Three Pedestrians Hit by Car near Union Station

Photo via @DDOTDC

@DDOTDC tweets:

“Police say to avoid area of Mass/N-Cap. 3-pedestrians struck. Streets closed in every direction. Now a crime scene.”

A reader writes:

“traffic accident around 8am right on the corner in front of the Dubliner near union station. I was standing across the street and two and possibly 3 people were hit. 2 of the ppl were not moving. I called 911 and the police were there in 2 minutes and an ambulance at 3-4.”

Update from DDOT at 8:55am:

“Police: Mass at North Cap will be closed to all traffic for another 2-hours. DDOT personnel on scene to assist.”

Update from @IAFF36:

“Final on N. Cap – 8 patients transported: 2 to Med Star -3 to Howard – 3 to GW”

A readers sends the photo below:


50 Comment

  • This is not meant as snark but considering the location, I am surprised it hasn’t happened before – and with more frequency. I don’ know if the recent changes are good or bad and I know that there is no perfect solution but I do think people in cars, on cycles, and on foot need to be careful. It does seem that everyone take a lot of chances there.

    • KSB

      Absolutely right, ET. I’m a seasoned DC driver and pedestrian (not a cyclist) and this area is gnarly both on foot and by vehicle. Hoping the pedestrians are okay and as much as I’d like to think it’ll be a wake-up call for all parties in that area, it’ll likely continue to be risky navigating that location.

    • That’s not really in the messy Columbus Circle part. Picture’s kind of dark and grainy, but it looks like it’s right in front of Dubliner by Sun Trust.

    • I walk by this intersection every day to get to work. I see people crossing during Don’t Walk signals and cyclists riding through crosswalks (and riding the wrong way down Mass and F) quite often. I’ve almost been hit by cars and busses when I was crossing during a Walk signal. Surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

    • As someone who drives and walks though this area often, I agree completely.

  • How horrible! Hopefully no one is seriously injured. Morning and evening rush in this city can be treacherous.

    Last night I walked from Metro Center to Union Station, only crossing in crosswalks when the light was green, and almost got hit three times – two cars turning left and one car running a red light.

    Commuters looking out for number one at its finest.

  • I walked through this on my way to work. There was a light pole laying on top of the SUV (it looks like its there in that picture. Definitely seems like the car had jumped the curb at a pretty fast clip. I didnt know people were hurt. Hope they’re alright.

    I will also say that this is the corner on my walk where I turn down my music. Crossing Mass at North Cap in the morning is dodgy with buses swerving in and out of the lanes and cars trying to speed around them to make the lights to get further down North Cap. I’m not usually reactionary to this stuff but I think having a traffic cop direct early in the morning would be helpful and make things a little more safe without a whole lot of added effort.

    • People definitely need to drive slowly around here. Even at a slow speed you have your work cut out for you making sure you don’t hit anyone. The circle could definitely use a dedicated traffic cop to catch people for speeding and distracted driving.

  • This is right by my office and some work colleagues were there right when it happened. They said that it looked like the driver was either asleep at the wheel or had a medical emergency, as he drove full speed over the sidewalk and into a bunch of people. They said that it was very, very bad and that there were very serious injuries to at least two-three people, who were pinned underneath the car. Hoping and praying that they are ok.

    • “Police say to avoid area of Mass/N-Cap. 3-pedestrians struck. Streets closed in every direction. Now a crime scene.

      I’m going to guess that the person was drunk or drugged, based on the police treating it as a crime scene.

      • I would think police would have to treat any incident where a driver jumps the curb and hits multiple people as a crime scene, DUI or not, no?

    • Ugh, that sounds really bad. Hoping that the injured will be OK.

  • Drivers constantly run the red light turning left from Mass Ave onto North Cap NB. Drivers also run the red light turning right from Mass Ave onto North Cap North Bound. And pedestrians constantly assume that because north bound north cap has a red light at mass ave, that south bound must too. This is right where this happened… pedestrians constantly walk out in front of cars because they dont know that South Bound North Capitol still has a green light. Oftentimes the pedestrians are really militant and will just stand in front of you, shouting, or just ignore that cars are coming because they think they have the R-O-W.

    I dont know what happened, and the driver may have been drunk/drugged and probably reckless and speeding to beat the light, but the pedestrian issues at this intersection have been a problem for years.

    • Wait, so basically everyone but you is always wrong?

