“Around 9:30 awful hit and run accident on Georgia Ave between Otis & Princeton”


A reader reports:

“Around 9:30 this morning there was an awful hit and run accident on Georgia Ave between Otis & Princeton with a huge EMS response. I spoke to a bystander, who said the victim had been unloading his car (parked in a space facing northbound on Georgia) when a distracted driver moved into the parking lane and hit him, severing the victim’s legs. The driver then reversed and left the scene. He was described as older and a ‘distracted driver.’ Apparently MPD has a license plate, so maybe they will catch the driver soon.

I hope the victim gets the very best healthcare available. Might be a good time to remind everyone: Please remember- PAY ATTENTION when you are driving! Conditions change in an instant and without your full attention things can turn tragic very quickly.”

59 Comment

  • This driver won’t get a lick of jail time. Society doesn’t punish distracted drivers unless they kill other drivers.

    • As long as you’re sober and claim it’s an accident you won’t even lose your license. This person apparently left the scene so they’ll at least get fined/suspended license/suspended jail time. .

    • The driver definitely ruined that person’s life. Does that not count for anything?

      • Under our current laws? No.
        The only way to get in trouble is if you are (1.) inebriated or (2.) leave the scene of the accident. Ironically, had the driver just stayed he would have only received a citation, a stern lecture from the cops, and would have been home in time for dinner. He’s now committed a felony by fleeing.
        Negligent, distracted drivers should face jail time in a case like this. Unfortunately, no jury composed of drivers will ever convict a fellow driver (“I could have been that driver! I’m a good person and don’t deserve jail time.”)

    • That’s not entirely true. Low income drivers who hit someone generally do some jail time. If this is some Marylander who makes over 200k a year there’s no way their spending a night in a cell.

    • I think this is a gross overstatement. “Distracted” driving includes everything from being blinded by the sun because you are not wearing sunglasses, to taking your eyes off the road to reach for something on the floor of your car, to looking at your phone to send a text while driving, to playing your radio so loud that you can’t hear sirens of emergency vehicles. Different actions with different results can lead to different potential and actual penalties.

  • Holy hell. That’s horrible.

  • oh my god, I am so sorry to hear this! My thoughts and best wishes are with this poor man! And I hope they catch the guy who hit him and then fled the scene! Awful!

  • Jesus Christ!! “[S]evering the victim’s legs”?!?? That’s terrible.

  • Severing his legs? Like, completely removing them from his body? There’s no way he survived if that’s accurate. He’d bleed to death in a minute. So I hope that since the OP wrote about him receiving medical care, that he/she meant something else.

    • If below the legs, or if someone was there in time to apply a tourniquet, and the victim made it to the hospital in time (this is less than 5 minutes from the best level 1 trauma center in the city), then yes, the victim absolutely has a chance of surviving.

    • I walked by moments before the paramedics arrived. Victim seemed calm enough and the MPD officer there did not seem to be in any hurry to attempt to help the victim, but the victim was laying on the curb in quite a large puddle of his own blood. The offender’s car must have pinned the victim’s leg between the offender’s front bumper and the victim’s back bumper. The offender had to have been completely oblivious to what was going on in front of him given the position of the victim’s van so far to the side of the road.

      • @Anon – was his leg(s) actually severed or just crushed? Any description of the victim? Was he a young guy? Older? Not that I guess it really matters at the end of the day, just that younger people tend to have better survival rates in situations like this than the elderly.

        • Couldn’t tell the extent of his injuries because of the pants he was wearing. He was definitely an older, working man, probably late 40s.

      • Oh dear lord, that poor man.
        Even if there are no criminal charges to pursue, I hope the victim gets the biggest shark of a lawyer there is and takes the driver for every last cent in civil court, plus future earnings.

  • I believe that I watched this happen from my car as I was driving to work, although I didn’t 100% understand the situation at the time.

    I’m not sure I would have any helpful information except to describe the van that hit the man, is there any place I could call to check and see if my information could be helpful?

  • And this makes example #8793457298734897234 in why we shouldn’t allow cars inside the city.

    • Really? Get a grip. I personally witnessed a biker hit a pedestrian at a high speed. The pedestrian was injured badly – shall we ban bikes too?

      • Your anecdotal experience is really cool and important, but in the US every year cars kill more than 30,000 people. Guess how many are killed by bicycles? Seriously, do it, guess, and then look up the answer.

        Of all the ways of getting around the city, there’s only one that kills and maims people with this frequency.

    • And this makes example #8793457298734897234 in why we shouldn’t allow trolls on message boards.

