Updates: Teenage girl hit crossing 35th at Juneau


(Investigation photo added 4:12 pm)
Just got two reports about this, and we’re en route to check it out in person: Some kind of crash has closed 35th between Findlay and Graham (High Point area; here’s a map), so obviously stay clear. (There’s been an open “medic response” call at 35th/Juneau since just before 3 pm, so likely that’s related.) More to come. 3:44 PM UPDATE: Our crew’s getting closer and confirms people are being turned around at Findlay. 3:50 PM UPDATE: We’re being told at the scene that a pedestrian got hit, 35th/Juneau. A witness tells us it may have been a teenager – books and clothes are visible in the street – and that the injuries are believed to have been life-threatening. An official police/fire spokesperson is expected at the scene shortly. 4 PM UPDATE: Police briefing just concluded — teenage girl hit while crossing 35th at Juneau, west to east, black SUV hit her, crime investigators have just arrived – trying to get in touch with witnesses and hope to have the street open within the next two hours. The girl was taken to Harborview Medical Center; no word on her condition. 4:50 PM UPDATE: Adding video of what Sgt. A.T. Bailey of Seattle Police told reporters at the scene:

Also, here’s the vehicle that police say hit the girl:


ADDED 5 PM: Thanks to the commenters who have added information (as well as discussion). This is about a half-mile from the scene of the deadly car vs. pedestrian crash near Camp Long that killed Gregory Hampel last month; we also have covered previous non-fatal crashes at 35th/Juneau (here is a sample report from earlier this year). 5:04 PM UPDATE: We just checked back at the scene – 35th is still closed – “traffic is a nightmare,” according to our crew – please avoid the area. 6:52 PM UPDATE: 35th is now open.

87 Replies to "Updates: Teenage girl hit crossing 35th at Juneau"

  • db September 4, 2008 (3:43 pm)

    Ok- less than a week ago there was a huge wreck in almost the exact same place… what is going on ?

  • Eric Goetz September 4, 2008 (3:45 pm)

    Looks like another car, pedestrian accident right at 35th and Juneau. I have a bad feeling this one is also a fatality.

  • Jen V. September 4, 2008 (3:45 pm)

    helicopter overhead, too

  • Coinkiedink September 4, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    OMG They need to put a traffic light!

  • JimmyG September 4, 2008 (3:49 pm)

    It’s a serious injury car/ped accident.

  • thelmasue September 4, 2008 (3:54 pm)

    three pedestrians killed on 35th in the past year – and now this. when will the city do something about I-35??

  • JimmyG September 4, 2008 (3:58 pm)

    I don’t care about what the city is going to do.
    I’d like to see some personal responsibility from all drivers on 35th.
    We all know the speed limit, the majority of drivers on 35th are WS residents.
    All of us WS citizens on 35th need to slow down to the speed limit and pay attention.

  • C R September 4, 2008 (4:00 pm)

    A girl was struck by a car on 35th ave as she was crossing the street. One vehicle on the outside lane stopped to let her pass and another vehicle not knowing drove past the stopped car on the inside lane hitting the girl. Girl is in serious condition.

  • db September 4, 2008 (4:01 pm)

    Yes- I definitely think a higher police presence on this street would be great. I was in Bellevue today going down 156th, which is an arterial, but kind of a back roads arterial…. I passed at least 2 of the portable speed readers that blink at you and flash strobe lights if you’re going too fast…. couldn’t we at least rate something like that on our main arterial with the frequent fatalities? Someone should call Problem Solvers and get some citywide attention on this issue!

  • Eric Goetz September 4, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    Actually, the accident was 1 block from the new pedestrian light at 35th and Raymond (literally just configured yesterday — I don’t think it’s related).

    I hate to say it, but probably the only solution is to reduce the speed limit to 30 on I-35. They already patrol it pretty heavily for speeders.

    I just hope the person is OK, the officer told me it was a high school aged pedestrian.

  • paul September 4, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    YES JimmyG! 35th is completely out of control. When we had our embroidery shop on 35th and Webster we used to comment about the speeds on 35th and the fact that the SPD does not do a good job passing out tickets. A few weeks ago I was just wondering about a person I was following so I kept up the pace until I hit 45 MPH and then stopped as the car kept speeding up. Its really bad.

  • thelmasue September 4, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    yeah, well, if people took responsibility, we wouldn’t need government. i know the partner of the last person killed on 35th, just three plus weeks ago. these are PEOPLE, not statistics. drivers aren’t slowing down out of a sense of personal responsibility. they’re speeding up and KILLING PEOPLE. can you imagine if your teenage child, on the 2nd day of school, was hit by a car, possibly killed? NOT ACCEPTABLE.

  • C R September 4, 2008 (4:05 pm)

    The girl is believe to have a fractured scull and it is unknown at this time if the driver was speeding. so lets not jump to conclusions.

  • MAS September 4, 2008 (4:12 pm)

    Is there a crosswalk at that intersection?

  • add September 4, 2008 (4:12 pm)

    This is crazy. There needs to be a ton more cops patrolling that street! I drive it almost every day and have become much more aware of my speed since reading this blog. Pay attention people!!! I sure hope that poor kid is OK.

  • Babs September 4, 2008 (4:14 pm)

    Agree, the lanes are so narrow also that its downright scary to drive on 35th. I stay out of the left lane 95% of the time out of fear of a head-on. People do drive it like a mini freeway. Sadly, it might take the death of some politician’s family member to get the problem looked at…

  • SpeedingbBad September 4, 2008 (4:15 pm)

    If you think their needs to be more cops driving that street, then do your part and sign up for the department. We don’t have enough officers in this city to be proactive. Stop blaming people and lets just make sure this does not happen again.

