READER REPORT: Crosswalk close call

Jill just sent this:

After a near-miss in which my child was almost struck by a reckless driver, we wanted to both remind our community to drive safely and ask if any witnesses have any information about the incident.

Just before 12:30 pm this afternoon, my husband was walking with our son on Charlestown, crossing California westbound, on the north side of the crosswalk, on a green light with a walk sign. When the light turned green, the car that had been stopped on Charlestown facing east entered the intersection and then turned left (northbound) onto California and accelerated through the crosswalk. My husband says that they had looked both ways and were alert prior to crossing, but that there was no way that he could have anticipated the acceleration of the car. He stopped and yelled loudly as the car came toward them, and our child reacted by running out of the way just in time–otherwise, our child would have been struck, with who knows what awful outcome. My husband believes the car was a small black Prius, and he is certain that he saw the driver on his phone–but didn’t get a license plate number before the car sped off.

We want to say thank you to the driver of the car behind the reckless driver, who got out to make sure my husband and child were okay, as well as to the passersby on the sidewalks who also expressed concern and care in that frightening moment.

We contacted the non-emergency police line to report this case of reckless driving (which we thought was the proper course of action, since the situation had passed, and there were no injuries.) However, because we didn’t have a license plate number, or other identifying information, they wouldn’t take a report. If anyone who witnessed the situation has information, we would appreciate if they would be willing to share.

(For what it’s worth, we were advised that if something like this were to happen again, we should call 911 immediately, so that officers in the area could be on the lookout for a car matching the description.)

31 Replies to "READER REPORT: Crosswalk close call"

  • AO September 23, 2023 (4:44 pm)

    Glad your family is safe! It’s wild that we have people take one test as teenagers for which they’re granted a lifetime of driving privileges. Would be nice to check in with a competency test once per decade or so.

    • Jill September 23, 2023 (9:55 pm)

      Thank you so much, AO! I am grateful that they are safe too. Our child for the most part has moved past the scare, but did express anxiety tonight before bed and said he was worried about having nightmares. It has helped to remind him of all the people who so graciously expressed care and concern (both at the time of the incident and online here), focusing on the many wonderful aspects of our community.

  • Plf September 23, 2023 (6:24 pm)

    Im beginning to think that’s a dangerous intersection 2 weeks ago I was rear ended same spot by a distracted driver driving a loaner car and wasn’t carrying his license or insurance coming from Madison complaining his kid forgot his lunch.  Could care less that he created an accident cause he wasn’t driving his own car. 911 didn’t want to come out

    • Jill September 23, 2023 (10:12 pm)

      PLF, I hope that you’re okay. I agree, this intersection is concerning, and I’m always thinking of the kids crossing here after school gets out.

  • Seattlite September 23, 2023 (6:53 pm)

    Oh gosh…Thank goodness your  little one ran away from the dangerous driver and that you are both okay.The Prius is an electric vehicle which means that it is heavier than a gas powered car and can do more damage.Reckless drivers who speed, don’t use blinkers, run red lights, speed through uncontrolled intersections, tailgate, cut off other drivers, negotiate unnecessary wide turns, swerve into the other lanes, distracted by phones/passengers/whatever, impaired by drugs/alcohol abound in WS.  Admiral Way is a speedway with drivers going 40mph in a 25mph speed zone. The higher the speed the less control a driver has over the vehicle.  When a driver is distracted and speeding at the same time, what do you have?Due to the police shortage, there are less police officers to do speed checks.  Reckless drivers know this.     

    • Jill September 23, 2023 (10:08 pm)

      Thank you so much, Seattlite. If nothing else, we hope that this reminds our community to drive safely and to keep an eye out when walking our busy streets.

    • Jethro Marx September 24, 2023 (12:15 am)

      I hope for the same things as Jill but I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. The Prius is about the same curb weight as the Corolla, which is a similar gas car from the same manufacturer. I don’t think electric cars are likely to be responsible for more accidents in which pedestrians are hurt, or hurt badly, is that what you’re claiming? In fact a car that is electric is more likely to have such safety features as automatic braking as most of them are relatively new. But it sounds like you may have an axe to grind.

      • Seattlite September 24, 2023 (12:59 pm)

        My comment does not say that EVs  “…are likely to be responsible for more accidents in which pedestrians are hurt, or hurt badly .”   EVs on average weigh more than gas powered cars due to the battery weight and can cause more damage.  The reckless driver was driving a Prius.   Assumptions like yours are how rumors and lies get started.   My “axe to grind,” if you read my full comment is with reckless drivers.

  • KJ September 23, 2023 (7:45 pm)

    On Friday, I was riding my motorcycle northbound on California Ave just past the admiral district, when a light colored truck, possibly a Toyota Tundra, came fully into my lane and nearly killed me in a head on collision. Thankfully I saw him in time and got off the road. Not sure if it was texting or what, but they took off speeding through residential back streets right past children playing. I wish there was a way to find these reckless drivers and make them realize how close they come to ending someone’s life. 

    • Jill September 23, 2023 (10:16 pm)

      KJ, that sounds terrifying! Glad to hear that you (and the kids in the neighborhood) weren’t hit, but I can imagine that it was quite a rattling experience

    • FedUpPed September 24, 2023 (11:58 pm)

      I live in South Delridge, and we have a chronic issue with pickup trucks speeding up and down the hills in and out of residential streets. these people are gonna kill someone with their huge vehicles. doesn’t help that we frequently get drivers blowing though the new stop signs. it’s especially aggravating when the vehicles have all their windows tinted; it really shows how isolated they desire to be from the community while driving through it…

  • KM September 23, 2023 (8:06 pm)

    Everyday pedestrians put their lives on the line just to get places. Car culture is disgusting.

