Followup: Working for safer West Seattle streets in Lucy’s honor

One week ago, we published the sad story of the hit-run crash that killed Lucy, a 13-year-old Golden Retriever. First we heard from the witness who saw the whole thing, as Lucy and her owner were crossing California SW at Dakota. Then we heard directly from Matt, who was with Lucy when it happened, and almost got hit himself. While there is no word from police on any break in the case, those who told their stories have been working on the pedestrian-safety advocacy they hope might be Lucy’s legacy. We promised a followup. First, the witness e-mailed three City Council members, who, he says, got a fourth involved, which ultimately led him to Seattle City Light to make sure the street light on the southwest corner of that intersection is working. He was also pointed to SDOT to request better signage for the crosswalk.

The witness was also directly in touch with Matt (and wife Sarah), who say they have connected with SDOT’s community traffic liaison, Jim Curtin. They learned Jim, a West Seattleite, had heard about Lucy’s death via WSB, and they wrote:

Jim informed me that the wheels are turning at SDOT and they plan to do a full site visit and evaluation to determine the most appropriate options for making the California/Dakota intersection safer. He indicated that he will be back in touch with me within one to two weeks with recommendations and next steps. Additionally, we briefly discussed potential opportunities for funding if there isn’t a budget for the recommended improvements. Some alternative sources of funds could include the SDOT Neighborhood Street Fund and/or the DON Neighborhood Matching Fund in conjunction with community funding (via fundraiser).

Also, we’ve received a more detailed description of the vehicle involved in the hit-run incident from the Seattle Police Department. The vehicle is a customized dark colored El Camino with possibly aftermarket grill and rims and tinted windows. It would be great if we could ask the community to keep a look out for this vehicle and, if seen, inform the Police. The SW Precinct police officers involved have been incredibly responsive and helpful.

… Please let the community know how much we appreciate all their kind words and thoughts for our family during this difficult time and how fortunate we feel to live in such a wonderful, close-knit community.

We’ll continue to follow up.

22 Replies to "Followup: Working for safer West Seattle streets in Lucy's honor"

  • coffee March 18, 2011 (3:32 pm)

    Thank you for a better car description! That raises a question, where to we report to if we see that car roaming around? I only ask because I spend a good part of my day on the roads here in West Seattle for work.

  • Live Here; Learn Here March 18, 2011 (3:42 pm)

    Reading Lucy’s story not only made me bawl, I became outraged! I will MORE than keep my eyes peeled for this car and will NOT hesitate to plate & photograph any car under this description then call the police.

    My heart aches for you guys. Know that Lucy is waiting at the end of the trail for you.

  • onceachef March 18, 2011 (3:50 pm)

    Even with all the burglaries, car break-ins, etc., getting the driver of this car arrested is the number one thing I want to have happen. I’m pretty sure vehicular manslaughter doesn’t apply to a pet (does it?) but I hope they throw everything in the book possible at him or her.
    It’s one thing to lose “stuff” but a losing a life like Lucy’s is unforgivable (unless he/she does the right thing and turn himself in). I, for one, am on the hunt for an El Camino!

  • DC March 18, 2011 (3:51 pm)

    I’m so glad it seems like something will be done about this.
    Some of the crosswalks off of California are hard to see, not that is any excuse, just hopefully this tragedy won’t happen again.

  • SN March 18, 2011 (3:54 pm)

    The accident itself is tragic. At the very least, the driver should’ve stopped. No doubt it could have been prevented. I hate to say it but the first step towards prevention would’ve been to keep Lucy on her leash.

  • j9 March 18, 2011 (4:16 pm)


    Where did you read that Lucy was off leash?

  • SN March 18, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    J9: Ask Matt or the witness if Lucy was off leash. Leash or no leash, the culprit should’ve stopped. Unfortunately, the most the guy/girl is facing is hit and run property damage.

  • lucy March 18, 2011 (5:13 pm)

    sorry for your loss – losing a dog is so hard but this way must be just terrible. I hope they catch the culprit.

  • Julia (not the victim) March 18, 2011 (5:29 pm)

    Whether or not Lucy was leashed is beside the point when you consider that this could have easily happened to a toddler or child running ahead of their parent, or someone pushing their stroller ahead of them. The problem is that the car did not look or stop. Please stop blaming the dog owners; surely they are already in enough pain.

  • Melissa March 18, 2011 (6:28 pm)

    As I started to cross with a walk signal from the corner infront of Shadowland to Lee’s the other night with my 5 and 8 year olds, a youngish (20’s) guy in a black truck with a covered bed, with a red, decided that he should ignore the red light and turn right. I pulled my kids back and whacked the side of his truck with the car seat I happened to be carrying. He was that close to hitting us. People need to slow the hell down and watch out for pedestrians.

    I’m so sorry about Lucy. Hope the police find the person who ran her down.

  • SN March 18, 2011 (6:34 pm)

    No one is placing blame or pointing the finger at the owners. We can sit here and state hypotheticals until we are blue in the face. The fact of the matter is a person and/or toddler was not hit or killed. In THIS instance, a family’s dog was killed, their lives forever changed and the culprit didn’t stop.