  • thelmasue September 4, 2008 (4:17 pm)

    i work at 36th & brandon, just blocks from the accident, and went out on an errand just before it happened. on my way back, i saw the helicopter and as i got closer to 35th, lots of traffic on the normally very quiet side streets. were these people driving slowly through the narrow, cars-parked-on-both-sides, residential streets? mostly, no. they were mostly aggressive, impatient, and speeding. some waited politely, giving others a turn to pass through, but they were the minority. we need driving rehab for everybody. maybe we need to add a road rage test for renewing licenses.

  • JimmyG September 4, 2008 (4:20 pm)

    MAS, FYI: all intersections ARE crosswalks.

  • KC September 4, 2008 (4:20 pm)

    Eric – I’m curious about your statement – “They already patrol it pretty heavily for speeders.”

    I drive 35th regularly and have witnessed very few pulled over for speeding, maybe three in eight years! And I never ever see cop cars checking speed.

    Where do you see the cops? Maybe it’s outside my range or usual driving time. Yes, we need personal responsibility but a few obvious radar guns pointing at you would help…

  • db September 4, 2008 (4:24 pm)

    I agree, KC. It seems like our drivers need radar guns and the threat of a ticket to remember to be even slightly cautious. When was the last time you saw a cop on the WS bridge? I personally LOVE when they hang out in the bus lane at the base of the bridge so that people don’t break all the rules.

    I also agree that our PD is understaffed…. they mean well, but I was shocked last year during a problem in our neighborhood when I met with some folks at the station. I think they told me there are only about 8 police officers to patrol our entire neighborhood. Again… the biggest neighborhood in the city. So- think how scary that is for the smaller neighborhoods!

  • paul September 4, 2008 (4:25 pm)

    just watched an accident at raymond and fauntleroy, and guess what, one was speeding down fauntleroy….another west seattle “freeway” as people head towards the ferry.

  • db September 4, 2008 (4:28 pm)

    Oh yes- and I live on that corner… Raymond has become so much more trafficed too- as people realize it’s a cut through to 35th with a light….

  • SpeedingbBad September 4, 2008 (4:29 pm)

    Who ever said the car that hit the teenager was speeding?

  • thelmasue September 4, 2008 (4:35 pm)

    maybe the car wasn’t speeding, SpeedingbBad. but 2 fatalities in less than one month in less than one mile of each other on the same road, and 2 others on said road within the past year, points to a problem, a problem that city government and police departments are best equipped to address.
    remember: we are talking about LIFE LOST here. pray to the gods and goddesses that today’s victim will be all right, but even if she lives, she’s gonna be in a world of hurt for a long time. she shouldn’t have to endure that. 2nd day back to school. have a heart. let yourself be anguished for her.

  • Eric Goetz September 4, 2008 (4:35 pm)

    KC, Regarding patrolling 35th. My view my be biased, as I live on 35th and work from home. I regularly hear patrol cars pulling people over, so it seems like it’s heavily patrolled, when in fact it may not be.

    I’m certainly not against police patrolling it more.


  • Chris September 4, 2008 (4:36 pm)

    I live on 35th on the block where this happened, and I work from home by a window overlooking the street all day. SPD does set up radar traps on this stretch of 35th on a pretty regular basis, and I would guess I see three or four cars a month stopped in front of my house getting a ticket (and I’m sure there are more that I that they pull over elsewhere). The ticketing doesn’t seem to be changing peoples behavior in general, unfortunately.

    What we need on 35th are measures to throttle drivers speed such as planting strip bump-outs around intersections to reduce the perceived width of the road and reduce traffic speed, rumble strips or stamped concrete crosswalks at intersections as an auditory cue to slow down, and additional signage (and the radars signs mentioned above are a great idea).

    I certainly don’t want to blame any victims, but pedestrians have got to be smart about crossing 35th too. There were crosswalks with signals one block north and south of where this accident occurred. It is always worth the extra three or four minutes of time not to have to dodge oncoming traffic.

    My hopes and sympathies go out to this girl and her family, and I hope this helps remind drivers that its 35th AVENUE, not I-35.

  • daleb September 4, 2008 (4:40 pm)

    That intersection does not have a marked crosswalk.

    I posted a few pictures here:

  • thelmasue September 4, 2008 (4:57 pm)

    OH! let me correct: not 2 fatalities in less than one month, G-d forbid! one fatality (3 weeks ago) and today’s accident. 2 other fatalities over the past year.
    may she who was hit today have a complete and speedy recovery.

  • chas redmond September 4, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    There’s two technologies which might help. First one is radar speed cameras – you speed, you get a ticket. The second is signal lights timed to a radar-speed detector so that if the average speed is over the speed limit, the unit triggers red lights ahead. Both should be tired on 35th and Roxbury. Those who don’t live near Roxbury may not know, but Roxbury is every bit as dangerous as 35th and has just as many speeders and great distances between lights. Believe it or not, Myers Way is 35 and yet cars speed up that hill going close to 60. It’s also a walking trail and biking trail connection to South Park.

  • Rick September 4, 2008 (5:04 pm)

    Pedestrian education would be helpful. A car slowing or stopping at an intersection doesn’t always indicate a pedestrian even though I always assume it does.Some folks just stop before turning right out of confusion or indecesion. When I am the pedestrian I also assume just because one car has stopped doesn’t necessarily mean the one in the inside lane will also. My thoughts to both parties in this situation. I have been hit at full speed in a crosswalk with no other cars stopped as I made the wrong assumption that the driver saw me. I also wouldn’t to be the driver that hit someone.

  • Katie McA September 4, 2008 (5:14 pm)

    As I left Harborview where I volunteer, I was cut off by a guy doing at least 65 on the WS Bridge. I can’t tell you how many people have cut me off and sped past me on 35th (and I’m not a slow driver by any stretch of the imagination). If people left the house 10 minutes earlier and took a little responsibility things like this wouldn’t happen. I can tell you firsthand that the pedestrian doesn’t fare so well versus a motor vehicle.

