Recently, in Georgia, a pedestrian was convicted of vehicular homicide related to the death of her four year-old son. The boy was killed in a car accident caused by a hit and run driver.
Raquel Nelson took a long bus ride with her three children. This was in April of 2010. At the end of the bus ride, she tried to cross the road directly in front of the bus stop. She was tired after a long day spent on the bus. Her apartment complex was approximately a third of a mile from the nearest traffic light. This would have caused her to cross five lanes of traffic and then walk a third of a mile back in the opposite direction. She would have to do this while having three young children to take care of. Instead, she crossed a road to a three foot medium in the center of the road. They crossed the road during a break in the traffic. Unfortunately, Nelson’s four year old son AJ followed other adults who were crossing ahead of them.
AJ was struck by a motorist who fled. After he was caught, the motorist admitted he was high on alcohol and pain killers. The driver spent six months in jail and is now serving five additional years probation.
Pedestrian Tried and Sentenced
Nelson was tried and sentenced to a year probation. In addition, she had to pay fines and complete community service. She was also given the option of a new trial, which option she has taken. It is unusual to prosecute a pedestrian. Nelson was convicted of contributing to the death of her son being in the “wrong place”.
Pedestrians will usually take the shortest route crossing the road. If the bus stop is placed far from a pedestrian crossing, most pedestrians will cross where the bus lets them out.
Low income families living in the suburbs are at a disadvantage. Many suburbs are designed for families who have cars. Low income families who are dependent on buses for transportation are forced to risk their lives crossing busy roads when there are no crosswalks near the bus stops.
Nassau and Suffolk Counties Have High Pedestrian Death Rates
Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island are the third and fourth most highly ranked counties in the United States on pedestrian fatalities per hundred thousand inhabitants. Approximately a third of all traffic deaths involve pedestrians in Nassau County, whereas only 20% of traffic deaths involve pedestrians in Suffolk County.
Pedestrians Should Not Be Prosecuted
Urban road designers should take into consideration women with young children needing to cross roads in location where buses drop them off.
For over 30 years, the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been defended individuals charged with crimes throughout the Metropolitan New York area. We handle criminal matters in which an individual is charged with drug offenses, domestic violence, assault and battery, driving while intoxicated, juvenile defenses, shoplifting, burglary, weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes, and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.