  • FOP March 18, 2011 (7:04 pm)

    If you have any more information to provide the police about the car or anything else that may help identify the driver call the SPD non-emergency number at: (206) 625-5011 then hit 2 then 8. Alternatively you can just call the number and wait and listen through the first set of instructions and an operator will pick up. In the last blog about this it was noted the incident number is 2011-80320.

  • EmmyJane March 18, 2011 (8:18 pm)

    To the owners of beautiful Lucy – I’m so sorry that you lost your girl. It must be a really hard time… I’ll be sending happy thoughts your direction.

  • EmmyJane March 18, 2011 (8:22 pm)

    To anyone else on here that feels it necessary to blame someone that just lost their family member – you obviously don’t understand the pain of losing an animal. One of the common feelings felt during the grieving process is guilt. I would imagine those of you passing judgment have never felt how horrible this feeling can be, because if you had you would never contribute to causing someone else to feel that. These people are going through enough, please don’t make it worse for them.

  • ws March 19, 2011 (12:33 am)

    Should of, would of, could of…isn’t the intent to make the crosswalk safer for those in the community that use it? Sad for them, but this is a good thing in the long run.

  • amnesiak March 19, 2011 (8:39 am)

    I would be in favor of calling on SPD to do more ‘crosswalk stings‘ – the law is that if a pedestrian has their foot out in the street, you have to stop. Almost no one does.

    Good places would be where they did it before (california/dawson by the rite-aid), plus california/dakota, alaska/41st.

    WSB, can you contact the police and suggest this?

  • fiz March 19, 2011 (9:09 am)

    And then there is the stop sign at 44th and Edmunds at the hardware store. Apparently it’s merely a suggestion to a lot of drivers. We often see half of them blow through it. It’s especially bad during rush hour.
    How do we get an emphasis patrol there?

  • Cheryl March 19, 2011 (1:49 pm)

    I feel really bad for Lucy and her owners. I have been a pet owner my whole life and I can’t imagine how awful it must have been to watch your beloved dog get hit by a car. Oh wait, yes I can. My boxer Frasier was mowed over by a hit-and-run driver. Snapped his back right in two.
    But here’s the thing, as awful and callous as these reckless drivers are, it is up to US as pedestrians to MAKE SURE that drivers SEE us before we venture into the street. Double check. Triple check. Walk a little further if you have to find a cross walk that you know you’ll be seen in. I have never understood the Seattle mentality that pedestrians have the right of way, no matter what. Cars are WAY bigger and heavier than I am. I will never, ever assume that a car sees me, or that they will yield to me when/if they do. Never. The onus *IS* on me to be responsible.
    I can’t tell you how many moms I’ve seen on street corners, with their baby strollers way out in front of them, hanging off the curb into the street even… what do they think will happen if a car loses control and takes out their baby? Not a risk I’m going to take, not with my kid or my pet.
    I’m beyond sad that Lucy lost her life to a careless, reckless a**hole of a driver. And I absolutely think condolences are in order to the owners. But turning this into a campaign for more pedestrian “rights” is really a terrible idea IMO.

  • cathyw March 19, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    This story breaks my heart…..
    As to the crosswalk: I stopped for a pedestrian in my car there this morning. The car in the oncoming lane stopped also. AND THEN the car in line behind that car actually pulled out and around the stopped car into the center turn lane and proceeded through the crosswalk while the pedestrian was still in the crosswalk. Unbelievable.

  • Bob Loblaw March 20, 2011 (3:06 pm)

    I found the car today and called the police. The dispatcher said this case was closed as “dog off leash, hit and killed.” According to him, it is not a crime to hit and run on a pet. If there actually is a case that SW Precinct is working on, let me know. I’ve got pics of the car and the plate, and a description of the driver if you’d like. Also, I informed WSB for follow-up, so stay tuned for that. Very sorry about your loss.

  • Live Here; Learn Here March 20, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    Bob, wonderful job and thank you for doing the right thing.

    Lucy’s owners: DO NOT let some dispatcher tell you that the case is closed. Do not allow the police to look at this as your fault. PLEASE take Bob’s information and WALK it into the SW Precinct and talk with the Sgt. on duty. A crime was committed here and the police need to further investigate the information gathered. Whether or not they can nab the guy for killing Lucy and running, there are enough witnesses to at least warrant the police to show up at his door step and “chat” with him. Maybe there is a chance that a reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident citation or warning can be issued.

    Please don’t walk away from this. It’s just so easy for us to turn, close our doors and just “put it behind us”. Doing so would a prime example of why such a$$h%|#$ like this continue to negatively effect us and walk around with such arrogance and petulance.

    What Would Lucy Do?

  • We Love Lucy March 22, 2011 (9:42 am)

    We were told by SPD that a hit-run is a hit-run regardless of whether it’s our car or dog off leash. Apparently this may not be clear among all 911 dispatch staff. Bob thanks for keeping a lookout and please get a hold of us through Tracy.

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