“Needless to say, only the most depraved life forms would threaten a female pedestrian with a baby strapped to her chest”

road rage
Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

“Dear PoPville,

Mine may be an isolated incident, but I figured I would reach out, as I hope no one else experiences what I did as I walked home to Mount Pleasant yesterday afternoon with my 10-month-old.

As I’m sure you are well aware, there are many “crosswalks of shame” around the District and pedestrians have to gingerly navigate piles of plowed snow to safely cross the street. Around 3:45pm, a man in a late model black Ford F-150 plastered with Redskins stickers narrowly missed hitting my daughter and I as we waited patiently on packed snow for our turn to cross 16th Street at Monroe. Of course, he almost hit us because he gunned it at the last second and decided to swerve around the snow bank on a red light.

As I threw up my hands and shook my head in disbelief, he had the gall to stop, get out of his truck, and yell several times, “I’ll hit and kill you next time, b*itch!” He was still screaming at us as we walked away, with many on-lookers watching the incident in disbelief.

Needless to say, only the most depraved life forms would threaten a female pedestrian with a baby strapped to her chest in front of several other adult and child pedestrians, so no wonder what that piece of human garbage is capable of doing. While I am relieved my child and I were able to walk away safely, I am shaken and wish I had been able to get the offender’s DC tag number.”

68 Comment

  • Awful. I’m sorry you had to go through this.

    Take solace in the fact that these idiots are few and far between thankfully.

    I hope you had a fun snow day with your little one!

    • Few and far between? Not around here.

      As someone who is primarily a pedestrian, I’ve found that DC-area drivers are almost impressive in their ability to combine a massively inflated sense of entitlement with their consistently abysmal driving skills.

      • Yeah, getting out of his car to threaten you is beyond the pale, but not beyond the unfortunate “norm” of being a female pedestrian in DC.

  • @OP. That person sounds a lot like an Uber driver that I had recently. If you really are interested in tracking them down, let me know- I can send you a screenshot of the driver and you can see if it is the same person.

  • A woman with a baby in the backseat nearly plowed me down in a crosswalk in Mount Pleasant two years ago… she ran the light. All sorts can be bad drivers I guess?!?

  • What a despicable piece of you know what. Glad you and your daughter are ok and made it home safely. I hope there was a witness that got his plate and it’s reported to the police. Fools like this should have their driving privileges taken away.

  • DC CapHill

    Anyone with stickers/decals all over their vehicle clearly doesn’t care about their own existence, why would they care about yours?

    I’m sorry that happened to you/your child. Long ago I stopped expressing this kind of outrage, due to this kind of reaction from the crazy people that live among us. Unfortunately, now the driver is further incensed and will hopefully not “hit and kill” someone at the next intersection while still fantasizing about their revenge.

    • What? I have a couple decals on the back of my car…pretty sure that does not mean I would ever do anything close to this.

      • I think he is referring to stickers on the back windshield blocking the driver’s own view (hence not caring whether he can see out or not), but I may be wrong.

        • My impression was that the OP was providing this as an additional detail as to what the vehicle looked like (in the absence of license plate information).

          • Yeah this was my impression too textdoc, I was just surprised at the leap to “all people with something on their car that shows an interest in a sports team/college or university/tv show/running/etc has zero regard for others” lol.

  • That is ridiculous. I’m sorry that happened to you and that you and your child are safe. I’ve had similar things happen to me while wearing a baby and pushing a stroller.

    Sometimes I practice remembering license plate numbers as I walk or bike around town in case something serious happens to me or someone else. Seriously people – license plate numbers! Note them down!

    • I do this too–make a note of license plate numbers around me when I’m walking or biking.

      OP–I’m really sorry this happened to you. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am sorry. When I drive I make an effort to be very cautious and aware of pedestrians and I have had other drivers threaten me for doing so. You really can’t win (unless you’re an asshole, apparently).

  • I had to drive around Mt Pleasant yesterday evening, and it was torturous. Because the pedestrians had to climb over mountains of snow to get to the crosswalk, and many crossed in single-file (vs as a gaggle), only 1 or 2 cars seemed to get through many lights, particularly if a car was waiting to turn. I can certainly understand some drivers getting frustrated and upset. However, that’s no excuse for driving dangerously or intentionally elevating the situation by getting out and yelling at someone.

    • I shoveled out a path through the mountain of snow from the sidewalk to the street crosswalk on my corner 3 times since Sunday, to find it re-plowed in all 3 times.

  • I’m so sorry this happened. How scary. In my last 2 months of pregnancy this fall, I had similar experiences 3 different times. Some people are crazy. Being a pedestrian on this city requires constant vigilance!

