It is why we have an ombudsman to receive the complaints from citizens.  I have experienced the impact of misinformation written in a police report.  In my case, it was a clear misrepresentation and actions were taken to resolved it, but it didn’t change the outcome of the report.  It was too late for that and things had gone too far to turn it around.  It was a frustrating job to undo the damage that was done.  It is still unclear what you want from the letters, postings and comments that you and others make over social media and how that would change the outcome for you now.  I and  many other people sympathize and empathize with you.  The injuries appear horrific and I hope that you have recovered without long term effects.  I think I should withdraw from any further involvement in this to avoid further misrepresentation or misinterpretation.

  16. Jim Hoch

    Published previously on nextdoor Feb 26th

    Just emailed this letter to the city council. Feel free to use all or part of it when you send them a letter:

    Dear Davis City Council, In April 2016, Deb Westergaard was struck by a truck in the middle of the pedestrian crosswalk on F Street between the Playfields and Community Park. She was knocked unconscious and woke up in the ambulance en route to UCD Med Center. Westergaard suffered a skull fracture that penetrated her sinuses, serious road rash on her face, arms, legs, and neck, and her left ear was severely injured. Her complaint against the Davis Police Department is not resolved. The main points of that complaint include the fact that the responding officer did not properly investigate the collision, Westergaard was not interviewed until after the investigation was concluded, and the police department incorrectly applied California Vehicle Code 21950 to reach their conclusion. As a result of that misinterpretation of the CVC, she is considered to be at fault in the collision. The driver who hit her was neither cited for speeding, nor for driving without insurance, or hitting her. Westergaard and her husband filed a citizen’s complaint about the police report which found her at fault despite the fact that she triggered the flashing lights and was hit halfway through the crosswalk. This complaint is still open. The Westergaards spoke with the city-employed police ombudsman, Bob Aaronson, who stopped answering their e-mails after the citizen’s complaint was reviewed with no change or satisfactory solution. Aaronson has since left this position. Westergaard spoke with the Yolo County district attorney’s office, in front of the City Council, as well as the police oversight committee. She spoke with the Mayor of Davis, as well as City Council member Will Arnold. Westergaard filed a complaint against law enforcement with the California Department of Justice and e-mailed countless politicians, including John Garamendi, and contacted numerous lawyers about civil rights claims. The Davis Police Department not only owes Westergaard an apology, they have a duty to protect citizens who are hit in crosswalks, and not just falsely blame cyclists and pedestrians for collisions because it’s convenient. They also have a responsibility to not falsify information on reports as they did on Westergaard’s, stating the driver had insurance when he admitted on camera that he did not. I urge you to look into Westergaard’s case and her complaint about the Davis Police Department. Thank you,

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