  • JH September 4, 2008 (5:16 pm)

    Having a teenage daughter myself, this just made my heart drop.

  • Indaknow September 4, 2008 (5:19 pm)

    This is a horrible intersection. I often turn West onto Juneau on my way to my mom’s house in this neighborhood. Two to three years ago, I would be one of the only left turners at 35th and Juneau. Now there is a steady stream of left turners wanting to travel East onto Juneau as well. It is difficult because traffic in neither direction has a clear view of who is moving to the outside lane to drive around the left-turners. I cringe whenever I see the #21 bus dropping people off there because I know they are likely to begin their “frogger-like” attempt to cross. It is worse than crossing Fauntleroy Way. I wouldn’t try it. Now that most high-school students use Metro for transportation they don’t get the built-in safe passage that they did with the yellow buses and their flashing red lights. I hope that this girl is okay.

  • mellaw6565 September 4, 2008 (5:22 pm)

    I’m surprised that everyone is lashing out at the driver. There is absolutely NO proof that the driver was speeding. It is often very difficult to see that a car next to you has stopped for a pedestrian vs. turning left – ESPECIALLY at 35th & Juneau where cars turn left all the time. Don’t assume that the driver was negligent or speeding. It may have just been a tragic accident, and if so, I also feel bad for the driver who may be in total shock and dismay. It’s a bad situation for all.
    Pedestrians need a lot of educating too here in this city – like not walking out in front of cars and assuming they will stop – something I see pedestrians do all the time. I know it’s the law to stop, but that doesn’t negate a pedestrian’s responsibility to look and listen before crossing.
    I also agree with the poster that there are two marked crosswalks just north and south of there that were put there for a purpose – to make it easier for pedestrians to be seen while crossing and make the crossing easier for drivers to spot. Pedestrians need to use those when possible.

  • Scott September 4, 2008 (5:30 pm)

    Same intersection where there was a drive-by shooting several years ago of a 14 y/o kid. SW corner.
    Can’t remember the name, but he died at the scene.

  • HighlandParkster September 4, 2008 (5:34 pm)

    I have to agree that this thread appears to vilify the driver (and all drivers in general) based on no evidence whatsoever. Pedestrians should be held accountable for their behavior as well. I have seen too many people just step off the curb without as much as a glance. The city has made a number of improvements along 35th: crosswalks, traffic lights, improved signage, etc. Speed doesn’t really kill. Inattention, recklessness, and the feeling that you are the only person on the road kills. Does that sound like any Seattle area drivers?

  • mellaw6565 September 4, 2008 (5:43 pm)

    Also – please remember to teach your children that this law DOES NOT apply in other states and cities. You will get run over. My teenage stepdaughter went off to college in Massachusetts, was used to being here, and stepped off a curb at an intersection assuming the driver would stop. They didn’t stop (weren’t required to at an unmarked intersection)but also it was foggy that morning. Fortunately for her, she only sustained some bruising because the driver was going slow, but she told us that it “woke her up” about how complacent pedestrians are in Seattle.

  • old timer September 4, 2008 (5:50 pm)

    “. Speed doesn’t really kill. Inattention, recklessness, and the feeling that you are the only person on the road kills.”

    And what does the entitled attitude that allows inattention, recklessness, and lord of the road behavior result in?
    Don’t kid yourself, it’s ALL ABOUT SPEED.
    If you weren’t inattentive, you wouldn’t speed.
    If you weren’t reckless, you wouldn’t speed.
    If you thought you just might be one of the herd on the road, you wouldn’t speed.
    It’s all about speed for these self-entitled bits of trash that fly through every neighborhood and along every piece of freeway.
    I’m all for the speed-cam.

  • mellaw6565 September 4, 2008 (5:53 pm)

    Scott – his name was David Chin

  • old timer September 4, 2008 (5:54 pm)

    And as a bit more, maybe it’s the SPEED on 35th that drivers at intersections have come to expect that causes them in turn to make sometimes rash and hasty decisions.
    Sloppy self-entitlement breeds unintended consequences.

  • JimmyG September 4, 2008 (6:26 pm)

    The 14 year old homicide victim’s last name was Chhin.

  • chas redmond September 4, 2008 (6:28 pm)

    Actually speed does kill. Eighty percent of pedestrians hit by a vehicle moving at 35 mph or faster will be fatally injured or killed instantly. This is even worse for SUVs because they knock one flat and then run over them; cars sometimes knock the individual up on the hood – has to do with the impact point and the center-of-gravity of the person. But, yes, speed definitely kills. The numbers get even worse at higher speeds. 25 mph ought to be the absolute highest speed in a city where pedestrians are mixing with vehicles and even that will produce some deaths but mostly just broken and mangled humans still alive. The state says urban and municipal speed limits should be 25. Seattle chooses to ignore that recommendation on almost all of its arterials.

  • Cami September 4, 2008 (6:36 pm)

    We drove by right after this happened and saw the girls pink shoes in the road. It was chilling to see. I hope she is okay.

  • Brandon September 4, 2008 (6:40 pm)

    Soooo many drivers cut through that neighborhood to avoid Fauntleroy and the traffice signals. We live on 37th and its like a mini I-37 since it is the only thru street that skips the Junction. I do see m/c cops tagging cars at Brandon/35th, but they could live out there all day and stay busy. I’d like to see them cruise the side streets too, especially if you drive a silver p/u on 37th each morning at 6:15 a.m. and you look like you’re late every morning. 45/50 mph??

  • db September 4, 2008 (6:51 pm)

    Yes, it is possible that the driver was not at fault… but with this many accidents on the same strech of road over and over, there is obviously something larger wrong with this picture- I think that’s what we are trying to get at here.