  • So sorry this happened to you, and I’m sure it was more frightening because you wanted to protect your daughter. Glad you are both OK. I am also noticing that many drivers are driving even more aggressively than usual, particularly when it comes to running lights, in this weather. I don’t really understand that but I am going to email the Pedestrian Advisory Council to see if they can’t start lobbying for better clean up of the sidewalks and corners.

    • This is a crime and I would definitely call the police to report it. Threatening someone verbally is assault. Call the police and give them as detailed a description as possible, of both the vehicle and the driver. Next time you are in the area, look around for security cameras that may have had a vantage point to capture the car or the plate.

    • There’s a Pedestrian Advisory Council? Is it independent? Sponsored by DDOT?

    • Hi! I’m the current chair of the Pedestrian Advisory Council. We had our monthly meeting scheduled for this past Monday, with DDOT and DPW on the agenda to discuss snow clearing procedures and enforcement of the new shoveling law.

      We planned that discussion before the blizzard, and of course we had to cancel our meeting because the government was closed. But snow removal will certainly be a major item that we will discuss at future meetings. There have been too many instances around DC of snow being actively piled up on sidewalks, crosswalks, and at push-to-walk “beg buttons.” Similarly, many property owners have failed to shovel the snow in front of their properties (especially some businesses with <20 feet to clear!).

      With this large amount of snow it's not easy or quick to clear everything out, but it will be important to see if there are better policies and procedures that can be put in place to help pedestrians stay as safe as possible.

      • I had no idea there was a Pedestrian Advisory Council — can you provide more info? I strongly encourage any and all efforts to force the city to take into account the needs and safety of pedestrians during and after snowstorms. We live in a CITY; pedestrians should come first, and certainly not be at most an afterthought. The failure of the city to address pedestrian issues after this storm are infuriating.

        • The PAC DC’s official pedestrian advisory body, and is made up of 13 volunteer members, one appointed by each Councilmember. We meet monthly to discuss speed cameras, sidewalk construction, and other matters with representatives of DDOT, MPD, DPW and more.

          Our meetings are generally the fourth Monday of the month at 441 4th Street NW, and they are open to the public. We also weigh in on upcoming legislation and the budget, both at our meetings (a rep from Councilmbmer Mary Cheh’s office is usually there – she chairs the committee with oversight of DDOT) and we testify at hearings.

          Here’s a link to our website: http://www.walkdcwalk.org/

      • I’ve lived in DC for over 20 years and as a pedestrian I had no idea there was a Pedestrian Advisory Council. Interesting to know.

    • YES!! The cars were acting like because there was snow they didn’t have to stop and wait at lights! It was ridiculous how many times I almost got hit because someone decided the rules no longer applied because of the snow!

  • I saw a LOT of this kind of behavior on the roads the last day or so. The roads are clear so people think they should be able to drive in the entitled, unreasonable manner they usually drive, not realizing that pedestrians are forced into the street by the snow. I’d like to see the mayor and local news speak up on this and tell people to drive reasonably. I’d also like to see MPD issue tickets if they see this kind of behavior. It’s completely unacceptable and dangerous.

  • Is threatening to kill someone not a crime in DC? Did the police refuse to file a report?

  • I assumed Governor Christie was a Jets fan.

  • Jerks like this guy hate pretty much anyone they think is in their way — they don’t make exceptions for women and children.

  • OP here. Thanks to all for your sympathy. My immediate focus was to walk away from the crazed driver (unfortunately, not Uber-affiliated @Dane) and cross the street safely while we had the light to my daughter and I could get out of harm’s way. I wish I would have been able to get his tag information, but I was in flight mode. Unlike the crosswalks shown in the illustrative photo above, there was no clear pedestrian path in the crosswalks at 16th and Monroe. Instead, there were large banks of packed snow separated by a foot-wide slush puddle created by foot traffic. We were standing on packed snow on the sidewalk (as opposed to standing in ankle-deep grey water) when this happened.

    • Even if you’d been able to get the guy’s tag information and if the police had been willing to use it to look him up, I fear it would probably have boiled down to a “he said, she said” situation (unless you could get any of the witnesses to stick around and confirm your account).
      .
      The most important thing is that you’re safe.

    • Sorry to hear this; sounds like it could be a mental illness — intermittent explosive disorder possibly.

  • I hope people remember how Bowser abandoned pedestrians and some neighborhoods entirely in the wake of this storm

    • Amen, remember all of it. Remember the one inch of snow that caused gridlock, recall the armed lunatics threatening people shoveling their walks, remember the fact that no one at MPD seemed all that particularly concerned about the gunmen until they finally (and predictably) shot someone. Remember these strings of failures when it’s sunny out during the primary.