      What a winner! Are you a Washington Times columnist?

      • You’re a tool. Thats not what I said at all.

        • Frequent Walker must have meant to reply to someone else. His/her comment makes no sense in the context of yours.

        • C’mon, people, play nice! “You’re a tool” is totally not in keeping with PoP’s ground rules for civility.

          • Calling someone a Washington Times Columnist is way more out of line and insulting than calling someone a tool.

      • Ha. Also, as other commenters noted, this wasn’t about running lights or crosswalks or anything. Person jumped the curb and hit pedestrians standing there. I’d say this isn’t a typical ripe for accident situation.

        • Well, we dont know what happened, but jumping the curb is not mutually exclusive with speeding to beat the light.

          One very possible scenario is driver is speeding to beat a light (illegal) and a pedestrian is jaywalking (illegal) and innocent people who are obeying the law get hit as the speeder maneuvers to miss the jaywalker but loses control and slams into a crowd.

          Thats one scenario in a myriad of other speculations.

      • What is this in reference to?

    • Please, tell me what this has to do with a driver striking people who were on the sidewalk NOT crossing the street?

      • EXACTLY.

        Frequent Driver, like so many other W. Times-ers, would just like to take the opportunity provided by several tragic deaths to whine.

        Regardless of fault, it’s a tragic day for everyone involved. If FDITA has problems with the intersection, he/she could suggest a better layout while acknowledging the senseless loss.

    • I feel like DC has signals timed where one lane has a red light and the other a green light because they’re too cheap to buy arrow lights or create a proper turning lane.

  • Pedestrians are most likely to get mowed down by a car when they are crossing with a green walk signal. Motorists turning left on a green, or attempting to turn right on a red light generally go not look for pedestrians. Pedestrians also have a false sense of security when the green walk light comes on, and fail to look in either direction.

    Most people will blame pedestrian accidents on jay walking or crossing against a light, but the reality is that crossing against a red light with zero traffic in either direction is actually the safest time to cross the street. My rule is to look both ways, and then cross the street regardless of where I am or what the light says. The last thing you want to do is wait at a red light when there is no traffic is either direction, and then try to cross when there is a line of pissed of motorists that are stuck in rush hour traffic and are looking for any opportunity to get through an intersection.

    • I’d say it’s even safer to cross with a green walk signal when there is also no traffic in any direction.

    • Pedestrians are more likely to be hit in a crosswalk, that is true. Pedestrians are more likely to be *killed* when they are hit outside of a crosswalk.

      However, none of that matters here because it appears that the car went onto the sidewalk.

    • “but the reality is that crossing against a red light with zero traffic in either direction is actually the safest time to cross the street.”

      Thats the most absurd comment of the year.

    • I used to be that guy who thought I could cross whenever I wanted to as long as I was careful as you suggest. Getting hit by a car that I somehow missed after looking both ways changed my tune. I always thought that I was being careful, but I have a scar on my left arm (a burn from the bottom of the car’s engine) that looks remarkably like the DC flag to remind me now. Sure you may be careful, but it’s way too easy to have one moment where you miss something that could change/end your life. I was super lucky because it could have turned out much worse.

      • Wow, I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m curious, though, about how you missed the car if you looked both ways. Was something blocking your view? Did the driver tear around the corner at lighting speed? I’m just thinking of the intersection people frequently jaywalk in my neighborhood (I’m guilty of it too) and you can see in either direction for t least half a mile. It seems like it would be hard to miss a car coming.

        • Also a possibility: people make mistakes.

          • You mean he/she didn’t look before crossing?

          • No, I’ve looked before and been tired or just completely zoned out and not realized that the car I thought was parked was actually moving or just completely looked past something i should have seen. I’ve done this walking and driving.

            Thats why its called a mistake – if it was not doing something you were supposed to do, its called negligence.

            Fortunately nothing bad has ever happened to me because of this, but sometimes bad things happen when you or others around you make mistakes.

          • I guess I can see how you’d mistake a moving car for a parked one but still don’t understand how you’d miss one entirely. Driving’s different because there are blind spots.

          • Anonymous 11:42, I can assure you it happens. The human brain is funny, and for any number of reasons (tired, anxious, distracted, in a hurry, zoned out, whatever) it is very possible to not see (maybe notice is a better word) things that are right in front of you in plain sight, especially if you aren’t expecting to see them.