  • jeannie September 4, 2008 (7:03 pm)

    As West Seattle grows at an alarming rate, traffic on 35th is getting worse and worse. I had to use the laundromat near Swedish Automotive Sunday. I parked on 35th, and the cars were whoosing by at breakneck speed.

  • ilivehere September 4, 2008 (7:04 pm)

    I appreciate several of the posters that made mention that so many people were jumping to conclusions. It HAS NOT been determined if this issue relates to speeding and is irresponsible to assume such a thing. It’s not JUST the city’s issue, or JUST the pedestrian’s, or JUST the driver’s, it’s all of the above. I am also from another state, and never knew that it is legal to cross the street at all intersections until reading this blog about 9 years after living here. No doubt I have drove right by someone standing at an intersection a time or two and didn’t stop since I come from a state where you can get a ticket for crossing at an unmarked intersection. I’d also like to say that the speed limits in Seattle are slower than that of similar streets in other states. MUCH SLOWER, so I’d never support a slower speed limit. Yet, I definitely would support changing the law so you can only cross at marked intersections. And I’d support the city putting in the cross walks you see in Bellevue that are clearly marked AND have lights that flash when someone crosses into it. And lastly, there are several victims involved in this tragic event – the victim (of course), her parents & anyone else who loves her, and the driver and anyone else who loves that person or is depended on that person. I imagine he/she will be thoroughly distraught and emotionally traumatized as well. I know I would be.

  • drea September 4, 2008 (7:14 pm)

    I was at that intersection seconds after, on my way to pick my own child up from school. The first thing I want to say is THANK YOU to the fast acting citizens that witnessed and immediately jumped to action. We need more people like that in the world. I don’t know if the driver was speeding, but where was his mind? What was he paying attention to if it wasn’t the road and it’s surroundings? I also believe we all need driver rehab. With the ever increasing amount of pedestrians, bikers, and bus riders – I cross @35th and Juneau from the bus stop – we all need to be more aware. My heart goes out to the girl and her family.

  • ilivehere September 4, 2008 (7:21 pm)

    By the way, I just read on kirotv.com that the driver of the SUV will not be cited. I would think considering the circumstances and injuries that if it related to speeding, they would’ve been cited. Maybe that will slow down some of the posts that assume this was all about speeding.

  • Brandon September 4, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    Look at High Point. Then the condos below Morgan across from the cemetary. Then when the car dealership lots get built, along with the other junction projects in progress. Yes, in 10 years, this will not look anything like it does today, let alone 5 years ago. 35th will be a speedway, although the last accident was at night, so you have to wonder about visibility. Today sounds like the 4 lane wave through, oops, didn’t get past that last lane. Not to excuse the excessive speeds in any way, shape or form. But there is a signalled cross walk one block away…

  • GB September 4, 2008 (8:18 pm)

    Both drivers and pedestrians need to be vigilant. I would think if a car is stopped on the outside lane..the other driver should slow down to figure out..why? rather than continuing to drive full speed down the inside lane.

  • LyndaB September 4, 2008 (8:22 pm)

    i hate to say this but it was bound to happen. a nice person stopping for a pedestrian and another going on his business and coming up in the other lane. i have seen so many near misses that i slow down when i see someone attempting cross. i am to guilty of occasionally having a lead foot but so quickly remedy it once i am aware of it. as a metro rider, i get off at intersections with traffic lights but even then it’s not 100%. you’ve got to have your wits about you. it’s “man vs. man in car vs man on bike/cycle”. perhaps it’s me being hyper-sensitive because this is the corner i live on and seen so many car accidents. this is the first in the 15+ yrs i’ve lived here that i’m aware of a pedestrian-vehicle accident. with more and more students riding the metro buses, i hope parents and anybody who knows a student educate them about safety. we don’t need another unfortunate incident become a learning tool. it’s sad. i hope she is ok and we are praying for her and her family.

  • WSB September 4, 2008 (8:23 pm)

    Re: ilivehere, I have not confirmed that with Seattle Police (allegedly not citing the driver) and they seldom make such decisions this fast. So unless you have actually seen an interview with a police spokesperson in which they said that on camera – no offense to our fellow media folks, but I’d hold judgment on that one for the moment – if/when we get it verified or not, we will post it here – TR

  • Scott September 4, 2008 (8:50 pm)

    Last line, but, yeah, that’s not an official Police quote at this point: http://www.kirotv.com/news/17394598/detail.html

  • YinWestwood September 4, 2008 (8:55 pm)

    I am a daily rush-hour user (via car or bus) of I-35 and it is AMAZING how many drivers are STILL driving with their cell phones attached to their ears, chatting away. I am not accusing this driver or even the pedestrian of this but please this is just friendly reminder to HANG UP when you are getting around on our streets. Especially when you sharing roads, crosswalks, etc.. with so many others. Remember a phone call is never more important than someone’s life.

  • Brandon September 4, 2008 (8:56 pm)

    I don’t think this is the case here. But, with the blind passe that pedistrians live by in this town, its no wonder that cars stop in the lane of traffic waiting for them to (blindly) amble their way across a stree, chatting on the phone, listening to their I-Pod, while blocking traffic, rather than watching traffic. Its like a rite of passage for them. How many times do you see a car stopped in front of, or along side of you when they want to turn because a ped is crossing a side street and you merrily drive on? It happens all the time. This could have been one of those times that maybe the driver thought the other was turning, not knowing a ped was stepping out.. IF you stop in the middle of traffic, consider the other drivers, not just the peds. Same goes for the peds.

  • c.c. September 4, 2008 (8:57 pm)

    As a resident who lives right off of fidlay street (one block north of the accident site) I have to wonder if this could have been avoided if the traffic light that was installed with a cross walk were to work more frequently. There is quite a delay in action when a car is waiting to turn off of findlay onto 35th or if a pedestrian hits the walk button. Seems like the light is set on a timer of some sort both the pedestrians and cars trying to use this light get tired of waiting. Maybe the girl got off her school bus stop and chose to go down a block because this light doesn’t change often. Kind of defeats the purpose of this crosswalk/ light.

