Design Template by Bikingtoronto

« Moonlight Ride! | Main | Capital Bikeshare Newsnami: Day 8 »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

As others have pointed out in the previous thread, the four-hour gap is mentioned in the Fox coverage. The Post has reported that the call took place before 6:30. I think we will just have to wait until the facts sort themselves out.

The investigation will also presumably reveal how visible the cyclist would have been. The sun was not yet up, but it is possible that the road was lit and there would have a nearly full moon. It's not clear how much reflective clothing the cyclist was wearing or whether she had a light. That will come out too.

There are really several plausible explanations, here, including DUI or the possibility that adrenaline (or fear for her safety on a deserted road at night) played a factor in the motorist's actions.

We all know where this is going: "I didn't see her." It won't matter if the driver fell asleep or was on her phone or texting. Or that the driver had two other lanes. And it won't matter if the cyclist had 5 lights and 20 reflectors. If the driver says, "Gosh darn, I didn't see her," that's good enough for the authorities. They won't even be able to prove DUI at this point, and they won't even bother.

We know this because that's what always happens. It's never anything different.

Facts won't matter, so why not speculate? Speculation here is nothing more than group therapy for us. That's the only way to talk ourselves past the fact that we, or our surviving families, will never get anything. This is how we convince ourselves to get back on the bike.

Of course we will never know for certain what the driver did or did not see, because only the driver (and God) know that. But it seems to me that the driver either saw or should have seen Natasha. The impact damage is on the front left of the SUV -- directly in front of the driver and right next to the headlight! Assuming the headlights were on (as they almost surely were in pre-dawn hours), then any large object directly in front of a headlight would have appeared extremely bright against an otherwise darker field of view. Such "positive contrast," especially if appearing suddenly, draws attention instinctively, making it extremely unlikely, in my view, that the driver could have not seen Natasha if the driver was looking anywhere out the windshield. It is obviously possible that the driver did see Natasha, but not until it was too late to avoid the accident. But if that's true then the "I thought I hit a deer or a dog" story is simply a lie. It is also possible that the driver didn't see Natasha at all because the driver was preoccupied with something else and was not looking toward the front of the vehicle. That is not consistent with driver believing the vehicle hit a deer or a dog -- a truthful statement would have been "I had no idea what I hit and I didn't want to find out." In short, while I agree that the facts are not all in, the facts we do know strongly suggest, at least to me, that the driver was negiglent or worse. My thoughts and prayers are with the mother and her family, and I echo her urging that the authorities conduct aprompt and thorough investigation.

Washcycle provides possible explanations for the driver's behavior, but none of them are plausible. The ONLY way a person on a bicycle could be mistaken for a deer is if the driver wasn't looking at the road long before the moment of impact. The front of that truck was demolished, and the front tire nearly off the rim. The ONLY reason anyone would try to move a vehicle in that condition would be because of some overwhelming motivation to leave the scene. Even if the offered explanations are true, none of them excuse the driver's behavior. If she is not capable of operating her vehicle responsibility, she shouldn't have been driving. I don't think anyone is alleging a cover-up, just more incompetence and apathy from the Maryland State Police department and woefully inadequate statutes addressing these types of crimes.

The driver may well be guilty, but I simply don't agree with the premise that there is no other explanation. If the driver was changing lanes or turning, she may not have been looking directly in front of her. For those of you who have not studied human vision, human beings actually can't take in that much visual information at one (you brain makes you think you can). And adrenaline really messes with memory, so it's not simply a matter of whether she is lying or not. (By the way, I don't think the woman is saying that the Ms. Pettigrew looked like a deer, but rather that she hit something and *assumed* that it was a deer.)

The reality is that this is accident that happened at *night* on a 4-lane road, which complicates things. There is plenty of relevant information regarding lighting, visibility, etc. that we simply don't have. These may indicate that the driver is primarily responsible, or that there is some degree of shared responsibility, or something else. Unless you're arguing that the anyone who hits (or doesn't see) a cyclist is by definition guilty (because "how can you not see a cyclist"), you should wait to hear the facts.