        • yeah, you can probably see a car for miles, but for some reason peds just don’t register cyclists (or ignore us). there are two intersections on my ride to work where *every* single ped jaywalks — i.e., crosses against the signal. it’s dangerous for everyone, but i would say that 90% of the jaywalkers don’t even realize that i’m coming, and that i have the right of way. i usually average 20-25mph on my bike, but at those two intersections i know to slow down considerably, which sucks because then i end up missing the next 3 lights.

          crossing against the signal, or not at a crosswalk is just a bad idea. there are rules to the road, and while i ride defensively you sort of have an expectation that most people will be following the rules and acting predictably.

          • Goes both ways — a couple weeks ago I was almost struck by a cyclist while crossing a one way street on foot (not heavily trafficked) and going to a waiting car across the street. I made the mistake of only looking in the legal direction before crossing (there was no contra lane)

          • Yeah I think it’s more likely to go the other way. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pedestrian jump out in front of me while I was biking, but I’ve almost gotten hit by a bike a couple times as a pedestrian.

          • They are acting predictably as you stated above – just not following the rules. Most pedestrians (or drivers, for that matter) haven’t been trained to keep an eye out for smaller moving objects. Given that many DC residents are transplants from places without frequent bike traffic, it would be wise for the city to put on some sort of a public outreach campaign to train both drivers and pedestrians to be on conscious lookout for bikes on the road.

          • gotryit

            similar thing happened to me this morning. Four people walking against the light when I going about 20 on my bike (my green light). Three slow to let me pass, but one is oblivious. I did give him about 6-12 inches and a loud “watch out” as I passed in front of him.

          • justinbc

            In my experience they just don’t even notice the bike lanes altogether (especially coming southbound on the 15th St bike lane towards the White House, right around K St intersection). I often found many pedestrians are already standing in the bike lane waiting for the walk signal, rather than on the curb. This problem is only made worse by people with earbuds in, as little bike bells are barely audible compared to car horns.

          • 1. Brace yourself.
            2. Hit ’em.
            3. Sue.
            4. Profit!

          • Definitely goes both ways.

            At the 15th/K St intersection, I often see cyclists who have a red light for SB 15th traffic, and continue on anyway (K St NB has a left turn arrow) at the same time as pedestrians are crossing 15th (against the light). I see alot of cyclists go past the stop bar and stop instead by the median on K.

            Just last week I saw a cyclist at MA and 15th St stop and block the entire crosswalk while pedestrians were attempting to use it to cross 15th. When asked to move her bike, she put her earbuds back in and ignored the request to move. The 3 cyclists behind her did not say anything to her but did respond to the pedestrians who were telling the young woman to move back. They told the pedestrians to go around her (as in go out of the crosswalk… that area specifically designed on a roadway to signal pedestrian crossing area).

            Bicyclists treat peds like cars treat cyclists, and cars only give way to semitrucks.
            No matter which way you turn, no one shares the road.

        • The brain is a magical creature. You can look right at something and not see it.

          Or your eyes can lie:

  • In April I was hit by a pedestrian when I was on my bike–she ran right into the in the middle of the bike lane on 15th, headphones on, etc. I broke my arm in three places. The thing that really got me though is that she left in the middle of people calling 911. I’ve been joking that it was a “Run and run”. In any case, now that I am back on my bike, I see it even more –pedestrians NEVER LOOK WHERE THEY ARE GOING!! Be careful out there. Wear your helmets, etc.

    • That’s an awful experience, but please don’t generalize “pedestrians NEVER LOOK WHERE THEY ARE GOING!!” No. One didn’t and some others don’t, but most do. I hate it when others generalize about “bicyclists NEVER BLAH BLAH BLAH”, when, in fact, I and others do.

      • Most don’t. It’s amazing people live as long as they do with zero survival instinct. And, btw, those sidewalk width lanes in the road are not a sidewalk.

      • Agree, don’t generalize. Shall I say that EVERY BIKER NEVER LOOKS FOR PEDESTRIANS WHEN BLOWING THROUGH STOP SIGNS? That wouldn’t be fair but it’s also not far from the truth. Watch out when crossing K Street under the Whitehurst. Even when you as the pedestrian have waiting for cars to stop, made eye contact with the cars and then proceed into the crosswalk, you have a great potential for getting cursed at and “swiped’ by bikers on their way to the trial.

  • Any updates on this? Did everyone who has taken to the hospital end up being ok?

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