Arrest Made In Fatal Pedestrian Hit and Run: 1100 Block of Florida Avenue, NE

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From MPD:

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit announced that an arrest has been made in a fatal pedestrian hit and run collision that occurred in the 1100 block of Florida Avenue, NE.

On Thursday, March 21, 2013, at approximately 8:21 pm, units from the Fifth District responded to a pedestrian traffic collision in the 1100 block of Florida Avenue, NE. The investigation revealed the driver of a silver 2010 Mercury Mountaineer was traveling eastbound in the right lane as the pedestrian was walking north to south in a marked crosswalk. The driver of the Mercury Mountaineer struck the pedestrian and fled the scene. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel transported the pedestrian to an area hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead.

The vehicle was later located on Elliott and F Streets, NE. The driver, 32 year-old Joel Russell Bromwell of Annapolis, MD, was later located in the 1300 block of Maryland Avenue, NE. He was arrested and charged with Involuntary Manslaughter.

The decedent has been identified as 71 year-old Ruby Whitfield of Northeast, DC

The Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit is investigating this crash.

14 Comment

  • this is a sad story… hopefully there will be more momentum to add stoplights at major intersection with FL Ave. To DDOT’s credit they are starting construction in some places (Bloomingdale)… but those “pedestrian crossing” signs are a terrible substitute for a proper traffic light. Of course, this guy might have blown through that too… but still…

    • Agreed I have not seen pedestrians in those crosswalks until it is too late to easily stop– a lot of it has to do with cars and trucks parked so close to the crosswalk that you can’t see people until they pop out. It’s a total mess. Fl Ave has North Capitol-type traffic without the benefit of underpasses that allow (relatively) safe pedestrian crossings.

      • I also can’t believe that this person fled the scene of this horrific accident. It’s just unthinkable.

        • I think that what he did was unconscionable, but the jail time for “fleeing the scene” is a lot lower than “driving under the influence” in the case of a pedestrian fatality.

          There exists an incentive to flee, sober up, and then turn yourself in. Just look at the case in NYC two weeks ago where the guy killed the young pregnant Hasidic couple. He fled the scene and all the DA could charge him with was involuntary manslaughter.

          • Maybe I’m just not sure what you’re saying. The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident that causes personal injury is minimal. See D.C. Code 50-2200.05(a)(1).

            The penalty for Manslaughter is 30 years maximum. DC Code 22-2105. (killing someone while driving drunk can qualify as manslguter in D.C.) The lesser included offense for manslaughter in this case would be negligent homicide, See D.C. Code 50-2203.02, for which the maximum penalty is 5 years. See D.C. Code 50-2203.01. This means the jury finds that he had a lesser degree of intent or disregard for life (too complicated for this post).

            So leaving the scene where you hurt someone, even if drunk, is not nearly as bad.

            Unless what your saying is that getting rid of the alcohol might reduce the chances the government could prove manslaughter, and you would only get negligent homicide. Then that’s true, but there is always an incentive not to get caught no matter what the crime.

        • Maryland drivers. Always out for the kill.

  • Drivers don’t stop for pedestrians, particularly on Florida Ave. I frequently walk along Florida Ave NW between North Capitol and New Jersey Ave. There are several marked crosswalks, with bright yellow signs marking them (and noting that failure to stop is a $250 fine). Drivers almost never stop as I’m trying to cross.

    I wish the police would start monitoring it and pulling people over for failing to stop. I would say before someone gets killed, but we’re too late for that.

    • I totally agree. This is a problem on Benning and Bladensburg too. I ALWAYS yield to pedestrians, but when I’m walking, I will walk down to a traffic light. No way I’m going to risk it.

      I’ve even almost been hit on small residential streets where someone at a stop sign decided they didn’t want to wait an extra 5 seconds and just continued on through, literally driving at me as I’m crossing. It’s a major issue in this city and police definitely need to enforce the “yield to pedestrian” law or else people don’t have incentive to follow it (sadly).

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Ironically, I find that cabs (who are otherwise horrible drivers as a collective group) are often the most likely to stop to pedestrians crossing streets without traffic lights. That said, this is an issue throughout the city and not just on FL Ave.

        • I think they do that because they’re hoping one of them will need a ride.

        • That has not been my experience at all. In fact, over the past 9 years, four cabbies have yelled at me to get out of the way. And not a single one has ever fully stopped at a stop sign, they always roll.

  • That is horrible. I’m so sorry for this woman and her family.

  • brookland_rez

    That stretch of FL Ave needs something to slow down traffic. Speed cameras, lights, something.

    I would never cross in one of the crosswalks on that stetch without yielding to the cars. Make that any crosswalk on a major road without a light.

  • Involuntary? He may not have meant to hit her, but surely there is something more going on when the driver doesn’t stop and instead drags the victim along the street for an additional 86 feet. Doing so may have been the difference between her living and dying. I hope he has a lot of time alone in a cell to think about what he’s done.

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