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First Person Account of Last Night’s Hit and Run in Adams Morgan + Status of Two Officers and DDOT Employee Injured

by Prince Of Petworth June 9, 2017 at 9:00 am 54 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

MPD Chief Peter Newsham writes this morning:

“A long and tough night 4 the MPD family, one officer remains critical but stable & the other is in fair condition. Thanks 4 all your support”

A PoPville reader shares her account from the scene:

“We were sitting on the terrace at Grand Central so literally a sidewalk between us and the incident. There was an Uber driver stopped letting people out and a bus behind it, with the driver leaning heavily on its horn. That seemed to be it, then we heard a horrible noise. At first, we thought it was the bus having hit the crosswalk side, but then people starting running and we learned it was the bicycle officers that had been hit. I have never seen so many cops show up so quickly in my life. 18th St was blocked from Belmont to Calvert past the Adamo.”

  • PetworthGuy

    Awful. Hoping for a quick recovery for the MPD officers. OP so was it the bus driver who hit them? or another car laying on their horn behind them?

    • Ben

      Washpost and Popvile (a few posts down) reported it was a white pickup that careened around the bus at a very high rate of speed. Suspects have been identified and arrested.

    • OP Anon

      Two idiots in a white pick-up truck drove around the MTA bus into oncoming traffic. The bus had stopped because an Uber was dropping off passengers. The white pick-up truck hit 2 MPD bike officers and a DDOT traffic control person who were staged in the middle “island” of 18th Street between both lanes of traffic.
      In fact, the bus driver witnessed the hit, got out of the bus, and started to chase the pick-up truck on foot. The bus driver was very upset on the scene.

      • PetworthGuy

        I appreciate the additional info OP & Ben. I can definitely see this happening. I’ve been to grand Central many times and that cross walk area can be crazy. Glad they caught the A-hole with no patience.

      • nope

        I find it very unlikely an MTA bus was involved. Do you mean Metrobus?

        • Anonymous

          #Pedant

          PS – that’s not a compliment.

    • Anon

      I witnessed the whole thing from directly across from the median where the officers and DDOT worker were struck. (in front of Shenanigans.) It was definitely the white pickup truck that struck them, and it was a truly horrific incident. The truck seemed to have swerved past the bus and was going incredibly fast when it struck them where, and they flew into the air and landed with a loud and horrifying impact. I actually remember thinking to myself just moments before it happened how great it was to see the strong bike police presence in the neighborhood last night, as I think they do an excellent job patrolling that heavily congested strip.
      .
      It was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen, and I want to commend the officers who were on the scene so quickly and who handled it so well. My heart goes out to those injured and to the officers who had to witness such a senseless incident that harmed their colleagues who were just out doing their job. Hoping for a very speedy recovery for all.

      • OP Anon

        I heard the impact of the car hitting the bodies from my apartment, my front windows were open due to the nice weather. It was absolutely horrifying. I’m on the 3rd floor of my building, about 200 feet down the road from the incident. It was that loud and severe.

  • Ben

    I would suggest all witnesses to contact police. They have arrested two suspects. Crazy – I hope the cops recover.

    • Anon

      Many, many, witnesses including myself were able to provide detailed statements for the police. I hope that they are helpful, and that the injured recover quickly.

      • Ben

        Props to you Anon and everyone else!

    • textdoc

      +1 to “I would suggest all witnesses to contact police.”

  • Newtonian

    Awful. I wish the MPD officers a speedy recovery.
    .
    Who hit them? The Uber or the bus? My experience with both (as a pedestrian) is they treat pedestrians as an inconvenience and are impatient if they have to wait more than 2 seconds for someone to legally cross the street. I hope whomever hit the officers learned a valuable lesson.