Call me a cynic, but I am highly confident that Littleford and her lawyers (if they are worth a nickel) are hard at work right now assembling all the "relevant information" and concocting a story that, however implausible and unverifiable, cannot be refuted by any of the "relevant information." For an excellent primer on how this works, google Darcy Allan Shephard. True justice comes only in the afterlife, not this world.

And for those inclined to google, it's "Sheppard." My bad (though google will offeryou the correct spelling anyway).

michajo,

So I read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bryant_%28politician%29

...and I'm wondering why you think Sheppard's case is so open-and-shut. Or do you know what "really" happened there too?

You are of course right to imply that I do not "know what really happened" in either incident. But with regard to Sheppard, I do know that Bryant clammed up for quite some time after he killed Sheppard, that during that time he and his lawyers had every opportunity to concoct a story that could not be refuted by any of the "relevant information," and that he then he ultimately offered up a story (self-defense) that did not strike me as terribly plausible but that (unsurprisingly) could not be refuted by any of the "relevant information."

FWIW, I don't think the Sheppard case is "open-and-shut." (Sheppard was clearly no angel and probably initiated the conflict, but my personal belief is that Bryant bears responsibility for escalating the situation from conflict to violence, and that at an absolute minimum he should have been required to persuade a jury of his self-defense claim before being exonerated.) I referenced the case not because it is an "open-and-shut" case of a guilty driver, but instead because it is a textbook example of how to tailor a story to fit the "relevant information."

So while I do not say that I "know what happened" in either incident, I do, however, say that in both incidents, the drivers had every opportunity and every incentive to fabricate a story that, while consistent with all verifiable facts, is itself conveniently unverifiable, while the cyclists (who do "know what really happened") are unfortunately a little bit too dead to offer a competing version of the events.

If you want to give Bryant and Littleford the benefit of the doubt, I don't begrudge you. As for me, I am more inclined to afford that privilege to the people they killed.

wow... this is just horrible. There's is no way the driver couldn't have seen her or driven 3 miles with a bike lodged under the car and not stopped once. I hope the truth about this is found, but as everyone else is speculating, it probably won't.

I would ask the police to be careful to gather all relevant evidence before making making statements to the press (e.g. no reflective clothing vs reflective clothing found at the scene) and to dig thoroughly rather than dismissing it as "oh well." Cell phone records, interviews with people at whatever party the driver was attending, evidence of whether the cyclist was seen earlier wearing lights, etc.

michajoh,

If you have an idea on how to adjudicate legal cases other than presenting competing theories that take account of the evidence, I'd love to hear it.

Facts won't matter, so why not speculate? Speculation here is nothing more than group therapy for us. That's the only way to talk ourselves past the fact that we, or our surviving families, will never get anything. This is how we convince ourselves to get back on the bike.

I know that I just posted, but I find this amazing: you don't really seem to care what the truth is, but are only interested in the "therapeutic" value of bitching about motorists. That's your right, I guess, but don't think that those of who are inclined to wait for the facts care any less about what happened to Pettigrew or that we risk our lives any less when we get on a bike.

I've had my disagreements with people here before, but there is a new, angry, frankly anti-rationalist strand on this blog that I find kind of creepy.

Perhaps a more important question is whether one should bike to a candlelight vigil for someone who was killed riding a bike at night at the very location where they were killed.

As I mentioned several posts ago, perfect justice is to be found only in the afterlife, not in a court of law, for the exact reasons we have been discussing. To wit, in incidents like this -- where one of the two parties who "know what really happened" is dead -- it is difficult if not impossible for any human process to determine "what really happened" with any degree of reliability. It is obvious that Natasha Pettigrew will never get to present her "competing theor[y] that take[s] account of the evidence."

