36 year-old dies after collision with truck while riding a scooter in the 4900 Block of Connecticut Avenue, NW

From MPD:

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit are investigating a traffic fatality which occurred in the 4900 Block of Connecticut Avenue, NW.

On Friday, August 15, 2014 at approximately 8:24 am, an adult female was operating a gray 2009 Honda scooter southbound in the 4900 block of Connecticut Avenue, NW when a 2009 International flatbed truck made a left turn from the northbound lane of Connecticut Avenue, NW onto 36th Street, NW, crossing into the path of the scooter. The scooter then collided with the truck. The adult female was transported to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead. The operator of the truck remained on the scene.

The decedent has been identified as 36 year-old Nadia Sophie Seiler of Wheaton, Maryland.

This crash is currently under investigation.”

38 Comment

  • I was with the 8 year old I take to camp when this happened. Normally we would walk right past there, but we decided to go to the Murch Elementary playground for a bit beforehand. I’m so glad we did and she was spared from seeing the accident. We heard sirens but didn’t think much of it since the firehouse is nearby. As I was walking back to my car near her house, I saw the scooter laying in the street in pretty bad shape and didn’t think there would be any way she could survive that (especially when I heard the officer say she may be dead at 9:15 or so). Getting so close to all this has definitely made me pay closer attention to my driving behaviors (I’m pretty cautious to begin with, but still…)

  • I guess it’s this sort of accident (truck, presumably, not seeing a small scooter/motorcycle) that has the Harley Davidson crowd saying that loud bikes are a safety feature. If you can hear them coming, you are more likely to look around for them, and proceed more carefully.

    • Why the assumption that the truck driver was at fault? The article states that the scooter struck the truck, not the other way around.

      • Probably because he knows how to read, and bothered to read the full post.

        Typically, if a vehicle operator wants to make a left turn in an intersection without traffic control signals, he or she is legally required to wait for oncoming traffic before executing the turn. The fault does not rely on which vehicle was struck by the other.

      • I’m reading what I wrote before, and I’m sorry for being a prick here. I was grumpy, and there is really no reason for me to be so hostile. Again, apologies to anon5

      • Unless the scooter was running a red light at an intersection, I can’t see a scenario where the truck driver wouldn’t be at fault. While riding my bike in the city, people turn left in front of me all the time requiring me to slam on the brakes to not hit them. Especially when they turn, then stop in the middle of my lane because there are pedestrians crossing their path.

        I had an accident exactly like this on my bike in VA 2 years ago. I was riding down a hill, lights blinking and everything, when a car turned left in front of me into a neighborhood. No way I could stop from 25mph in time and I broadsided the car. Not an ounce of fault on my part.

      • Because the truck made a left turn, and the scooter had right of way.

      • Similar thing happened to me on my motorcycle while traveling on NH Ave. A car going south on NH crossed over traffic and got stopped by a pedestrian in the middle of northbound traffic. I barely escaped a full blown T-Bone and just clipped his rear fender and didn’t go down.

        His insurance covered everything, but I had just crossed in Maryland… and the Maryland cops didn’t do anything. No report of fault or any description of the accident.

  • “a 2009 International flatbed truck made a left turn” … I had no idea that we had driverless flatbed trucks operating in the District

  • I spoke with a cop who was at the while getting breakfast that morning. They actually implied that the scooter driver was at fault.

    • Did the officer provide any details? There have been documented cases in DC where law enforcement assumed one person to be at fault simply because that person was operating a 2-wheeled vehicle. I doubt that is the case here, but I am curious to hear how a driver going straight could be at fault. Perhaps the scooter-driver was going faster than the speed limit? Maybe there is a sign there that says “yield to left-turning vehicles”? Again, just curious

  • If the accident happened before 9:30 AM (which I believe it had) the truck driver was making an illegal turn.

  • Absolutely tragic to think the lady was just on her way to work and died. The left turn makes me think the truck was at fault, but I’m interested in hearing the investigation results. As a biker, this story was sobering. Prayers for her family and friends.

  • Yeah, unless the driver had a protected green, the scooter ran a red light, or the scooter was speeding so fast she couldn’t stop within a normal time frame, this was the drivers fault. If this was not the case, I think we should add this to the multiple cases where cops blamed cyclist victims when the driver was clearly at fault (my wife being one of the victims). I think the entire MPD force may need to go back and re-learn basic traffic laws.