  • OP Anon

    More info on the health status of the MPD and DDOT employees and the suspects:
    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Two-Officers-Injured-in-Crash-Northwest-DC-427350633.html
    .
    If I found the right FB profile, it seems that one of the suspects is heavily interested in psychedelic drugs. Which would plausibly explain why someone would drive like a maniac on 18th at that time (packed with people, lots of traffic). Other witnesses I spoke with said that the car turned onto 18th by jumping a curve and was swerving erratically all over the road. That totally comports with the actions of someone on a bad trip.
    .
    Furthermore, something needs to be done about 18th Street traffic pattern. In particular, MPD uses the middle section of the road as a staging ground for DUI checks and traffic control. But as last night’s incident shows, they are sitting ducks. Furthermore, large trucks also park in that area and block visibility of cars from crossing pedestrians. The city needs to permanently blockade the middle section of the road, perhaps with bollards and raising the middle portion of the road (building a raised curb island). As a resident of 18th, we witness SO MANY aggressive and poorly socialized drivers. Want to drop off passengers, make a delivery, or pick-up food? Use the damn alleys or double park around the corner. Need to turn around? Drive around the block instead of making a dangerous, sudden mid-block U-turn and nearly killing a few cyclists.
    #rantover

    • Jamgon

      Psychedelic drugs is a nice theory, and it might be the case, but you really don’t need to be on drugs to endanger people like this. It happens all the time, every day, in this city. Most of the time the collision is just barely avoided and most of the time it isn’t a pair of bike cops who get hit, so you don’t hear about it. Drivers get mad about how frustrating the experience of driving is, and start acting out in ways that could very easily hurt/kill others.

    • maxwell smart

      As a cyclist, I agree. I usually now go out of my way to avoid biking through Adams Morgan due to how unsafe 18th street is.

    • LosLobos

      +1
      Last Wednesday there was a UPS parked in the middle doing a delivery and a dilapidated truck double park blocking a bus. The bus driver was honking and waiting with a very bored/jaded look. The cars immediately behind were also waiting, but as you got down the block there drivers were honking and getting more anxious. One driver, who kept his hand on the horn, started to maneuver to drive on the opposite lane, but before s/he actually got going, the UPS driver showed up and reversed his truck giving the bus sufficient space to maneuver around the double parked truck.
      Seriously, it’s 18th St. on a nice summer evening. Don’t expect to go drive faster than a walking pace and expect all sorts of unexpected stops, drunk pedestrians, and all sorts of crazy.
      May be the street needs to be closed off during summer nights?

      • anon

        yesssss close the street / bus traffic only. it’s such chaos.

      • DC Denizen

        Yes +1000
        I just see way too many impatient drivers and near misses. Sitting on the patio at Grand Central on any nice evening you can see the sh*t-show and sometimes its cringe inducing. Just close it to vehicular traffic on busy weekend evenings. I realize the bus goes through there but maybe they should just reroute them after a certain time and reopen the route again the next day.

  • Tall E

    This is terrifying, heard sirens around then. Wishing speedy and full recovery to the victims.
    Not sure if related but Calvert was partially blocked this morning with what appeared to be ashes in front of the medical offices-the aftermath or a car-b-q?

    • Jonathan

      that is where the white pickup truck that ran over the officers finally lost control and crashed into a garbage truck. the crash caused garbage and liquid from the back of garbage truck to go all over the street, so they put down a saw dust like substance to soak it up. (I can see how they kind of look like ashes). I was there on the scene when everything went down.

  • Truxton Thomas

    This makes me nauseated.

  • JR

    Bicyclists in this city deal with threats from people like this on a daily basis.

    • anon

      as a bicyclist, i’m all too aware of this. but this isn’t really the time to turn it into bicyclist thread.

  • AMDCer

    I heard the aftermath of this from home (sirens, whistle from traffic direction) and figured something bad had happened. So sorry to hear about this on the radio this morning. Hoping the officers make a full recovery.

