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DUI Arrest Made in this morning’s Pedestrian Traffic Fatality Off Thomas Circle

by Prince Of Petworth April 8, 2016 at 11:58 am 35 Comments

via google maps

From MPD:

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit have announced an arrest was made in a traffic fatality that occurred in the 1300 block of Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest on Friday, April 8, 2016.

At approximately 1:28 am, members of the Third District responded to a call for a traffic accident involving a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. The vehicle was traveling eastbound in the service lane when it struck an adult male victim who stepped off the curb. The victim was not in the crosswalk and appeared into the street between parked cars. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services arrived on the scene where the decedent’s body was discovered trapped under the striking vehicle. All life-saving efforts were performed but the victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. The operator of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.

On Friday, April 8, 2016, 24-year-old Roshonda Michelle Josephs of Northwest, DC was arrested. She was charged with Driving Under the Influence.

The decedent has not been identified. The case remains under investigation.

The Metropolitan Police Department is asking anyone with information about this case to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”

  • Shaw

    Oh what horrible news :( On that block, at that hour, I wonder if the victim was a patron from the Green Lantern – the little bar tucked in the alleyway in the middle of that block. Whoever he was, my thoughts are with his family.

  • petworther

    Way to blame it on the victim in the press release MPD. Even when the driver was apparently drunk? Classy.

    • Anon Spock

      If you’re jaywalking in dc, you’re at fault no matter what the driver does or how drunk they may be. I feel for the family, but I see no reason mpd should gloss over blatantly dangerous, illegal behavior on the part of the victim.

      • petworther

        Vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians under all circumstances. So called “jaywalking” is bullshit invented by the auto industry.
        Obviously pedestrians should be careful, but this poor man was murdered in the street and it’s in extremely poor taste to insinuate he was at fault in announcing his death.

        • Anon Spock

          No, they’re not in DC. If you’re stepping out against the light and/or outside of a crosswalk, you’re at fault. A friend of a friend did so on 14th st a couple years back and got nothing from the driver for that very reason.
          Murder requires a lot like intent which is obviously lacking here.
          If you still don’t believe me, Google is there.

          • petworther

            He can’t possibly have been trying to cross there. Mass is going under the circle so you have to go to the end of the block either way.
            Poor guy probably stepped out to hail a cab or to get into his parked car and got run over by a drunk idiot going way to fast on a narrow street.
            MPD’s description makes it sound as if he ran into traffic and is completely irresponsible. You are compounding the problem.

          • Anon Spock

            So the driver was speeding? The press release mentions nothing of the sort. Whether he stepped out to hail a cab or to cross or to get into his car the onus is on him to be aware of his surroundings when he is doing so outside of the confines of a crosswalk. We have no way to know if the driver could have stopped sooner if not impaired.
            I know it sucks to think that a victim caused their own demise, but in this case, the victim at the very least contributed to it.

          • petworther

            The press release is agnostic as to weather the car was speeding. Even if they weren’t
            “speeding” they have have been going too fast for the conditions, which is still illegal.
            The bottom line is you have no idea what happened. It’s in poor taste on your part an on the part of MPD to blame the victim publicly for their own death. Especially when they were hit by a drunk driver. You should be ashamed.

        • Duponter

          Vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians, but drivers are not responsible if acting reasonably. If a pedestrian leaps in front of your car from a sidewalk, you have zero liability or responsibility, legally or morally for that.

          Now here, the question is really whether the driver’s intoxication meant the driver could have stopped had she not been drinking and did not. I doubt we will ever know.

          I think the press release was stating facts. It isn’t victim blaming or poor taste. Especially when there is a presumption that the driver is usually at fault if a pedestrian is hit.

          • Accountering

            So if you are drunk driving, you are by default, not acting reasonably. Lets leave the blame where it lies, the guy who got drunk and decided to drive his 2 ton car home, and killed someone in the process.

          • PetworthAdam


        • Tsar Of Truxton

          I know the city was trying to change the laws a few years ago (not sure if it happened), but D.C. has historically been a contributory negligence jurisdiction, so any fault by the pedestrian would nullify the driver’s fault from a tort liability standpoint. She could still get the DUI and vehicular manslaughter depending on the criminal statutes.

        • HaileUnlikely

          You’re mixing up a couple of conceptually different issues here. It is hardly ever the case that one party is 100% responsible for the occurrence of a crash and that the other party is 0% responsible for it. It is plainly obvious that such is not the case here. “Who is at fault?” is a question whose answer has no useful meaning. In DC, because DC tort law still follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, a party who is judged to be more than zero percent culpable for a crash is unable to recover damages from the other party, irrespective of which party was “more at fault” (again, whatever that even means). However, the question of whether either party broke laws, what laws those were, and what criminal penalties may apply is not a question of “who was at fault” and “can the other party recover damages.” Irrespective of the extent to which the pedestrian may have also contributed to the crash, DUI is illegal and being involved in a crash that results in a death while DUI leads to certain charges (no, not usually felony murder though).

        • Kingman Park

          Do you know what murder is?