That said, if we are going to endeavor to mete out earthly justice down here, we can surely do better the we did in the Sheppard case. As I imagine you have learned, the prosecutor took it upon himself to decide that there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction" in that case and dismissed all charges against Bryant. I challenge you to explain to me how Bryant's self-defense claim was so strong that there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction." I'm sorry, but reasonable minds can differ as to whether Bryant could reasonably have believed he was in mortal danger, and whether Bryant responded with unreasonable force in any event. Those are the determinative issues on a self-defense claim, and where reasonable minds can differ as to the determinative issues, there is a "reasonable prospect" a jury would convict.

So if your paradigm is that the Sheppard case reflects how these kinds of cases ought to be resolved, I say emphatically that yes, I do have a better idea -- let a jury hear the story and decide if it passes the sniff test.

The crime isn't hitting the cyclist, it's leaving the scene. And this country needs tougher laws on hit and runs.

I perfectly understand not seeing the cyclist. I've driven and had to slam on the brakes because someone biking without a light wearing black suddenly appears in my headlights. Add in glare from oncoming traffic, some annoying commercial signs, and unfortunately, "I didnt see him" is a valid excuse.

But if you hit anything, you need to stop, get out of the car, and find out WTF happened.

J: I disagree. Hiting the cyclist is a crime. Leaving the scene is a separate crime. Or, at least, both MAY be crimes, depending on the facts. The same underlying facts may give rise to multiple different criminal and civil penalties (e.g. DUI, speeding, negligence, hit and run).

Whether the cyclist was wearing reflective clothing and lights will probably be critical to any civil case. If I understand MD law correctly, a failure to have either would be a per-se violation of the law, which make it very difficult to pursue a civil case.

micahjoh,

I don't know enough about the Sheppard case or Canadian maw to judge whether the prosecutor made the right decision. I'm pretty sure, however, that he knows more about Canadian law and Canadian juries than you do. In this instance, if there is strong case against the motorist ONCE ALL THE EVIDENCE IN, I hope that the prosecutor pursues it. The reality, however, is that trials cost money, that prosecutors worry about conviction rates, and that the standard of proof in criminal justice is not the "sniff test," but reasonable doubt. Civil law has a much lower standard, and that may be where this is going.

Whether the cyclist was wearing reflective clothing and lights will probably be critical to any civil case. If I understand MD law correctly, a failure to have either would be a per-se violation of the law, which make it very difficult to pursue a civil case.

Maryland law requires only a reflector on the rear, no requirement for reflective clothing and the only light required is on the front. It matters not whether a violation is per se, what matters is if it contributed to the collision. For instance: did the lack of a front light contribute to this collision?

Maryland is one of a small number of states that uses a doctrine of contributory negligence: if your actions contributed to your injury in any way you cannot recover. Since the belief that cyclists don't really belong on the road is widespread that is a high bar for any cyclist who is injured.

HI guez,

You said: "but there is a new, angry, frankly anti-rationalist strand"

I would call Brendan's comment fatalistic...

Hi Eric W,

I would call Brendan's comment fatalistic...

Interesting point. When fatalism leads to the conclusion that "we'll never know the answer so we might as well indulge our fantasies of anger," I'd say it enters the realm of anti-rationalism. Fatalism could also lead to skepticism ("we'll never know the answer so we shouldn't make affirmative statements") or fideism ("we'll never know the answer, so let's place our faith in God") etc. etc.

THE CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL IS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN THE WELL LIT PARKING LOT NEXT TO THE ACCIDENT SCENE. FRIDAY AT 6PM with Permission from PG Comm College!

Kenniss, the Mother is planning on bringing attention to the problem of cars hitting bikes and not facing punishment.

I visited the scene today and I can tell you that this driver was distracted at best. Either way, this driver should do the right thing and tell the truth. As stated, the story is NOT plausible. There are two full size lanes and two full size shoulders. With no significant traffic why would a driver not see what they hit? Even in the rear view mirror?!!

Natasha was wearing reflective gear. Her sneakers were reflective and her bike had reflective parts. I picked some of them up from the side of the road today (at the scene).