  • Sue September 4, 2008 (9:28 pm)

    As a frequent pedestrian and also a occasional driver, I’ve seen it both ways – that sometimes it’s the drivers being irresponsible, but just as equally it can be the pedestrians who have this sense of entitlement about crossing and expecting that every driver will see them and/or stop for them.
    Before they put the pedestrian light up at Fauntleroy/Dawson, I had a terrible time crossing the street, and often one driver would stop for me. I’d cautiously start crossing, but I’d *never* step out into the second lane of traffic past them without first checking that the traffic in that lane was also stopping. With the amount of drivers who turn without signalling, it would be easy (as another driver) to assume the other car is stopped to make a turn, not that there is a pedestrian crossing that I cannot see from the other car. As much as the drivers need to take notice, and even though it’s the law for cars to yield to pedestrians, it’s also up to the pedestrians to have personal responsibility for their own safety. As my dad always said, right of way gets you nothing if you’re dead.

  • Kl September 4, 2008 (9:51 pm)

    As a resident like cc who lives in the neighborhood and often walks the neighborhood crossing 35th at Findley and other streets…the traffic lights are not very pedistrian friendly. The wait for the light to change seems very random. I noticed now that Raymond is moving toward a full light (or moved already). The timing for the light to change when you push the crosswalk button has lengthened. I’ve also waited at the bus stop on the corner of 35th and findley and regularly see drivers run the red light. Everyone needs to be more cautious…but I do wish they would change the timing on the lights when a person wants to cross the street.

  • concerned September 4, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    The sad fact is people everywhere now just are in a big rush with little concern for anyone else. It is not just 1-35…I have seen people pull into jefferson Plaza at ctazy speeds and I am not taking about young drivers but PTA moms in their giant SUV’s …in oh such a rush to get their shopping done. California is also like a speedway now. We are a city that is growing to fast with no good transportation way to much contruction now even here in WS so people are always stressed and angry and that is a bad combo when driving.

  • SUV nulu September 4, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    Chock another one up to the “safety” of SUVs with their massive tonnage, high up driver’s view for “safety” and Detroit’s obsession with speed. I can’t fathom how bad the SUV driver feels, but that driver would likely feel more physical pain if they were riding a bike or motorcycle in this collision. And they might have been paying more attention to the road if not “safely” ensconced within tons of steel. Was speed a factor? Absolutely. “Accidents” like this do not happen without velocity. By law, the pedestrian has the right of way. In Los Angeles where they have been actively removing cross walks for a dozen years because of their false sense of security, I once yielded to a pedestrian child only to have a “gutter runner” swerve to the parking lane to pass me. I vividly, horribly recall the ensuing impact, the child seemingly in slow motion flipping up over the car both shoes flying off in different directions and that interminable return to the pavement. Now, I often debate whether to follow the law and “yield the right of way” or “go with the flow” of the majority. One thing that SPD could do that would “calm” traffic and cost the city nothing would be to enforce illegal parking. Drive down 35th and note how many vehicles are parked straddling or on the planting strip. This illegal practice effectively widens the traffic lanes encouraging higher speeds. It also leaves legally parked cars sticking out into these expanded traffic lanes. I know this as my car has been sideswiped because it was the one in the row sticking out.
    SPD’s refrain of lack of funds and SPD’s accompanying apologists (see above) ring false when one realizes that the traffic enforcement unit could be profitable to the city, if only they enforced the law. Hundreds of speeders per day could be cited on 35th alone, more than paying for the additional traffic officers.

  • Ann September 4, 2008 (10:43 pm)

    Thanks to mellaw6565 and ilivehere as voices of reason. I turned to this blog to see about this tragic accident, and then saw all these comments.

    It is tragic both for the pedestrian and the driver. There are way too many assumptions made on this blog. Unless you were there, you dont know what happened. While drivers do speed on 35th, and are often inattentive, accidents are called accidents for a reason. What happened has also changed the drivers life forever, and the driver is probably a mess also, so why dont you all extend your compassion to the driver as well. Do you think your negative comments are helping the situation?

    And, while I’m so so sorry for the family of Mr. Hampel, again, it’s my understanding that the accident was not speeding related. It said on this website that he ran out in the street while chasing a dog. I apologize in advance if that is incorrect, but that is what I read. 35th is a problem, but compassion extends to everyone, not just the physically injured. You might not all be so self-righteous if it happened to you or someone you knew.

  • Lou September 4, 2008 (11:09 pm)

    I couldn’t have said that better Ann. Too many people are jumping to judgement with such few facts. And I absolutely agree – accidents are called accidents for a reason. This is a tragic accident for all involved.

    Does anyone know how the teenager is doing?

  • thelmasue September 4, 2008 (11:12 pm)

    ann, there’s a difference between living with the fact that you caused an accident, and being injured – or killed – in one. you’re right that the driver may be feeling terrible, but that’s an assumption, just as those who decided the driver must have been speeding, are making an assumption. there are two facts we all agree on: a teenage girl – flesh and bones, someone’s daughter – was struck by a vehicle weighing several hundred pounds; and an inordinate number of similar accidents have taken place on this very road in a short span of time. i’ve lived on my block 4 years and never has a pedestrian been struck by a car. 35th is a problem, and the city needs to solve it – whether with traffic police, traffic lights, driver and pedestrian education – whatever. imagine, ann, if that girl was your daughter/friend/neighbor. and if you read here about mr. hampel, perhaps you noted the DOZENS of comments from people whose lives are changed forever by his loss – not least, his 7 year old daughter. i’m not blaming the driver(s) or the victim(s), b/c as pointed out above, these are accidents. but the city turns a blind eye, as it has for years at the intersection just west of admiral and california where a city council aide was killed a few months back. that corner, and 35th, are places where residents have been complaining for YEARS of how unsafe they are. the city puts up some flags and calls it good? whatever. that 9% sales tax isn’t paying for anything useful if that’s the best they can do.

