“Guy running red light, barely missing pedestrians crossing… MPD doesn’t seem to care”

“Dear PoPville,

Due to the recent near-misses with reckless drivers around the District, I have decided to invest on a dash cam for my protection and entertainment. I have been capturing the usual careless drivers every now and then.

Saturday I think I captured a very near-miss involving a guy running a red light at the intersection of 15th & Irving St NW as pedestrians were crossing the street. I was so disgusted that I went to the nearest MPD station to give them the footage since the license plate is clearly visible and the person at the counter didn’t seem to care, and just said to email [email protected] and MAYBE someone will contact me.

Anyway, since I needed to vent, here’s the footage.”

64 Comment

  • Good for you! I hope they do something. If they don’t, perhaps we need a new law to enable citizen videos like this to automatically lead to tickets / points / etc. I’d almost prefer that to the traffic cameras since (presumably) there will be some measure of judgment about how bad and dangerous the infraction was (like this one!).

    I’ve started playing the texting / cell phone game. When you see people driving badly or erratically, you try to guess if they’re texting or on the phone. +5 if you guess texting right, +1 if it’s a hand-held cell phone. -1 for all wrong guesses. It helps me control my anger and be more alert for reckless drivers.

  • Not only is it unreasonable to expect MPD to do something about a traffic offense (with no damage or injuries) that an officer didn’t see him/herself, it’s also against policy. So while it’s unfortunate that this occurred, if you expect MPD to do something about this, then write to the city council and have them pass a law to make red light running a criminal offense so that MPD can devote police resources to applying for a warrant, arresting the driver, and getting them into the criminal justice system.

    • what about a citizen’s arrest? these are the sort of nuisance issues that our police ** should ** be enforcing. Didn’t anyone learn anything from rudy Guiliani and broken windows? well, the dangerousness of the situation shown in the video is a heck of a lot more serious than a broken window. It could have led to broken bones or worse.

    • gotryit

      I agree – MPD shouldn’t try to follow up on a traffic violation based on a video. They should however follow up on attempted assault or some other criminal charge. I’m not sure what else you’d call purposefully driving a 3 ton car at someone qualifies as.
      MPD follows up on people shooting at someone even when they miss… why not this?

      • You have to demonstrate criminal intent in order to sustain a criminal charge, and I don’t see from the video that the driver was intentionally driving towards the pedestrians. What the driver did is not a crime, sorry.

        • gotryit

          Are you saying you think the driver was not looking forward while driving at the people in the crosswalk? And that would make it not a crime?

          So if someone shoots a gun at another person with their eyes closed, then you can’t show intent and it’s not a crime?

          • Intent is one part of a crime, but the other part is actually having a law that makes it a crime. In this case, there is no law that would make this a crime, so write the city council and tell them to pass a law that makes red light running a criminal offense, and then don’t complain when all the police do is write warrants for an unidentified driver all day long for red light running based on some guys video in which the driver is unknown.

          • gotryit

            Perhaps we see it differently because I think of a car as a deadly weapon in the context of it being driven towards pedestrians. Forget the red light – it’s the people that I’m concerned about.
            The driver may not have been that close to hitting them, but close enough to make them step backwards – that’s too close.

          • If you are shooting at someone with your eyes closed, you are intending to harm that person, whether the bullets strike him or not. Absent an incriminating statement from the (unidentified) driver in which he or she states that they were trying to cause significant injury or death to the pedestrians with the car, then there could be any number of reasons why the car went through the light.

          • What would the criminal charge be? Attempted involuntary vehicular manslaughter? Can we do the same with errant pitches at baseball games?

          • gotryit

            I didn’t see anything involuntary about it. At a minimum the SUV driver is threatening the people crossing the road.

            If I can get paid as a pedestrian the same as even a low ranking MLB player, then your analogy applies perfectly.

        • gotryit

          Are you looking at the pedestrians on the far side of the intersection? The ones who were part way through crosswalk and had to step back to avoid getting hit?

    • That type of bs ‘its against policy” is why DC has such a reputation for being a total joke.

      • I challenge you find a police dept that would be able to legally ticket or arrest someone for a traffic infraction that resulted in no injuries or damage, and that the officer didn’t witness, and the driver is no longer on the scene.

        • Well, speed cameras in the District do just that every single day.

          • These speed cameras are carefully placed and calibrated (well, in theory). Dash cams are not.

          • Try reading my comment as a response to Ghgh.

          • I did. What’s your point here? There are too many moving parts for a private dash cam for it to mean anything in court. Have you thought this through?

          • Just to clarify – I’m talking about non-criminal offenses here, like speeding.

          • I didn’t mention dash cams, and my post had nothing to do with dash cams.

            I was responding to the ‘challenge’ to “find a police dept that would be able to legally ticket or arrest someone for a traffic infraction that resulted in no injuries or damage, and that the officer didn’t witness, and the driver is no longer on the scene.”

            The MPD is such a police department, because they use speed cameras.

  • You should make this a daily post.
    7th St / GA, Ave at U St NW is another great spot for risking your life.

  • What dash cam do you have?

  • ah

    I’m not going to defend the driver, but that’s far from the most egregious red light running – I see worse almost every day on my commute.

  • Snitches get stitches!

  • Every single time: MD tags

    • MD tags + SUV. We NEED a commuter tax. One so expensive that MD/VA drivers are basically forced to park and ride Metro.

