Girl Hit by Car at 14th and Spring St, NW Sun. Afternoon

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“Dear PoPville,

Do you have any info about a car crash at 14th and Spring, NW? I was running by there about 45 minutes ago [Sunday] and saw a crowd gathered around an accident scene. A man was slumped over in the driver’s seat of a car that had crashed into a parked car. A young girl (12 maybe?) was on the ground with a bleeding head injury, and an older woman who did not appear to be injured, was wailing inconsolably nearby. A number of bystanders had gathered and someone was holding the girl while they waited for the ambulance which showed up a few minutes later. It was a really disturbing scene to stumble onto.

It wasn’t clear if all three persons had been in the car that crashed, or if perhaps the man (driving drunk?) had run the light and hit the girl while she was crossing the street with her mother. I fear it might have been the latter. I live a block from that intersection and every single day have sidestep men who are so drunk they piss their pants and pass out on the sidewalk. That kind of drinking seems to be an issue in the community I live in and I wonder about how it affects the families that live around here. Having done volunteer work with Latin American and Mexican communities in the past, I am aware that drinking is a pretty big issue (with men mostly) and often accompanies spousal and child abuse. The problems tend go unreported, perhaps for cultural reasons (it is not as common for women to speak out in some cultures) or perhaps because concerns about immigration status make people reluctant to get police involved .

Anyway, I have nothing against drinking (I definitely do my fair share). I have no idea if the guy involved in this accident was drunk or at even at fault. I wouldn’t normally jump to conclusions about an accident like that. I think I did so in this case because of what I see happening around me day to day. I feel like there is something destructive happening in my neighborhood. Depending on what exactly did happen with this car accident, it might provide an opportunity to start a conversation about what people can do to change things. People should be able to walk to work or to their school bus stop without stepping over passed out drunks. Women shouldn’t have to brace themselves for several blocks of verbal sexual harassment by the guys loitering around the liquor stores and bodegas every time they walk to the metro. Those who suffer abuse behind closed doors because of alcoholic husbands or relatives need to know they can call for help.

I know this is a bit of a rant and pretty random. I felt sort of frantic and helpless stumbling on the scene of that accident and not knowing what to do to help while waiting for the ambulance to come. I guess it got me thinking about some of the other things I see happening in this neighborhood, and made me want to do something proactive, to try to start a conversation at least rather than allow things to continue to decay without doing anything.”

Yesterday the People’s District Danny Harris tweeted to me: “Girl gets hit by a car while on the sidewalk outside of church near 14th and Spring Rd.” Anyone else see what happened?

45 Comment

  • Sad story – very sorry for the girl.

    You’re going to get some overtime pay with your comment-moderation efforts on this one.

  • is the girl okay?

  • Patrick – I had the same thoughts. First, thoughts and prayers with the injured girl. Hope she is ok. Second, prepare for the S–tstorm of comments PoP. I wonder if we have a little trolling going on here.

    • It takes very little to make a lot of head bleeding, so there’s a good chance it’s not as bad as it sounds.

  • 1. Girl is hit by car.
    2. Observer, having stumbled upon the scene, goes into wandering and detailed commentary about the community, alcoholism, sexual harassment, etc.
    3. Observer wants to start a conversation about said issues and what “people can do to change things.”
    4. PoP publishes observer’s loosely connected observations.
    5. Readers explode with indignation, vitriol, and such.
    6. Caballero will tune out for awhile.

    • Still not sure if I’m supposed to focus on the accident or the social issues plaguing the community…

    • Yeah, seriously. Is there any kind of worthwhile discussion that is going to come from this?

      The observer stated that she “wouldn’t normally jump to conclusions about an accident like that” and then goes on to lament the destruction of her neighborhood, drunks, sexual harassment, loitering, alcoholism, etc.

    • Sweeping generalizations about race and community ills.

      Didn’t even identify if they noticed the race of the driver…just made stereotype references about alcoholism. Who knows…maybe it was a Russian drunk on vodka.

      Poor form OP. Poor form.

      • I’m praying everything turns out alright with that girl and her family. The OP does have a few too many things going on in the post but I have to say, she isn’t generalizing- it’s pretty spot-on. Any time I’m stepping around some drunk man passed out on 14th and the side streets between Otis and Spring, it’s not for a Russian drunk, it’s a Latin man, and usually belligerent and barking at anyone who passes by if he’s awake. All this, ironically on the same block of 14th as Alcoholicos Anonimos.
        Only thing I can say is, if there’s someone passed out or causing a threat or disturbance because they’re wasted, call the cops.

  • Outlaw alcohol.

  • I’m not sure what would make someone jump to the conclusion that the driver might have been drunk. It IS possible to drive recklessly and/or not pay attention while driving while sober. Even if there are a lot of drunks in the neighborhood, what makes you think one of them was behind the wheel? 14th Street is a major thoroughfare and it’s likely they were passing through from somewhere else. Furthermore, most alcholics in this area structure their lives so they don’t have to drive.

    • To say nothing of the fact that pedestrians in DC tend to cross against the light all of the time. When you couple that with a distracted driver calamity has a good chance of ensuing. On a Sunday afternoon, alcohol would have been about # 3 on my list of possible causes.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        “Girl gets hit by a car while on the sidewalk outside of church near 14th and Spring Rd.”