  • Kathleen September 4, 2008 (11:44 pm)

    I live near the scene of this accident and happened upon it right before they closed the road to traffic. Sigh…

    This accident didn’t happen “a half mile” from the recent fatality. It was three blocks away. And it happened just two blocks away from the spot where the cyclist was killed in the last year or so. It also happened, ironically, just four blocks from one of the mayor’s new pedestrian safety signs: http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/issues/pedSafety/pedSafeSign.htm.

    Very visibly-placed traffic cameras automatically handing out tickets would slow down many drivers on 35th. And more pedestrian-activated signals would provide local residents with safer alternatives.

    But both of these accidents seem to have also just been true accidents with unfortunate circumstances making them extra dangerous (one happening late at night, with two street lights burned out at the scene, the victim instinctively chasing his dog to try to keep it safe from traffic – the other a highschooler, trusting that if one car stops, the others must see her).

    I often cross 35th on foot where is no crosswalk and always cringe when a driver stops for me. I’d rather folks keep driving and let me wait for a safe gap in traffic. The fact is, this is a large street, and even if folks are going the posted speed limit, crossing at the wrong time can be perilous. Pedestrians need to be vigilant. They need to be reminded to be careful, too.

    I once drove a highway in another country and at every site along the road where there had been a fatality there was a life sized cutout, painted black, the shape of a person. Now that REALLY got my attention.

    Anyone for some activist vigilante art?

  • WSB September 5, 2008 (2:18 am)

    Kathleen – that’s what Google Maps gave as the distance between the scenes – 35th/Juneau to Camp Long. But certainly the big G is fallible, in which case, sorry …

  • Scott September 5, 2008 (4:13 am)

    Maybe the city ought to learn from Bellevue with what they did decades ago with 148th Ave. It was a neighborhood street, much as 35th is now, and they widened it out, put up sound walls on each side in many places and planted a growth strip down the middle all the while eliminating the locations where people and cars could come into contact with each other to intersections. In California they call these streets “express ways”. Example: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=37.340643,-121.969456&spn=0.000972,0.001918&t=h&z=19

  • pam September 5, 2008 (8:00 am)

    Insert profanity here. Last night we were walking home from dinner via 35th and talking about the 35th badness. We’ve implemented a “No Crossing 35th Unless At A Light – EVER” rule in our house. No kidding. Seems like something bad happens there weekly, which is much too often.

    I’d like to see the police turn 35th in to a speed trap. There, I’ve said it. It’s RESIDENTIAL, for crying out loud, not a freaking freeway. While we’re at it, I’d like a bike lane too. And, you know, lottery winnings.


  • WW September 5, 2008 (8:46 am)

    Unfortunately, it’s extremely rare to see drivers stop for pedestrians ANYWHERE (except the junction!). It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s mom’s with babies, the elderly or even the disabled that are looking to cross.

    My teenage son once witnessed a what seemed to be a disoriented blind man get hit by a car one dark evening on Calif. Ave. just south of junction. The man was walking in the street, looking lost, trying to find his way with his cane, when a car hit him. Thankfully the car was not driving too fast, but even so, the blind man rolled onto the hood before falling back into the street. I’m told he then got himself up and started walking away.

    I DO try to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks whenever possible, but I’m often torn in doing so because of other inattentive drivers. I’m afraid that my stopping is only going to endanger the them further. I’m always faced with turning right off Calif. Ave. where there is often a ped waiting to cross. If I have my R-turn signal on, but stop for the ped, cars behind me usually just go around me creating danger for the ped. Sometimes it just seems safer just not to stop.

    It’s the same thing as drivers who think they are being helpful & considerate by ALLOWING other drivers to make illegal turns (example: N.Bound Fauntleroy drivers making illegal left turn onto 39th Ave SW by Hancock & WS Bowl, crossing 3 oncoming lanes). ITS STUPIDITY! My very cautious 20 yr old son was slammed by one of these drivers making this exact illegal turn, but thankfully was not injured (only because the SUV hit the front tire full on instead of his drivers door, otherwise he’d probably been wasted). The same exact situation almost happened to me less than a week later. I almost chased after the illegal turner to bitch them out that they could have killed me the same as my son was nearly killed days earlier, but I using my better judgment, I resisted my temptations.




    But PLEASE DON’T ENABLE IMPATIENT DRIVERS that don’t have the time to make turns legally!

    **Maybe we need to carry those yellow flags in our cars too, to hold out our windows when we stop for pedestrians crossing the road!!!

  • Carrie September 5, 2008 (9:25 am)

    Re: Scott – California expressways – more car culture may not be the answer.

  • Rob September 5, 2008 (9:27 am)

    First, my heart goes out to the girl’s family and the person who hit her. I drive 35 miles an hour on 35th, admittedly sometimes 36 or 37 and am almost ALWAYS tailgated by people treating me as if I am a granny driver. They have honked, shouted and even raised their hands as if I am going 20 under the speed limit and I’m going the speed limit. It is really disheartening that people act in such ignorance and disregard for the law. We should lower the speed limit to 30 and put in cameras. People seem to assume that 35 means 45 so at least 30 would get people down to 40 mph which still is awful.

  • Rick September 5, 2008 (9:46 am)

    2 ton vehicle hitting a 100# person. Right of way,right or wrong, speeding laws or not, the laws of nature usually trump the laws of man. ALL people need to be aware in ANY traffic situation.