I truly don't believe the mother was driving the vehicle that caused the accident. I think she is covering up the truth. A mother would not leave the scene such as this. Safety of the driver was not a factor. There is a 24/hr gas station and 24/7 Fire Station within walking distance and viewing distance from the accident scene. And a witness said she saw the driver slow down pull over and then speed off! Those are facts!

guez:

You don't know the facts or the law, but if a Canadian prosecutor says it, it must be true. Are you feeling a little ... anti-rationalist?

Cheers,
Skeets

Contrarian, thanks for that correction. I was reading from an incorrect summary. The original law is pretty clear on point.

John Clendenin (or anyone):
Can you explain precisely where the accident took place. The right lane on largo Road peels off as a right turn lane, with 2 lanes through and then a third lane is added on the right side after the intersection. Did the accident occur in the part of the road with 3 lanes or with 2 lanes?

Just one quick note, I agree with the statement that "I didn't see them" should be an admission of guilt and not a defense, with the caveat that the person should be visible. Riding ninja style - which does not sound like the case here - does not make one visible.

I have two main issues at this time.

One: Violation of ยง 20-102. Driver to remain at scene - Accidents resulting in bodily injury or death. http://www.michie.com/maryland/lpext.dll/mdcode/2617d/27980/27987?f=templates&fn=document-frame.htm&2.0

The police should not be playing judge and jury here. The driver knew they hit something and we know what that something was. If a court of law determines something other then full punishment on this count, that's one thing but for the police to out of pocket dismiss the charge, simply because cyclists are no better then dogs, I am outraged. Only in full light of law and facts as argued by both sides can what is correct here be determined. And for the police to publicly say it's just fine not to stop when you severely injure someone is gross misrepresentation of the law.

Two: Read point #3 on the last page of this document: http://onelesscar.org/files/public/documents/11-3-09%20Resolution%20and%20Cover%20Letter%20to%20Maryland%20State%20Police.pdf

The police are doing it again and should be severely reprimanded.

Skeets,

Which part of "I don't know enough about the Sheppard case or Canadian law to judge whether the prosecutor made the right decision" don't you understand? Reflexively challenging authority (or reflexively defending it) is not rationalist.

@Guez, you're wrong. Eric W. is right. In the face of case after case where a cyclist is killed and all a driver has to say is "I didn't see him/her." How do you convince yourself to get back on a bike?

Me, I suit up for safety, crunch the numbers, say a Hail Mary, ride as safe and visibly as I can, and hope I never get hit. I angrily accept the fact that if I get killed, the driver will be blameless and my family will get nothing.

Washcyle: Actually "I didn't see her" is not an admission of anything, since there is no requirement that a driver must see everything. It is evidence that if true would tend to show negligence, possibly gross negligence depending on why she did not see her; and it would also tend to aquit her of murder and manslaughter (again depending on why she did not see her).

But my first post was a refutation to the original post that we shouldn't speculate what happened. Everything said here is speculation because none of us were witnesses, and our media is not a good presenter of facts. So to use media information is speculation with secondary sources. Everything any of us say about what happened is speculation.

So what's the point of all this speculation? It serves no purpose materially. Why do we bother doing it? To speculate and counter-speculate is a waste of time and therefore irrational (as you say) unless it serves some other purpose. I suggest it's to convince ourselves, that the driver was wrong and the cyclist innocent, hence therapeutic. Does any bit of speculation get lucky and happen to be the truth? Maybe, maybe not, but truth-seeking isn't the purpose. The purpose is to convince ourselves it's OK to bike out there. That biking isn't inherently unsafe and therefore irrational. It's that no matter what we do, some driver will kill us, and that event is up to fate (see Eric W.). Because you can take every precaution and still get killed. The proverbial safe falls on you on the sidewalk.

What is not up to fate is how the judicial system treats cases like this. It is illogical that the cyclist always loses. That makes me angry.

Irrational or fatalistic, be that as it may... I looked up a few personal injury lawyers in NoVa yesterday and wrote an e-mail to my wife instructing her to make the first call to one of those attorneys if she ever gets a call from police (I have a RoadID bracelet) that I have been in an accident.