        • Yes but the email states that she was crossing.

          • No, it says the OP wasn’t sure if she was crossing. Love that just a few comments into this we’ve already raised the possibility of a jaywalker getting their come-uppance.

        • The link that posted to the news story says the guy was on the sidewalk and tried to flee the scene. I guess my crossing against the light comment has no relevance here, although it is generally still a problem in the city.

          • Crossing against the light is a big problem. But it’s still not as much of a problem than red-light running and failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. I’d love to see the police start enforcing all of those laws.

  • ledroittiger

    That kind of drunk is heroin usage.

  • What the communities need are opportunities for women to earn more money. Studies have shown that when women are in control of the family’s finances, more money is invested in things that improve their well-being, like education, nutritious food, and health care. On the other hand, men are more likely to spend on things like alcohol and gambling.

  • First, let’s hope that the girl is ok. It’s pretty ridiculous that a driver would be so drunk or careless as to hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk. Time for that driver to lose his license.

    The basic premise of “lots of drunks on the sidewalk in the neighborhood” means that “the driver of the car was drunk,” however, makes no sense. It certainly is possible that the driver was drunk. But how does that relate to drunk people loitering around the neighborhood? The OP would have to draw a closer correlation than he/she has done in order for this letter to be more than a rambling, preachy waste of time.

  • A little more info about the situation:

    Short URL:

  • Oh god! Poon…head…about…to…explode.

    Worst Dear PoP letter ever? “Some poor girl, who may or may not be dead, got hit by a car…sexual harassment.”

  • Both of these issues (the car accident and drunkenness in the neighborhood) are worth discussing, but the OP hasn’t done a very good job of tying them together.

    I think this might have been more effective as two completely separate threads.

    And this does seem like the kind of thread where everyone is going to jump on the OP in an effort to prove themselves “more PC than thou.”

  • If the car has DC plates, its just the neighborhood drunk, but if it has MD/VA plates, its because theyre all suburban assholes who dont know how to drive in the city and should STAY THE HELL OUT, damn it.

  • Um, I’m probably pretty naive here, but maybe – just maybe – it was just a terrible accident.

    • + a million

    • I hate it when people say something was “just a terrible accident” because that implies that it couldn’t have been prevented. If you can’t drive well enough to keep your car off the sidewalk (whether it’s because you’re drunk, texting, just a bad driver, or whatever), you shouldn’t be driving.

      • By your logic there is no such thing as an accident. All accidents can be prevented to some degree.

      • well, from what I heard it was a brake failure, which would firmly put it in the category of “terrible accident.”

        sometimes bad things happen to good people.

      • This is what my 4th grade teacher used to say too. That an accident is by definition something that couldn’t have been prevented. It struck me as an odd statement at the time and only later in life did I focus on what utter nonsense it was. “Accident” does not mean something that couldn’t have been prevented. It means something that was unintentional. The end.

  • Here is a link to the news story. I get where you are going with the problems in the neighborhood but it is a pretty quick assumption that the driver was drunk. I have heard stories that his brakes failed and some that it was intentional. Hopefully we will learn more soon.

  • walked by shortly after the op and a television news camera man informed me that the car in question drove up on the curb and struck a family, severely injuring the young girl. since driving on sidewalks is not conventional, i inquired whether the driver was intoxicated in some manner. camera man replied that the driver was sober but more importantly, get ready: “impatient”.

    an officer said the girl was fine and that is was just an accident.

    the possibility that the driver was so impatient to get to where he needed to go by any means possible was tremendously unsettling.

    • I’m a “25 MPH” kind of guy, and folks frequently pass me on the right in completely unsafe situations. I try to drift to the right to keep them from doing so, but I can totally see someone pulling a stunt like this and ending up on the sidewalk.

      Oh, don’t like me driving 25MPH – the posted speed limit? Get it raised.

      • Arent you a hot shot.

        • Yes, driving the speed limit is closely linked to “hot shot”ness.

          • Yeah, a regular Steve McQueen! 🙂
            I’ve been trying to cultivate the habit/attitude of driving nice and easy, hovering around the speed limit. People get really ticked off, even if they can easily go around in the other lane. Meanwhile, I’ve got the windows down, enjoying the breeze and getting wherever it is I’m going in plenty enough time.

          • That attitude works if you’re just cruising around DC.
            Problem is, most drivers in this area are spending anywhere from 2-5 hours a day in a car, which makes them more impatient.

          • Yeah, I know. I don’t do it on a one lane road where I’d be holding people up.

  • I live closed to the corner and went to see the accident.
    At the beginning everyone thought that the driver was drunk, but he was not. Driver tried to escape. the girl seems to have a broken arm and she was on the sidewalk and the went on the sidewalk. The father pulled the driver’s wheel from the open driver’s window and crashed the car into another parked car. The driver’s family was with him in the car. Police took more than 15 minutes to arrived and a police officer was about to go to Carolina to eat and was pulled to the accident area.

  • The girl (Camila) is the daughter of my assistant teacher (I teach Pre-K in Columbia Heights). She had surgery on her arm at 4:00 today at HUH. She is expected to make a full recovery provided that the surgery is successful. She just started 10th grade at a charter school in CH.

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