  • Abdul September 5, 2008 (10:02 am)

    My heart sinks each time I see a person race across 35th at Juneau. Bus 21 stops right there and many people cross there to head down the hill to home because it is easier to get off there if you live east of 35th. I am guilty of crossing there too, and it is scary. Cars do drive too fast on 35th. I pleadge that from now on I will get off the bus one block earlier and only cross at Findley where there is a light or after Juneau at the High Point Library. Maybe Metro should eliminate the bus stop there until a pedestrian crosswalk is installed? Also, if the family is in need of any assistance can this blog post needs? Many would like to help.

  • WSB September 5, 2008 (10:06 am)

    Abdul – I heard from someone this morning who knows the girl’s family but hadn’t been able to reach them – she promised to let me know when she finds anything out – and at the time of our conversation, I said exactly that: WSB’ers always want to help any way they can, and if there is any way they can help (I told her), please let us know. So stand by for any update we get – we will put up a separate post when we get some new information. Thanks! – TR

  • Phil September 5, 2008 (10:20 am)

    I’m glad people are mentioning the simple reality that pedestrians having the right of way only works on paper. As an old college buddy of mine used to say, “That would look great on your tombstone: ‘I had the right of way’.”

    Certainly do not assume the car sees you as a pedestrian. I’ve approached intersections and not seen a pedestrian waiting to cross until I’m on top of it. When walking at night I wear bright colors or point my cell phone light toward oncoming cars.

  • Westwood resident September 5, 2008 (10:33 am)

    Although yesterday’s pedestrian accident occurred in daytime, apparently two nearby street lights were burned out when Mr. Hampel was killed in the evening near Camp Long. Fall equinox is rapidly approaching and darkness will be falling earlier every day.

    With so many more students taking city buses and crossing heavily trafficked streets, and increasing numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists due to the recent rise in fuel prices, even as our neighborhoods become more dense and arterial streets get busier, please note and report malfunctioning and burned out street lights to Seattle City Light. It may save a life!!

    It’s easy. Here is the online link:

    Online report form:

  • GB September 5, 2008 (11:03 am)

    Is there an update on the condition of the girl?

  • 35th homeowner September 5, 2008 (11:12 am)

    I live on 35h and Raymond… I hear and see the accidents and it’s horrible. It’s true, police (in unmarked cars) do catch some of those speeding – I would personally love to see them out in force in the mornings and from 3pm – 7pm. Sadly, they also do their fair share of speeding – especially at night when I am awakened to their v-8 engines roaring down the street at 60+ mph; I pray to God they don’t hit anyone at those high speeds.

    What I want to say about yesterday’s incident is this: The Metro and school busses stop at Juneau & 35th – it’s very common for many people to cross at that intersection. It’s also very dangerous. I still see folks on their cell phones crusing down the street not paying attention to traffic let alone pedistrians. I am angry the news made it seem like the girl was doing something illegial crossing at an “unmarked intersection”. I imagine her bus dropped her off there and she waited to cross as most people would.

    If the city doesn’t want folks crossing there, take away the bus stops. It’s unreasonable to think that people will walk a city block to a light and/or crosswalk. What’s more reasonalbe is that a pedistrian light be installed with a cross walk – like the one we used to have on Raymond. That way, they can cross safely, but the light is only triggered when people are crossing!

  • Ken Davis September 5, 2008 (12:05 pm)

    Let’s see if we can take these one at a time.
    Many seek to place blame quickly and assign guilt in the manner that most fits with their own experiences and in what they see as similar situations. This is normal human nature and those who wish to compartmentalize the incident into one of their existing mental boxes will use whatever shoe horn is required.

    Each of the participants and the rest of us had a part to play in this.

    The impact driver:
    While not necessarily legally at fault (which remains to be seen) will either be tormented with guilt and trauma for the rest of their life or use the mental mechanisms we all possess to lock the memory away or change it and eventually time will file the sharp edges off to something that can be survived. The decision to assume the driver in the other lane had slowed to turn, turned out to be wrong and this is one of the building blocks of the accident.

    The “Good Samaritan” driver:
    Will probably not understand their role in this incident. It is possible they have now had an epiphany concerning mass, inertia and the inadvisability of contributing to the negligence of several other people with tragic results. This person is none the less the cornerstone on which this terrible structure is built. I have posted about the insanity of this practice in WS before.

    The Pedestrian:
    It is possible I know this person by sight. There is a young girl with neon pink shoes who walks my street from Juneau to Raymond about that time of day. I probably will never know for sure. But the inability to respect the physics of large masses of steel with unknown inertia, may be in the young more accurately described as ignorance than it would be to some of the older neighborhood practitioners of the art of crossing the damn street without looking.
    I have nearly run over the teen aged brother of a friend, on California avenue, crossing mid block. He would have recognized me if he had ever looked in my direction. I had to stop so quickly the SGS was nearly strangled by the seat-belt despite the booster seat. The young hear the phrase “pedestrians have the right of way” with out the corollary instruction on inertia, mass and linear momentum.

    This sort of ignorance seems to be hard to dispel. I have been trying for nearly 5 years to teach it to the step grandson I take to and from school. Today he crossed against the light (California and SW Lander) with a group of adults and other school children because the fact that they walked out into the street completely blew out the 5 years of training he has had to only cross when the “walk” light is flashing. I fear he will not make it to 9 years old if I don’t keep reinforcing the opposite of the lesson that the school system wants so desperately to teach. (That following the herd in all things is the best strategy).
    The accident and the terrible building analogy could not have been built without the willing (if distracted) participation of the pedestrian. The arch stone that holds up this edifice was supplied by the victim.

    The City, the SPD and the SDOT:
    These sometimes vague entities are representative for ourselves the citizens of this city. They twist in the wind of our political will. The sharing of the city right of way by cars, buses, bicyclist and pedestrians is the charge we hand over to them. These are competing view points and perspectives which must be balanced with the amount of cash we are willing to spend collectively and the weight of our political participation.