  • Sully September 23, 2023 (8:14 pm)

    I saw something similar on YouTube a few hours ago.

  • Aaron Brethorst September 23, 2023 (8:29 pm)

    I’d like to see our two contenders for city council speak forcefully on this serious public safety issue and talk about how they would make it safer to simply cross the street in their district. I live on Fauntleroy and worry about the safety of my child from drivers who speed down this 25 mph zone at 40-50 miles per hour or greater. What’s it going to take for the city council, SDOT, SPD, and the mayor to take meaningful action? An unhappy ending to this story? Dozens of unhappy endings?

    • Anne September 24, 2023 (7:57 am)

      What is the “meaningful action” you want to have taken?  

      • FedUpPed September 25, 2023 (12:04 am)

        speed cameras and the removal of the law that allows drivers to skirt responsibility by claiming they weren’t driving. immediately would start to impact drivers in the only place they’re concerned: their wallet

      • DC September 25, 2023 (11:14 am)

        Reduce to one lane in each direction. Center median. Protected bike lanes going each direction. Signalized pedestrian crossings. And speed cameras. That would be a good start!

  • Chrissy D September 23, 2023 (11:08 pm)

    In the words of Fran Lebowitz, Pretend it’s a city.

  • GHill September 24, 2023 (12:37 am)

    Sorry this happened to you. We had a similar issue crossing northbound on Lander near Hiawatha this summer. I was with my son. We saw a truck come to a stop at the stop sign behind Safeway. We waited to cross and since they hesitated and I thought saw us, I assumed it was safe to cross. They also had a left turn blinker on which meant they were going the opposite direction. As we made it halfway across the street they pulled into the intersection making what seemed to be a left turn. Then they whipped it back and suddenly turned to the right accelerating fast as we were now in the far side of the street. I’m not sure if they were taking a wide turn or changed their mind suddenly but they nearly ran us both over by what seemed like inches. They were driving a massive white truck whose front end was taller than me making it hard to see people crossing. Luckily we were holding hands and I quickly jumped, pulling my son out of the way. I’ve never had such a close call like that. It’s a reminder for me not to trust the vehicle or driver and just wait until vehicles are clear of stop signs. We’ve definitely changed how we approach crosswalks, with more caution.

    • Sully September 24, 2023 (12:08 pm)

      There’s not a stop sign there. It’s a traffic light controlled intersection with walk/don’t walk signals.

      • GHill September 24, 2023 (1:01 pm)

        I was referring to the intersection at the back of the store, Lander and 42nd to be exact.

        • Sully September 24, 2023 (2:49 pm)

          There’s not a stop sign there either but they should have yielded to you as you were at an unmarked but legal crosswalk. I see now why you thought they were going left and you proceeded to cross. How scary they changed directions like that.

  • anonyme September 24, 2023 (6:52 am)

    I’ve experienced many near-misses lately trying to carefully and legally cross the street in a controlled crosswalk (with a light).  Twice in one week, I was almost hit by 3 different vehicles in 2 separate crossings.  One of the vehicles making an illegal turn into the crosswalk was a Metro bus.  Driving has become barbaric, and with no penalties or enforcement, it will only get worse.  Calling 911 is useless; it’s my understanding that the officer has to personally witness the infraction.  I’m glad the child is OK.

  • Lola September 24, 2023 (7:54 am)

    I am sorry to hear of all of these close calls.  Be reminded of how many stolen cars that we keep hearing about.  These people might not care if they have the right away or not.  We saw a car by Sfway & Hiawatha take a left onto  Calif. ave on a red light.  The car on Calif. ave had to slam on their brakes.  It was un-believable. 

    • KM September 24, 2023 (1:45 pm)

      I have almost been struck there as well but it was a cop without their lights on running the light and missing me by inches. 

      • Jay September 24, 2023 (11:25 pm)

        I almost got hit by a cop speeding without lights when I was crossing California at College St on foot.

      • anonyme September 25, 2023 (6:48 am)

        I WAS hit by a speeding cop in a controlled crosswalk downtown.

    • FedUpPed September 25, 2023 (12:16 am)

      eh, this has been a consistent issue even before this string of car thefts. I have yet to experience near missed with a Hyundai or a Kia. it’s usually large vehicles like trucks or SUVs which tend to be driven by those with the mentality they own the streets and refuse to consider sharing them

  • StreamDreamer September 24, 2023 (9:17 am)

    It’s a combination of many variables and most of them could be controlled by folks just slowing down, paying attention to the surroundings while behind the wheel or even passengers who could help drivers navigate through the now common masses of traffic on the arterials as well as any side street. The growth and transformation of our lovely “burg” shows signs of too many drivers disengaged from normal driving skills. The updated way the walk lights flash a full 3 seconds before the green lets pedestrians ideally enter the intersection so they’re seen but it also puts them in the crosshairs of idiot drivers. Maybe we need the bright colored crossing flags at more of these problem areas but again slow the funk down people!!

    • FedUpPed September 25, 2023 (12:19 am)

      the crossing flags are a bit of a joke, and one I get to constantly have when in the Fauntleroy area near Lincoln Park with all the flags on one side or drivers still refusing to yield when someone has one. the issue isn’t pedestrian visibility. it’s a lack within the infrastructure to provide safe transport to peds.

  • Slow down, Pay attention September 24, 2023 (9:36 pm)

    Close call. My 10 year old and I are were inches from being hit at the Admiral Junction a few Fridays ago. Guy accelerated into the crosswalk. Different car, this was a white or silver Subaru. He sped down Admiral (with us screaming at him, didn’t get the license). Same disregard for the lives of others. Drivers seem much worse since the pandemic. 

Sorry, comment time is over.