  • asg

    Hoping for a quick recovery for all those injured.
    .
    That being said, I hope this serves as a bit of a wake-up call for the city administration that aggressive driving needs to be taken far more seriously. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen drivers fly through stop signs or red lights (with little regard for oncoming traffic, bicyclists, or pedestrians), go double the speed limit on small residential streets, and how many times I’ve nearly been hit by a driver being incredibly aggressive in making a right/left turn and ignoring pedestrians in the crosswalk (or witnessed this happening to others). It simply seems far worse here than in other cities I’ve lived in and visited. Obviously MPD is stretched pretty thin already but it would be nice to see more traffic enforcement and stiffer fines for speeding/aggressive drivers.

  • hdo

    I also wish for a speedy recovery.

    Can we stop Uber drivers from dropping people off where it’s unsafe/in the way of traffic? The Uber driver isn’t at fault, but could this have been avoided if the Uber driver pulled over in a spot that didn’t block traffic?!

    • OP Anon

      The issue with 18th is that there is no area for them to pull over that doesn’t block traffic. So everyone double parks at all hours of the day.
      .
      If I had my druthers, I’d ban all parking on 18th in Adams Morgan on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Make the curb cuts loading/unloading only, no parking/waiting. I’d also use bollards to block off the middle section so cars don’t use it as a dangerous passing lane, park in the middle (thus reducing visibility of pedestrians), and build a raised island so MPD can be more visible as they enforce traffic laws and check for drunks. I’ll go to the next ANC meeting to make my views known.

    • Bobert

      Would it be any different were it a cab and not an uber? I don’t think it would.

      • anon2

        +1

      • Anonymous

        Would it be any different were it neither a cab nor an Uber? If it was the designated driver for the group dropping them off before going to look for a parking space? I don’t think it would.
        Moreover, there is nothing wrong with pulling over and blocking traffic temporarily to drop someone off or pick someone up. That happens all the time and is to be expected when one drives in a city. The issue is impatient, aggressive drivers who don’t know how to deal with these situations.

        • RampRaupRoe

          Disagree — as a frequent driver on 18th, you will often see six vehicles stopped across 18th street at any given time: two parked on either side in metered spaces, two Ubers/taxis parked next to those with flashers on waiting on/picking up passengers, and a food delivery driver/UPS/FEDEX/Semi or MPD in the center lane. All lanes are blocked and traffic goes nowhere.

          Solution? Get rid of the parking spaces and let Uber/cabs pick up there. If DDOT studies in Georgetown found that banning parking and putting up barriers improved traffic flow on M street 24/7, surely the same could be said of 18th street between Columbia and California.

    • Anon

      This situation was aggravated by the car drop-off. The passengers were taking an excessively long time to get out of the car, and the bus driver did not start honking until waiting for a reasonable amount of time. The bus driver first honked gently, then eventually leaned on the horn. And then the car driver replied with a long honk of his own. The bus and car were leaning on their horns simultaneously. The cars behind the bus surely head that and it contributed to everybody’s aggravation. (*note: I did not personally see that it was an Uber driver – just passengers getting out of a car)

  • Monday

    So scary. I hope the victims recover quickly. This street is so unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. After being doored twice by taxis at this exact spot (once violently enough to be sent to urgent care and treated for a concussion and severe whiplash after being tossed from my bike), I avoid the area. What can we do to change the traffic pattern here? Taxis, Ubers, etc. should not be allowed to stop in the middle of the street and hold up traffic. They need a space to be able to pull to the side. Ok, I realize the truck is at fault here but the constant stopping and starting of taxis dropping off customers adds to the havoc of 18th St.

    • d

      Yeah, taxis, Ubers, and out-of-towners looking for parking are the prime culprits affecting traffic flow on 18th (but the truck is still 100% at fault). Delivery trucks are supposed to park in the middle lane during off-peak hours and usually do. MPD and DDOT had recently stepped up their efforts to improve the flow during the evening (why they were in the median last night) with some success.
      .
      My heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery to the officers and DDOT employee. I’ll be sure to thank their brethren for what they do next time I’m walking down 18th.