She knows that the deck is stacked against bicyclists and I am confident she will be fighting tenaciously whether I am there to witness it or not.

I suggest you prepare a trusted person to do something similar in case another reckless driver claims the old Robert Novak defense "I didn't see him/ her".

Does anyone know if Maryland has an equivalent of California's basic speed law? I learned to drive in CA, and it seems like it should matter. (i.e., if you didn't see a cyclist, you were traveling too fast for the conditions of the road). Obviously, IANAL.

22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

We can not change the biases of juries, but we can work to change the code. We have a team of experienced citizen lobbyists with a track record of getting bills through the legislature. What we lack, is a legal study team to ensure that the bills accomplish the most good, and our citizen lobbyists are not lawyers.

I believe it would be possible to eviscerate the doctrine of contributory negligence as it applies to cyclists in Maryland, with the legislative team we have in place, if only we had a legal reform study group to very carefully figure out how the code must be alterred to do this, within the constraints of what we can actually get passed.

I think this needs to be an objective for the 2012 session, not 2011.

I have seen enough venting that I have to wonder: Do you really want to keep complaining like this, or would you prefer to spend the same amount of time devising a solution?. Could those who occasionally complain about the law in Maryland who also have law degrees (or at least have immersed themselves in the code and like to read law review articles) please indicate whether they would be interested in forming such a study group? Either here or emailing me?

@Jim

Unfortunately many of the "I didn't see them" cases involve cyclist on the road in front of them. While a drive might not be able to see everything, they surely should see what is in their path in front of them. If there is reduced visibility then SLOW down. If there were a reasonable chance that the cyclist should have been seen, then "I didn't see them" suggests the driver is not qualified to be behind the wheel at best.

Adding, I don't get the people here who speculate in defense of he driver. Call me irrational, fine. That makes me emotional then. But it's like rooting for the visiting team. It hurts. The driver has plenty of time to lawyer up. All she has to say is "I didn't see her," and she won't even be asked why she didn't see her. Didn't see her is good enough as a defense. Why bother to speculate any further. The authorities don't need a reason and won't care past that. It doesn't matter if it's pre-dawn, dawn (the sun- was-in-my-eyes-didn't-see her excuse) or the middle of the morning (that poor guy out in Maryland run over at 9:00 by the girl late for school).

Nothing outside my control matters. I control how I ride and how I convince myself it's safe for me to ride. I am fatalistic. It's either that or not ride. I might be able to control the judicial process if I get angry and get the right laws enacted.

And Guez, to be clear, I'm not angry at motorists. I'm angry at a justice system that accepts cyclists' deaths like that of dogs or deer and don't care beyond a claim of "I didn't see her." You're damn right I'm angry, I thought my anger was obvious enough that no one here needed you to point it out, but thanks for pointing that out anyway.

If you want to be helpful, if you want to logically talk me out of my emotional fatalistic anger, stop speculating on how innocent the driver was. Find me a case where a driver killed a cyclist, claimed "I didn't see her," but was nonetheless convicted and sentenced to something more than some hours of community service. Give me hope that police and judges see us as more than just roadkill.

Perhaps the "I didn't see her" should be treated like an admission of incompetence, like the insanity defense. If you hurt or kill someone and plead insanity, you may avoid prison, but will be committed to a mental institution instead. Sometimes, this means you are locked away a lot longer.

Analogously, if you plead "I didnt see her" then shouldn't this be an admission of incompetence to drive, resulting in life time ban on driving.

This is good:

From TFLcar:

1) How do you hit a cyclist and continue down the road as if you just hit a bug with your windshield?

2) The Cadillac Escalade has just over 8 inches of ground clearance. That's about the size of a typical bike seat. How do you drag a bike home under the car without hearing the painful grinding of metal on cement and seeing the subsequest sparks from the bike being dragged under the car?

3) Why are police so concerned if Pettigrew had reflective clothing on? We would think they would be more concerned as to why Christy R. Littleford left the scene of the hit and run?

4) Why did it take Christy R. Littleford one hour to call police after she struck Pettigrew?