      • Yes, just think about the dire consequences, such as making some people mad on the net. Definitely a real problem, unlike the one in the original post that involves a man losing his legs because of careless driving.

    • Yes, we should all just rely on DC’s exceptional public transportation. I’m sure metro can handle the massive increase in riders after your “no cars” policy is implemented. Also, I assume cyclists will start obeying traffic laws, right?

      • Streetcars and buses can move pretty quickly on streets that aren’t clogged with bumper to bumper car traffic- between that and pedestrian and bicycle streets you’d have a grid where people can get around fast without dying. Or we can stick with the current model where all traffic grinds to halt for a few hours a day and tens of thousands of Americans are killed by cars every year- obviously much more likely, but far and away the shittier option.

        I don’t know why you’re fixated on cyclists obeying traffic laws- was it a cyclist that smashed the guys legs off in the original post? I must have misread it.

        • Just making an assumption (based on your comments) that you are a cyclist. I could be wrong, of course, but I’m guessing you suit up like you’re competing in the Tour de France every morning for your ride to work. Also, we’re fixating on cyclists because one inevitable consequence of banning cars would be a dramatic increase in the number of cyclists (many of whom, presumably, would fail to follow traffic laws).

          Insults aside, it’s just really ridiculous to argue that there should be no cars allowed in a city that has a barely functional public transportation system. If you magically made all of the cars disappear, that would have zero impact on the metro system. It would still be awful. Also, buses and streetcars hit people fairly frequently as well (though, of course, not as often as cars given the disparity in the number of each on the road).

          If DC were able to provide for reasonably reliable and affordable transportation, I would definitely be in favor of regulations to discourage people from driving in the city, but that’s a HUGE “if.” A better solution would be for the federal government and large area employers to embrace telecommuting. It’s 2015, and many jobs simply do not require people to get in their cars and drive to the office everyday.

          • Cool, thanks for the incorrect tour de france assumption! I don’t own a single item of spandex clothing, or whatever they make that stuff out of : ) . Shall I go ahead and assume you put on a leather diaper full of diarrhea as you step into your car each morning, or can we leave petty insults aside?
            Anyways, I know it’s ridiculous to say that there should be no cars- realistically, I think there should just be waaaay fewer, but everyone treats that idea like sheer lunacy unless you start first with ‘no cars’ and then work your way back to ‘ok fine, some cars.’ And yeah, our public transit is in terrible shape right now- but that’s in large part because of the many ways car dominance destabilized our transit environment. You seem like you probably know that already, though.
            Telework is nice and solves some of the most visible problems, but I don’t think it’s much of a substitute for having functioning transit, which is definitely not impossible, however much car culture wants you to think otherwise.

          • Do drivers really wear diapers full of diarrhea?

          • I have to assume so, I don’t know what else could be so distracting that it would cause people plow their cars into other cars, people, cyclists, buildings, etc, so frequently.

        • …Scratching my head here. You DO realize that the person who was hit was unloading a van that they presumably had been driving at one point. So, using your logic, wouldn’t he be part of the problem? I agree that fewer cars are a good thing, but when the bulk of people who use mass transportation ride the metro, your argument about buses sitting in traffic falls flat. Many of the people who are turning away from metro because of its abominable service are turning to cars. Better metro service = fewer cars at rush hour.

          • Your first question is facile and your next points, such as they are, are logically confused. Luckily I’m glad we can both agree that fewer cars is a good thing!

    • Maybe you can move to 1960s Peking. Short of that, it isn’t happening, nor should it. Do you have young children who need to get to daycare or school? A job that’s on the other side of the city, or even — gasp — in Alexandria of Silver Spring? Good luck with that bike, pal.

  • Oh how horrible. It’s things like this that do make me grateful for just a moment to live somewhere with such incredible medical care available only minutes away. Here’s hoping that the EMTs were able to get him to the hospital and the doctors will be able to re-attach his legs. PoP, can we get an update on this story when one is available?

  • Does anyone happened on 14th and W around 8:30 this morning? I was biking past and I saw a taxi on the NB side with a smashed windshield and police looking over a bikeshare bike. The ambulance had just left.

    • i was on the bus going down 14th and passed this soon after it happened. i saw a woman on the ground being fit into a neck brace and a trash truck also stayed at the scene – not clear if they were just witnesses or involved. anyone have more info?

  • Ugh this is so awful! Hope they catch the driver ASAP. I can’t imagine hurting someone so badly and just driving off like that.