      • “One so expensive that MD/VA drivers are basically forced to park and ride Metro.”

        Yeah! And if the tax was high enough, we could stop the flow of food and consumer goods into the District entirely!

      I was cut off by two DC drivers running stop lights/signs in a fifteen minute drive today. There are plenty of terrible, aggressive, oblivious drivers from all jurisdictions in this area.

  • OP – I’ve been thinking of investing in a dashboard cam myself. Can you point me toward the one you decided on, have you been happy with it, etc.? Thanks!

  • You have the tag…. But do you KNOW who was driving the car? Moving violations need to be cited to a specific person, not a car. And as someone else posted this offense is not an offense that would result in an arrest b/c someone ran a red light.

    • What? No they don’t. Speed cameras just mail the ticket to the registered address. It’s up to the car’s owner to figure out who was driving it at the time of the offense.
      That said, I don’t fault MPD for not following up on rando guy’s video of a non-criminal offense. I thought from the headline that there was a cop who witnessed the infraction and did nothing. That would get my back up.

      • Actually, yes they do. MPD won’t follow up unless there’s a positive ID on the driver. (Speed cameras are another issue, i.e. an efficient way to raise revenue.)

  • Not the OP but the camera that I use is https://vidiactiongear.com It’s a good inexpensive GoPro and I ordered the Suction Cup to mount to my window. Like the OP I plan on sending in some videos but of BICYCLISTS who drive through stop signs and nearly hit pedestrians and other cars.

  • As an avid pedestrian, I wouldn’t call that 10 foot gap a particularly close call. Close call is when I’m close enough to slap their car as they pass within inches of me. That’s my horn.

    I guess I expect vehicles (yes, usually Maryland) to blow through lights a second or two after they change.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      I think he was referring to the pedestrians on the far side of the intersection who had to step back to let the truck go. Still not a super close call, but pretty egregious.

      • Ah yes. I actually had to watch it 4 more times before seeing the two on the other side of the intersection. I kept looking in the wrong spot.

        Yes, that’s a close call. My bad.

  • IMO, the truck wasn’t close enough to the pedestrians to constitute a “near miss”/near collision.
    Nonetheless, it’s still totally flagrant red-light running — when the truck reaches the crosswalk, it’s already been two full seconds since the light has turned red.

    • “IMO, the truck wasn’t close enough to the pedestrians to constitute a “near miss”/near collision.”
      Not close enough to the pedestrians on the far side of the intersection who had to step backwards out of the street to get out of the way? That’s far too close for my comfort as a pedestrian.

      • (Comment intended as a response to several posts, not just to textdoc. Especially with stano’s “10-foot gap” comment, I just want to make sure we’re all not just talking about the peds coming from the near left side.)

      • I was looking only at the pedestrians in the foreground. I didn’t see the ones you were mentioning until now, when I was specifically looking to see what I had missed.

        • For anyone else who missed them: The pedestrians Krampus is talking about are slightly in the distance, waiting to cross from right to left — not the pedestrians in the foreground crossing from left to right in front of the OP’s dash cam.

  • When police departments receive information they cannot always comment on what they will do, because they don’t know. The police take information and conduct their own investigation. This is especially true for someone who is working a desk (Most sergeants don’t work the desk as in Chicago PD). To bring criminal charges, the police work in conjunction with the district attorney.

    The reason the police create speed traps is so that the officer can offer a sworn affidavit, report, or testimony that can ultimately be held up in court regarding witnessing a speeding vehicle and who was driving it. Red light cameras are another way, but these often don’t hold up in court because its difficult to prove who was driving.

    The DAs office often turns down prosecuting cases/bringing charges because there is not enough evidence. This is our legal system.

    If you believe that running red lights in a particular intersection is a problem there are agencies that would love to hear of another place to put a red light camera. If your ultimate goal is to make DC safer, there are many proactive ways you can do this.

  • “…for my protection and entertainment.”

    Heh 🙂 I have to get me one of those!

  • Love the musical choice, too, though I’d probably have gone with the Benny Hill theme.

  • This is videotaped evidence of reckless driving. If the pedestrians weren’t paying attention, they could have been badly injured or killed. From my non-lawyer POV, I don’t see why this couldn’t be taken as evidence in support of a charge or citation at least. But it won’t happen. Our low expectations will be met.

  • I was once nearly hit by a driver downtown running a red light while I crossed on my right of way the pedestrian light. An officer in a nearby patrol car happened to witness it and immediately pulled over the driver. I was amazed because that so rarely happens. Instant justice! That said, it’s still likely just a moving violation with points/fine. Even if I was struck they’d have a difficult time proving any intent and it would have likely been a very minor charge despite the egregiousness of the offense.

  • DC needs a traffic enforcement division with a few hundred cops on motorcycles focused on ticketing traffic violations. I watch drivers frequently break laws in right front of MPD cars – and the cops do nothing. It’s time to dedicate some police to dealing with all the red light running, failures to yield to pedestrians, stop sign running, speeding, and DWIs. They would pay for themselves with the fines and the streets would be a lot safer.

  • Good for you citizen!! I used to cross that walk 2x a day. Maryland drivers are potential homicides waiting to happen.

    I’m glad the plate was posted too. Somebody who is willing to risk the lives of people trying to make a living doesn’t deserve any quarter.

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