Monday, August 26, 2013

Police investigating accident

Vigil planned

The tragic early-morning collision of a cyclist with a pedestrian on Friday has prompted a Seattle Police investigation, we learned today. The incident has also motivated a group of concerned community members to plan a vigil at the site of the accident. The purpose of the vigil is to heighten awareness of the inadequate pedestrian safety measures at the crosswalk and, presumably, put pressure on the City to take corrective action.

The Seattle Police Department's public information officer, Mark Jamieson, has confirmed that the Traffic Collisions Investigation Squad of the SPD has started looking into the
accident. This does not mean, however, that anyone should assume that this is a criminal incident. The investigation was triggered by the seriousness of the injuries to the pedestrian, he noted. Jamieson told us that this kind of investigation often takes months to complete and typically involves the interviewing of witnesses and reconstruction of the accident scene. Investigative techniques include taking photos and measuring distances to determine such things such as speed and velocity. When the investigation is completed, he said, SPD will send a recommendation to the Prosecutor's office, where the determination will ultimately be made on whether to charge anyone with a criminal act.

Although many readers have asked us to follow up on the accident victim's condition, we have been unable to learn anything other than what was in the initial report from the Fire Department, which was first on the scene Friday with its emergency personnel. At that time the SFD reported that the victim apparently had no I.D. on his person. He may therefore have been admitted to Harborview Medical Center as a "John Doe."  The hospital was unable to provide any information to us when we checked with their press officer today.

As a result of privacy laws, we may learn nothing further about this accident for some time.  Without any charges having been filed, the police will not give out the names of anyone involved in the accident, including witnesses.  This is standard procedure, according to Jamieson. The police, however, are likely to know by now who the victim is, since his cell phone was reportedly found down the block from the point of impact. The Fire Department, meanwhile, is referring inquiries to both the SPD and the hospital. Because of partient-privacy laws, however, Harborview is limited in its ability to provide information to the public even when the patient's name is known.

Meanwhile, Alice Lanczos of the Madison Park Community Council, notified us today that a vigil is planned for 10:00 on Saturday morning to be held in front of the Madison Park Wells Fargo branch, where the accident took place last week. She told us that while the Community Council has been trying to get the City's attention to the problem, this particular crosswalk did not seem to be a priority for the government because there weren't enough "documented accidents" to warrant corrective measures.  She, the Council, and other concerned community members are hoping that the Saturday vigil will help focus attention on this site and get the priorities changed.

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