5) How long was it before EMS services were called to the scene of the hit and run. And, could have timely and immediate medical care saved Pettigrew's life?

6) Why has Christy R. Littleford (a full three days after accident) not been charged with any offence?

7) Why is it that cyclist are treated as second class citizens in the United States?

8) Why is that when riding a bike your life has so little value when you get hit by a car?

In many parts of this country police no longer have any discretion when answering a domestic violence call. In other words, police (by law) are mandated to arrest both parties in the case.

This is because for far too long women (mostly) were abused by their husbands, partners, and boy friends and forgot (willingly or otherwise) about the abuse when police were called to the home.

These laws are specifically designed to protect the person who is the subject of the abuse.

In our opinion we think it is high time that same law applies to any car vs. bike altercation...if only for the safety of the cyclist because for far too long the laws and the police of this land seem to presume the cyclist guilty...even when the driver leaves the scene of the accident and drags the evidence of their tragic action home under the car with them.

http://www.tflcar.com/2010/09/hit-and-run-escalade-driver-drags-triathlete-and-senate-candidates-bike-home-after-tragic-accident.html

Brendan,

How is admitting that I don't know what happened and there is more than one possibility "speculation" that she is innocent? She could be criminally negligent. Maybe she isn't. I don't know. That's all there is to it. I'm waiting for more facts.

As for your "therapy," as I said: that's fine if it works for you. I prefer to be a member of the "reality-based" cycling community.

@Guez, you're wrong. Eric W. is right. In the face of case after case where a cyclist is killed and all a driver has to say is "I didn't see him/her." How do you convince yourself to get back on a bike?

@Brendan,

You must be new here: guez is our resident nihilist. No matter how much evidence piles up, there's simply no way anyone can *truly* know anything about anything.

If guez got wind that Renee Bowman's dead kids had ever been on a bicycle, he'd be the first to craft a plausible scenario that vindicated their mom.

After all, who can ever know the truth of these things?

Guez,

Thanks for explaining how your reaction is the only acceptable one. I liked how dismissive you were. Nice touch. Good luck with your speculation when you get all the facts.

Nihilists! F(@# me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

What would the Dude think?

Jim Titus: The accident scene is Rt 202 and the corner of Campus Way (the South Corner). If you are on the Southbound side of Route 202 and soon as you pass the light for Campus Way (At the light is a Gas Station and to your left across the street is a Fire Station). From that corner approximately 500 ft is the accident scene. Largo HS and a parking lot is visible and well lit to your right. There are two full shoulders and 2 full lanes.

Quoting the article above: "The driver, Christy R. Littleford, 41, claims that she thought she hit a deer or a dog and did not stop. HOWEVER A WITNESS SAYS THAT SHE SAW THE SUV STOP AND PULL OVER. It was not until reaching home that she realized she had hit a cyclist and she called the police." How about that witness? What time did the witness call for an ambulance . . . or call the police to report the accident . . . or render aid to the injured Miss Pettigrew?

When I witnessed a bike accident in Boston, I was really upset just how solicitous the police were to the elderly lady at fault. She turned left across Mass Ave in Cambridge and hit a tri-guy head on a few yards in front of me, then drove home. She reappeared a few minutes later on foot (lived nearby) to watch the paramedics trying to save the poor kid's life. The police spoke very politely with her, ignored me, and wrote the cyclist a summons which they gave to the EMT's as they trundled him off. I don't know what she said, but "I didn't see him" seems to fit. The police don't like us, and will blandly accept just about anybody's word over ours, that's the way it is.

Look, if you want to use me as a punching bag, then that's fine (this is the internet and all). What makes *me* angry is the idea that disagreeing with the blog groupthink means you're "rooting for the visiting team." I will admit that I responded angrily to Brendan and I regret that now.

I should also say that I was genuinely saddened when I heard about Ms. Pettigrew's death. But let's face it, that's not what this is about anymore. It's about the frustration of cyclists who have to face the perils of the road everyday (myself included). I'm not sure why, but assuming that this is a cut-and-dry case of a cyclist being mowed over by a negligent driver doesn't make it any easier for me to get on the bike. In fact, sometimes admitting that I don't know the answers makes it easier for me to deal with the world.