        • James W

          Wow petworther. You have no idea what you’re talking about. So-called “jaywalking” was invented by the auto industry? Where did you glean that nugget? Nobody is blaming the victim by stating the facts of this accident. And the notion that cars will magically stop for any pedestrian walking anywhere at any time may is a nice fairy tale utopia but completely detached from reality.

          • Accountering

            Yeah, so you are wrong. Car manufacturers DID invent jaywalking. Perhaps google “who invented jaywalking” before making blanket statements that are proven false with a simple google search.

      • CPT_Doom

        We actually don’t know if he were jaywalking at the time of the accident. The service road on that part of MA is very narrow, and you can only actually get anywhere at either end; in the middle there is just the wall or guardrail for the tunnel below, so there’s no reason to try to cross there. The poor guy might have been attempting to hail a cab and not seen the car coming up on him.

        • Anon Spock

          If the definition of jaywalking is trying to cross rather than simply stepping out, then you might be right, but that wouldn’t change who’s ultimately at fault. Unfortunate circumstances in either case.

    • wdc

      I never drive even a little bit impaired (love city living), and this is a nightmare of mine. Someone stepping out from between parked cars, in the dark.

      • Anon

        It’s scary even during daytime. I’ve witnessed so many near-misses from pedestrians crossing mid-street, darting out behind parked cars. It seems to happen more on one-way streets, as pedestrians may lower their inhibitions since they’re “only” crossing one flow of traffic.

      • stcohi

        This happens all the time, too, especially with little kids running off the sidewalk and into the street. That’s why I drive like 5 mph in so many parts of Columbia Heights

      • V

        Yes! People pop out, bikes pop out of nowhere. You have to be extremely vigilant while driving to make up for other drivers who may be impaired or distracted. When behind the wheel these days you have to have ALL radars on and pay attention to what is around you. There is so much carelessness in cars these days and I’m not perfect either. We can all try to be better, though.. I’m sorry for the young man and his family. Be safe PoPville! And look out for others.

  • atlascesar

    There are actually very few spots on that “eastbound service lane” where someone could step out from behind a parked car to cross the street. At the intersection with Thomas Circle, where the underpass is covered, no parking is permitted. That would be a logical place for someone to cross. For most of the block, where parking is permitted, the underpass makes it impossible to cross on foot. At the eastern end, there is a short overlap of permitted parking and the ability to cross the street on foot (the underpass returns to street level and there is no fence). This is possibly where it happened?

    Very sad, regardless.

    • Duponter

      I mean, do you think the police are just making it up?

      • 20011

        Wouldn’t be the first time police make something up.

  • tristan

    the man was struck closer to the 13th street side of the block, just at the point where the tunnel ends. on the road there’s an orange spray-painted outline of the eastbound vehicle with some gruesome blood stains near the front of it. fwiw i noticed some flattened earbuds next to the stains, not that any conclusion can be drawn from that

  • Question is, if the driver had been perfectly sober, would the outcome have been any different? I am forever amazed at the way pedestrians think they are easily visible, despite wearing dark clothes, late at night. In this case, what caused the pedestrian to step out in front of an oncoming car? Was he “impaired”? I don’t buy the notion that the driver is always at fault and responsible, whatever a pedestrian may do to contribute to a collision.

    • Accountering

      Yeah, so this guy was drunk, so we can place blame solely where it should lie, with the drunk driver.

      • V

        Girl. This girl

        • Makhnovisti

          Woman. She’s 24.

  • Anon

    What I haven’t heard: driver’s blood alcohol level. Am I correct that the legal limit in DC is 0, for all ages? Which means this person could have had a single glass of wine with dinner and then had someone step in front of her on way home and BOOM arrested. Or the person was a totally drunk jerk who mowed down someone who they had all the time in the world to stop. No way to know.

    • Drunky

      No, the legal limit in DC is 0.08 – same as almost everywhere else. The legal limit is only 0 for drivers under the age of 21. http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/watch-your-bac-blood-alcohol-content-decide-you-drive

    • Anonymous

      I think what you’re referring to is an incident in Georgetown a few years ago. A woman was pulled over and the officer asked if she had anything to drink. She said that she had a glass or 2 of wine at dinner, but she blew .00 on the breathalyzer. They arrested her anyway, and MPD’s stated rationale was that even though she wasn’t intoxicated per se, she admitted to drinking and therefore was by definition impaired (Of course I wasn’t there, but I imagine the real offense was POPO — Pissing Off the Police Officer) MPD was pilloried in the media but I don’t know what became of the case. I suspect it was quietly dismissed. As far as I know no such cases have come up since.

      • Anon

        Yes, that is totally what I was thinking of. I thought, though, that the story was DC had a practice of doing that, and then giving the person option of either rolling dice with trial (and if they lost, a DUI conviction that would ruin their lives) or some suspended sentence where they had to take all these classes but could not have anything on record. I’m super risk adverse and DUI would mean immediate termination of employment for me, so basically, after that story I won’t even have so much as a root beer and drive same day.
        Regardless, condolences to victims family and reserve judgment on driver until I know more facts.


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