    • Agreed, especially given Sunsquashed careful caveats. Regretfully, the MPD has a long history of blaming not-cars when something happens.

  • There is a sign at the intersection of 36th and Connecticut that prohibits traffic from entering 36th St. from 7:00-9:30 a.m. The intersection is one where many children cross to go to school. So the truck definitely shouldn’t have been turning left onto 36th St. at 8:24 a.m. (the time of the accident). I live around the corner from the accident site and have been trying to figure out how the truck driver could NOT have been at fault and so far, haven’t been able to figure it out. If he was making a left turn, it is his obligation to make sure that there is no oncoming traffic. But in any case, it is illegal to turn onto 36th St. at that time. I walk my dogs that way every morning. And in fact, was walking the that morning past at 9:05 a.m and saw the flatbed truck facing the wrong way on 36th St. Like I said, how could he not be in the wrong? There may be facts that I am unaware–sure would like to know them. Meanwhile, I will proceed more cautiously through that intersection.

    • NBC 4 reports eyewitness as saying truck was in the wrong in this instance. And driver error may well have cost this young woman her life. Very sad news.

      • I saw the NBC 4 report. I am wondering why the truck driver hasn’t been charged yet. BTW, she was supposed to get married on August 30.

      • Sadly, eyewitnesses are not the police. And unfortunately in DC there are many stories of MPD making up reasons why an apparent traffic accident victim was, in their view, responsible. A friend of mine was hit by a taxi while walking in a crosswalk *with* the walk signal, yet still given a jaywalking ticket. Since the impact caused her to fly through the air and land in the street, the cop was thoughtful enough to follow her to the hospital to make sure she got the ticket as her broken hip was being set. No charges could be filed against the taxi driver as a result, and my friend wound up with a big hospital bill that was thankfully covered mostly by insurance. This city needs much better traffic enforcement to protect people who do not drive cars/trucks – pedestrians, bikers, scooter riders, wheelchair users, etc.
        My sympathies for the victim’s family and loved ones.

    • Illegal lefts and running red lights are traffic violations that result in fines, but they are never conclusive evidence of liability in a traffic accident. What matters is whether a reasonable driver should have had time to stop in this situation. It is unclear from the few sentences above who is at fault. If the truck made a quick left directly in front of the scooter, a jury would find the truck driver liable. If the truck was ambling across the southbound lane and the scooter driver should have seen the truck from blocks away, then a jury would find the scooter driver liable. My guess, if this is a commercial truck they will settle quick.

  • brookland_rez

    Scooter aren’t motorcycles, but they are subject to the same risks, and in many cases additional risks. As a motorcycle rider, I highly encourage all scooter riders to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. They teach you a lot of actually very basic skills that help you avoid situations that can likely get you killed.

  • Nadia is the younger sister of a dear friend. The pain of losing her so suddenly reverberates across many miles, states and people. So very sad.

  • Ms. Seiler worked at Folger Shakespeare Library and was en route to a conference. Terrible news.

    • Wow. My kid adores the Folger Shakespeare Library. Sad story in general, but this makes it hit home even more.

  • msmaryedith

    She was also getting married later this month. It’s so incredibly sad.

    • I know her fiancé through my work, and am so incredibly sad for him and her family, friends. Also the driver of the truck, whose life is forever changed.

    • I see from the article that she’d learned to read what’s known as “secretary hand” (“the script used in Shakespeare’s time for ordinary writing”). No mean feat; I’m impressed.

  • brookland_rez

    This is a terrible tragedy and offer my condolences to the family and friends.
    Even though it won’t bring Nadia back, charges beyond “failure to yield right of way” need to be brought on the driver of the truck. The majority of the time in accidents like this, the offending driver gets off with no charges. A professional driver of a truck should lose his license and be charged with criminal charges.

  • As a friend of Nadia I really am still in shock. Please tell me she died or at the very least was unconscious right away. I know she wore a helmet.

    • Friendofnadia–my neighbor saw the scene less than 2 minutes after the accident. Don’t want to publish anything but contact me if you want to talk.

  • This lady was also scheduled to get married in two weeks.

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