47th/Admiral crosswalk death: Driver found guilty of assault

That was the verdict against West Seattle rabbi Ephraim Schwartz from a Seattle Municipal Court jury this morning, according to the P-I. The crash that killed then-City Councilmember David Della‘s chief of staff, 29-year-old Tatsuo Nakata, happened 14 months ago.

9 Replies to "47th/Admiral crosswalk death: Driver found guilty of assault"

  • wseadawg January 18, 2008 (3:29 pm)

    Though the verdict may be just, nothing can bring the young man back, and a man will be punished not so much for his actions, but the consequences of them. I am sad for both families. Who among us has not had a similar close call? I sincerely hope it sets an example and reminds us all to be safer and more considerate of others, and for drivers and pedestrians alike to be cautious in the many dark hollows and shadows in our neighborhoods where visibility is poor or deceptive. All intersections are unmarked crosswalks. Let’s keep that in mind. We’re all in this together. Let’s be careful out there and look out for one another.

  • wseadawg January 18, 2008 (3:34 pm)

    And I realize this young man was apparently struck in a crosswalk, but we’ve got to anticipate pedestrians at any intersection, marked or not.

  • boatingbob January 18, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    Another thing to remember is that the Rabbi was yapping on a cell phone at the time (according to an article I read in the P-i). Folks, we’ve GOT to be careful with those things; fortunately, the word is getting out. Last week, a guy driving a really flash 911 PULLED OVER in front of my townhouse to make a call on his cel. I’m straight, yet I could’ve kissed the guy for his consideration. Since moving here 4 years ago, I’ve noted that WS peeps just seem a little more friendly and considerate of others than anywhere I’ve lived before. Keep up the good work.

  • beachwalker January 18, 2008 (9:31 pm)

    Multiple prior traffic violations. Outgoing and incoming cell phone calls just prior to hitting the victim. Very, very sad. Be extra cautious and defensive out there. Besides drunk drivers there are others behind the wheel who can cause major problems on the roads. Phones and driving don’t mix.

  • flipjack January 19, 2008 (10:45 am)

    Man, I feel so sorry for both parties.
    When does that cell phone driving law go into effect?
    Maybe we should issue licenses for using cell phones too. Driving tests with hands free devices..if it’s going to be legal. I’ve had collisions on the dang sidewalk with people walking and talking on their cell phone. What does that say about your attention when driving. Just a bad idea.

  • old timer January 19, 2008 (12:52 pm)

    IMO, that ‘driver’ got away with murder.

    Inattentive is too charitable an assessment,
    more like grossly negligent.

    Not owning a cell phone, I’m immune to it’s siren call;
    my glasses are unfogged by it’s hot breath;
    my focus is undisturbed by it’s frantic urgency.

    The rest of you

  • Katydid January 19, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    LOL, old timer….I’m with you all the way.

  • A Friend January 20, 2008 (4:30 pm)

    Matt Nakata was a friend of mine. And while punishing someone for a crime (and it was a crime) won’t bring back the victim, it doesn’t mean that the guilty shouldn’t be held accountable. Perhaps the problem is that people don’t see it as a crime. But let’s be clear, the crime is not talking on your phone while driving, the crime is not paying attention to the road. If you can’t do both, then you’d better figure out which is more important.

    If you had been at Matt’s memorial service, you would see how many lives he’s touched. To have him taken away by someone who apparently hasn’t learned his lesson after multiple incidents… it’s just sickening. A car is far more dangerous than a gun, if you can’t treat it accordingly, you shouldn’t be driving.

    I hope they throw the book at him, and I hope they make it very well known. People should know the price we all pay for our negligence.

  • callas59 January 28, 2008 (12:57 am)

    I live not far from the accident site, and drive by the now constricted and brightly flashered roadway every work day. It seems to me that having the new crosswalk lights flashing continuously is counter productive. If they only flashed when a pedestrian had hit the cross-walk call button, (I assume there is one), it would sure seem to be much more effective. As it is, the lights flashing 24/7 serves to give pedestrians an even more false sense of security. As all of us know, even without cell phones, drivers are continuously barraged by inputs that must be processed instantaneously. I have had it more than once that people walk out in front of me at various places assuming I will stop – before I’ve given any indication I intend to do so. Once, a person “appeared” out from behind my cars window side pedestal when I was almost on top of them – they were totally blocked from my view by the car structure, which unfortunately, was perfectly in synch with their motion. Whew, that was close, and they got all huffy about it. But I and my car are about 2 tons of steel with a lot of momentum and are not nearly as maneuverable as a healthy independently mobile pedestrian. It is horrible whenever someone gets killed or injured in an avoidable accident, but the mitigation now undertaken seems to put all the responsibility on drivers, and I fear, is only setting things up for another sad accident. I suggest in addition to the on-call-only flashers, that, at the very least, all pedestrians should have the responsibility to stand and wait until traffic has stopped before walking out into an active traffic lane. If they choose not to wait for that car, coming from a block or two away, to stop, they are at serious risk of becoming a statistic, and making someone else one too. This is not tricky, it is what I was taught by my parents and has served me well, and what I taught my child. Please, I am only making general observations about these kinds of situations, and have no idea about the particulars of the fatal accident in question.

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