    • Agree. Instead of getting snow emergency routes cleared so cars can return to their parking spots, I’d rather have some of that energy focused on getting crosswalks cleared out so that pedestrians can cross (somewhat) safely.

    • I don’t disagree, but it wasn’t better under either Gray or Fenty. I think it’s a matter of pushing organizations like the Pedestrian Advisory Council to be more assertive in requiring that our government, to whom we do not pay less taxes than motorists, consider pedestrians as equally important members of the district in these situations. And PS – the worst places to walk are churches and federal park land. Gah!

    • Accountering

      I remembered it BEFORE the election. She was all talk before the election, and that is all we are getting now. I made sure to vote against her, but ultimately, we got who we voted for.

  • This is seriously gross. Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me all that much that someone would behave in such a despicable manner. I’ve had drivers (usually commuters with MD plates) purposefully drive at me and scream obscenities because it’s “their turn” while I’m crossing in a cross walk at a four way stop. Some people are just unbelievable. I’m sorry you had to experience that on top of all the snow stress.

  • Similar thing happened to me at 16th and Columbia on Sunday afternoon from a similar truck bearing MD plates. Dude jumped out and shouted “My truck will win that fight, believe that!” after I took too long navigating a pile of snow in what he perceived was his overcompensation-mobile’s space.

  • @textdoc @OP Please don’t be deterred from reporting this to the police ASAP if you have not already done so. The old saw that it will boil down to a “he said she said” is overstated. If the police are able to identify the perpetrator, they may well have already have a file of other complaints against him. Perhaps this is the time he went furthest, by making a threat. Or perhaps they have one other complaint in the file, a “he said she said” and now this second one strengthens the case to arrest him.

  • I agree with the others that this is a crime and I would still report it. Who knows maybe they have had other complaints about this person and would take it seriously and check for camera footage. Very scary that this happened while with your daughter, hope the rest of your week goes better!

  • I have experienced far too many similar scenes throughout this storm and aftermath. On Capitol Hill at 7th and Penn, the CVS has left a huge pile of snow on the corner making it impossible for pedestrians to cross. Yesterday, a woman was helping another elderly person with a cane go around the snowpack and the cars waiting to go on 7th started honking at them! I knew it before but this week has really reinforced it, this town is full of entitled, car-loving jerks.

  • I’ve been a pedestrian in this city (in MtP) for over 8 years. This is a very familiar scenario to me (thankfully, not many death threats, though). Years ago I stopped counting years the frequency at which I’m nearly hit (usually on 16th street) and the number of times crossing legally somehow becomes an enraging inconvenience for drivers. Sorry you experience it too, OP, especially with your kid.

  • Although I’m a man/father, I’ve had similar experiences as a pedestrian while with my kids. It seems almost as if some drivers are more aggressive when they see children crossing the street.

  • OP I live on Monroe between 16th and 14th streets, and I have small children. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you, and I am glad you are both safe! I know those snow banks are miserable. In a related matter, we park on the street and have to buckle our children into their car seats every morning (or anytime we leave with them in the car). Two children+2 car seats= having to buckle one of them while standing in the street. The amount of honking and obscenities I’ve endured while frantically buckling is enough to make your hair curl- not to mention the increased danger when the cars insist on squeezing by while the passenger door is open.

    • I do not condone such rude behavior at all, but (big but coming) unlike the OP, you’re the person at fault in your scenario. Whether its kids, groceries, or simply getting out of the driver side, the onus is on you to keep the travel lane clear. That is to say the situations aren’t really the same.

      • Anon Spock- I agree the situations are different. The OP was dealing with a rude driver and threatening behavior while trying to navigate a snowy and dangerous corner that is hopefully temporary and will return to normal once the snow melts. The driver’s behavior was deplorable and frightening. I was referring to a frequent issue with drivers on the same block, and I was trying to offer my support to her as one parent to another who often navigates what feels like dangerous and threatening situations while in traffic with my children. FWIW I wait until there is no oncoming traffic before buckling or unbuckling my children, but traffic is so frequent on that block in the mornings and early evenings that often there isn’t time to buckle my child fully and safely before more cars arrive. And the few (not all) drivers who yell at me, honk, or try to squeeze by in their cars are not making wise decisions in my opinion. Heck- I’ve had cars zoom around the corner and drive down the block at a high rate of speed as I’m taking my child out of the car- also a terrifying experience. So while none of these incidents are related to the snow, they still are connected to me because they are examples of drivers showing impatience and putting children in harm’s way.

  • Drivers are a huge menace on our roads. Yet drivers bitch about cyclists which are way less dangerous. Vision Zero is a joke

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