  • I drive up Georgia Ave to downtown every morning for work and I can attest that it really is hell on Earth. I have never experienced such a concentration of aggressive, insane drivers in my entire life. Something about that road makes people go psycho. You name it, I have witnessed it. Sadly, I am surprised there are not more accidents like this. This is awful, thoughts are with this victim and his family.

    • +1 — Also, the ridiculous number of crosswalks on Georgia Avenue adds to the dangerous conditions. Rather than expect someone to walk half a block to the next intersection, DC felt it reasonable to just put crosswalks everywhere on Georgia. As a result, I often find myself having to slam on the brakes at the last minute (hoping the person behind me is paying attention), while pedestrians cross the street every 10 feet or so. Crosswalks are supposed to make crossing the street safer, but that’s certainly not the case on Georgia Ave.

      • Newsflash: You are driving way to fast if you need to slam on your brakes to avoid hitting people in crosswalks. Maybe just slow down and assume each crosswalk could have someone about to walk in it?

        • Newsflash: no, I’m not driving fast at all on Georgia. On any other street–at least those with a rational number of crosswalks–you can drive the speed limit and not be concerned that someone will wander into the street at any one of a thousand entry points. I slam on my brakes because, unlike the majority of other drivers on the road, I actually make an attempt to follow the rules with respect to stopping for pedestrians in a crosswalk. My point is that the city makes that difficult when you have the potential of stopping every quarter of a block. I simply don’t understand why that street necessitates so many additional crosswalks, when other streets don’t. If you could explain that, that would be great. Thanks!

          • I’m pretty sure that there are few to no mid block crosswalks on Georgia Ave in the District. I know this because I have the misfortune of occasionally trying to cross Georgia Ave at an intersection with no stoplight.

            Can you name where these mid-block crosswalks are? I can think of a number of intersections (especially of infill streets in Park View) that lack stop lights, but they are not mid-block nor are they every quarter block most certainly. I believe google street view very readily backs this up.

          • I take it you don’t believe there should be crosswalks at streets that intersect with GA Ave? Because otherwise between FL Ave and Silver Spring there is a grand total of ONE crosswalk that isn’t located at a cross street, which is far from ridiculous.

          • “you can drive the speed limit and not be concerned that someone will wander into the street at any one of a thousand entry points.”
            ****The speed limit is a maximum speed, not the speed you should expect to drive at any given time.**** Just because the sign says 30 doesn’t mean you should get to go 30. If there are cars, pedestrians, cyclists, roadwork, whatever then you need to drive slower – if you typically have to slam on your brakes then you are driving too fast for current conditions.

    • I live very close to this accident and drive GA Ave, though reverse commute, northbound every day. In the evening I take 16th back. It’s faster to do it this way.
      But between the 2 I think the issue with GA is that there are no left turn lanes. So you have a lot of people aggressively switching lanes to go around people turning left, to avoid getting stuck behind a bus, and because everyone feels this is their god given right on GA Ave more than any other street in this city- double parking. No one will ever give up that much parking, but taking away parking and putting a median down the middle and adding left turn lanes, like 16th, would go a huge way to taming GA Ave.

      • I agree with the left-turn lane comment. I reverse commute GA Ave every day, and this is a real issue pretty much as soon as you get into the District and all the way down.

    • How fast are you driving on Georgia that you have to slam on the brakes?

      • Less than 20 miles/hour. It’s impossible to go even the speed limit (safely) given all of the crosswalks.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Try looking around. Driving instructors call this scanning the road. People who appear in front of your car usually don’t just fall out of the sky, they start from one side of the road or the other, walk toward the edge of the sidewalk, reach the edge of the sidewalk, leave the sidewalk, and traverse the parking lane before they get to the driving lanes. Unless they’re ducking behind a parked car and waiting until you get up to them to literally dive in front of you, you are doing something wrong if you frequently have no opportunity to decelerate smoothly but rather find yourself slamming on the brakes all the time.

  • I urge any witnesses to please come forward and give your statement to the police. My uncle is the victim and by God’s grace he is still fighting for his life-his life is forever altered due to this driver, who has not been caught yet. Your help is extremely needed. This is the only article we have found online that makes mention of what happened and hoping to get the word out and the help of witnesses, might help catch the driver faster.

    • so, so sorry that your family has to go through this nightmare and that they haven’t caught this asshole. insane that someone would cause this much horror and flee.

  • I’m also a niece of the victim and it’s tearing our heart that my uncle is fighting for his life, already lost one leg, trying to save the other, and no arrest has been made. There was a lot of witnesses to this horrendous crime!PLEASE COME FORWARD AND PROVIDE ALL THE INFORMATION YOU CAN!

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