    Pedestrian walkways (overpass type) have been constructed at great expense (in both blood and treasure to use the military term) in some parts of the city as a result of traffic fatalities. This has had mixed results since we still hear regularly of pedestrians killed crossing Aurora within sight of these structures. More could be constructed but the cost and the aesthetic values of different constituencies seem unlikely to allow anymore without allowing roving gangs of NIMBY’s and NOTAXers to settle their differences on Qwest field by flinging Lawyers at each other with catapults.

    Enforcement of existing traffic laws would seem another avenue and in conjunction with perhaps changing the current rules from a more bucolic era concerning the implied invisible crosswalk at every cross street.
    This is also a political issue.

    Bicycles are just mobile enough and lawless enough to have all the flaws and benefits of both cars and pedestrians. This issue is addressed elsewhere but an understanding of the laws of physics can only benefit riders as well as pedestrians. I have seen just as many cyclist run down pedestrians and slam into parked cars as I have seen drivers swerve into the space occupied by a cyclist. I rode a motorcycle for most of my life and two of the six bikes I have totaled were my own fault.


    The city and our representatives which control it seem to be trying to balance the interest of all the moving citizenry and doing as good a job as can be expected since it is a reactive body and limited by the juggling of competing interest and exorbitant costs. But the Mayors striving for “density” over sprawl has supplied the rest of the bricks in this analogy. Some imagined the results of this policy and some are only now becoming aware of them. I suspect it is too late to turn back now.

    We can only mitigate as best we can and move on.

    Adding yet another light and/or a pedestrian signal seems unlikely since the accident happened between two which were working.

    Slowing traffic on the three or four commuter raceways in WS via enforcement could help but it is not certain this would generate enough fines to match the cost unless lawyers were also taxed per head for clients. The cost of the patrol cars is just the tip of that iceberg. It is worth a try though.

    If there is indeed a bus stop at the unmarked intersection between the lights, I would vote that it be abolished. One at Findlay and one at Raymond should be enough. The 21 local takes nearly an hour to get downtown from there anyway if I remember correctly. School bus stops there and at 34th and Juneau should also be re-examined.

    At the core should be an attempt to teach both drivers and pedestrians that they are responsible for their decisions and their own safety no matter who is going to be judged at fault afterward.

  • shihtzu September 5, 2008 (12:08 pm)

    If the mayor is so interested in getting people out of cars, I’d like to see more money go towards stop-light cross walks in the middle of these large streets instead of money wasters car free days.

  • Mark Mulligan September 5, 2008 (4:45 pm)

    I live on 34th and Raymond. We grieve for struck bicyclists and pedestrians all the time; automotive wrecks, too, routinely.

    The new pedestrian crossing light at the High Point Library is irritatingly slow; I cross before it changes (cross-traffic usually thins out before it changes) all the time — so do others. Now, they have instituted right turn arrows and further delays at the Morgan traffic light; more delays and irritation for pedestrians.

    The 21 Express Southbound from downtown continues to make its first stop beyond the Morgan light on 35th, even though a dozen people get off during afternoon rush hour to go back toward town and the Library, once again through the Morgan intersection. The Library is where the Southbound Express 21 should stop on 35th, not Morgan, if anyone but cannot-ever-change METRO were in charge.

    The result is more and more routine jaywalking. Some fix, all those very expensive, dead slow traffic lights and Express Busses going one controlled intersection too far before stopping.

    All I know is that if the military lost as many killed and wounded as are harvested off our roadways every (pick you unit of time); they would all get cashiered for incompetence and replaced.

    We have grown accustomed to this massacre on our streets. The equivalent of total American Vietnam War casulaties every year. Vietnam took ten years to add up all those casualties. All our losses in Iraq and Afghanistan in two months of automobile accidents; same again every two months for the last thirty years. We. Don’t. Care.

    The only really effective fix I can think of is 1000% better mass transit, many more taxis and taxi services, and forbidding private autos altogether. Until then, we need a complete rethink of what it means to wield a one ton killing machine as a private driver, among thousands of other one-ton killing machines driven by more of less messed up amateurs (15% crazy, 15% drunk, 40% sleep deprived, 25% multitasking) have I missed anybody who shouldn’t be on the road?).

  • Charity September 8, 2008 (12:43 am)

    I am also from another state, and never knew that it is legal to cross the street at all intersections until reading this blog about 9 years after living here.

    And you’re far from the only one. This is one of the reasons why we need much more careful relicensing of drivers in this state. Not to pick on you personally, but if you didn’t know the rules of the road here, you shouldn’t have been driving here.

    The state should have been able to tell that you were, for the time being, not fit to hold a WA driver’s license. But instead you were probably a shoo-in; they hand them out to anybody who can shamble through the door of a licensing office.

  • Brandon September 9, 2008 (11:56 pm)

    Oh Charity, give me a break! The last time I checked, it was 80% to pass the test. How perfect is your score, and can you recite the whole book backwards?

  • Annie September 12, 2008 (3:12 pm)

    The driver was our long-time friend. He was not speeding, but the girl darted out into the road. The police did not cite him because it was partially her fault as well. Thank goodness she was not seriously hurt and has been released from the hospital.

    He is still very upset – he was very worried about the girl and feels terrible. His baby twins were in the back seat too, so he was worried about them as well (another reason he was not speeding). It was a bad thing all the way around, but he’s not a bad person.

  • Brandon September 17, 2008 (11:30 pm)

    Annie, thank you for the updates. I am glad to hear that everyone involved will be (relatively) ok. It seems the lesson here is not to jump to conclusions about drivers, SUV’s and parents driving children, and that peds need to show just as much caution as drivers do.

  • WSB September 18, 2008 (12:06 am)

    FWIW, we are still waiting to hear confirmation from the police on the final crash investigation results. We reported two days after the crash that the teenager was out of the hospital.

Sorry, comment time is over.