Peace.

How about that witness?
The Fox news video was the only media report that I saw that mentioned the witness. They said the driver was stopped but drove off when the witness appeared. The witness apparently called 911 immediately so it's hard to atribute any significant delay in treatment to the driver.

Some thoughts from afar.

We are told not to pre-judge the matter as the investigation will take weeks if not months to complete.

Yet within hours of Ms. Petttigrew's death the police are on camera stating that the driver, who has stuck and left a cyclist to die by the side of the road, violated no laws.

The police also inform the media that that the cyclist wasn't wearing any reflective clothing. But then we see that the victim's own mother finds such clothing left behind at the scene. We also learn of evidence of smashed reflectors strewn about.

It is inconceivable to me that someone apparently into cycling as much Ms Pettigrew was, preparing for a triathlon, training in the early morning hours, would not have the proper lighting etc. on her bike.

The police spokesman says the driver reported finding the bike stuck to the front of heir car "immediately" upon arriving home. The Post puts the call at an hour later. Fox News quotes police sources as it being 4 hours later. Is somebody trying to shade the the truth here?

The driver is said to live 3 miles from the scene. Even with the semi-demolished state of her truck she should have arrived home well under an hour. Say 15 minutes.

I noticed in the videos that the truck was backed into the garage. Curious 'cause I'd say 9/10 people pull into garages.

Someone pointed out that the principal damage to the truck was on the left front. Directly in front of where the driver sits. Another poster here said he visited the scene and describes the roadway as having a wide shoulder. The videos of the scene suggest to me that Ms Pettigrew was struck while on that shoulder.

Isn't it possible the truck left the travel lanes? I know - the police have already said the driver violated no laws and we shouldn't speculate any further.

I'm going on vacation tomorrow and I put in 65 hours at work over the last 5 days, so I've not been part of this conversation as much as I'd like, but, my thoughts are - and some of these have been addressed.

1. One hour is a long time to drive 3 miles, realize you hit a cyclist and call 911.
2. How many people would hit a deer even and then drive home with a car that is billowing smoke without pulling over to make sure the car is safe? No many I suspect.
3. I want to know WHY the driver didn't see her.
4. Despite all of this, I think there is something to be gained by appearing to be impossibly reasonable and patient. I don't always pull that off, but I'd like to know the answer to the above questions before I pass judgement. But there is nothing wrong with contacting the police about the way they talk to the media before they answer these questions to the media. We gain the moral high ground by not behaving badly even when the police do.
5. It's not true that drivers don't get punished for killing cyclists. It is true that drivers often get away with killing other road users. But it is not uniquely cyclists and it is not universal. I read the Google headlines every day for bicycling. They are about 90% about cyclists who were hit and killed (at 700 a year, that's about 2 a day, and those stories, and stories about their subsequent investigation and prosecution are well covered by the MSM). And there are often stories about drivers being prosecuted.

From today for example:
http://www.stargazette.com/article/20100923/NEWS01/9230427/Teen+cyclist+injured+in+crash++driver+charged

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_16158516?nclick_check=1

I went out there before seeing John Clendenin's reply, and looking at the intersection, the obvious place for a road conflict would have been either before the intersection , after the right turn lane peels off, or around the place where the entrance lane merges in. Do we know where the driver was coming from, or whether she had her headlights on?

By the way, in St. Mary's County an
off-duty sheriff's deputy was hit while riding a bike
.

Contrarian: I haven't been able to view the fox video, so its very interesting that witness said that the driver stopped and then drove off. That does smell bad, no?

TOMORROW - October 1, 2010 at 10:30am The Washington Area Bike Association is placing a "Ghost Bike" at the scene of the accident that killed Natasha Pettigrew! The goal is to bring additional awareness to bike safety. The public will see what happens when Motorists are not paying attention and not sharing the road.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009

Categories

 Subscribe in a reader