    • Joe

      Seriously? As an Uber driver, I can assure you that if I were to actually take the time to find a safe spot to pull over, I would get a negative star rating along with a really snarky comment from the passenger. Everyone expects to be picked up and dropped off exactly where they want, with no regard whatsoever to traffic. Walk out of your way for safety’s sake? Forget it.
      And the only ones to blame in crazy driving on 18th are the drivers. This is a CITY folks: there is always a lot of activity, so you need to stay off your damned cell phone when walking or driving, pay attention to your surroundings, and slow down to a crawl when you drive in crowded areas.

      • AJSE

        What makes you so special that you get to ignore laws to make sure your rating stays up? You’re not special. Follow the rules of the road like the rest of us.

      • Monday

        I assure you that I was following the law as I was in the bike line going up 18th St. both times that I was doored. It is illegal to open your door to traffic, and that includes onto bike lanes. Please take the opportunity to inform your customers if you’re forced to stop in the middle of the road as you say.

        • Greg

          I have started giving Uber drivers low ratings if they do something inconsiderate like stop in the middle of the street or bike lane, even if it’s for MY convenience. If enough people did the same, maybe this mindset would change…

  • Anon

    I’m assuming this is an instance where the MPD actually won’t cite the victims for the traffic violation of being hit by a car on their bicycles? People swerve like maniacs without regard to life every.single.day. I hope those officers recover fully, and I hope this brings attention to this serious problem before people continue to get hurt and die.

  • John B.

    I love NPR, but their local news sucks. I was flabbergasted that there was no mention of this in their minute of local news coverage this morning.

    • Truxton Thomas

      Your beef is with WAMU, though they have covered the crash: http://wamu.org/story/17/06/09/suspect-charged-intent-kill-adams-morgan-crash/

    • Joshua

      WAMU’s local coverage used to be pretty great actually, but the morons in charge have made so many cuts to local air staff and reporters that it’s really starting to show.

    • TriangleGirl

      They did do a story on it this morning, with an update on the victims’ condition and an explanation of the charges against the driver and his passenger.

    • AMDCer

      I heard about it on WAMU this morning.

    • Ben

      I heard it on NPR this am – around 6ish

  • OP Anon

    If anyone is interested, the Planning, Zoning, and Traffic subcommittee meeting for Adams Morgan ANC1C is Wednesday, June 21. I will email them to see if we can get this incident on their schedule.
    http://anc1c.org/index.php/committees/planning-zoning-transportation

    • L

      I’d be interested. Thanks for mentioning this.

      • OP Anon

        The ANC has put this on their schedule for next week’s public safety meeting with MPD, where they will get more details from the police. On June 21 they will begin to address potential solutions at the PZT meeting. I plan on attending both and the ANC members are highly supportive of addressing the issue and trying to come up with a longer term plan to deal with Adams Morgan traffic and pedestrian safety.

  • John B.

    And here’s the incredibly irresponsible reporting from Fox News: “Terror motive not ruled out in DC hit-and-run that injured officers, police say” http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/06/09/terror-motive-not-ruled-out-in-dc-hit-and-run-that-injured-officers-police-say.html

  • Brooklyn Brawler

    Sending prayers up to these officers and the other victim of this terrible incident.

  • JennyinDC

    Now maybe they can consider closing that strip of 18th Street to cars. Those few blocks should be pedestrian only.

  • Steph

    I have seen this type of action cause at least one accident (car-on-car) as well as DOZENS of close calls just in the last few years — I’m talking about an impatient driver(s) suddenly pulling into the next lane to get around stopped cars without checking for traffic etc. (One very close call I saw was a Smart Car nearly pulling out right into a cement truck!!)

    How do you prevent that behavior (other than having people be patient, careful, and reasonable…)? I imagine that is particularly hard for police to catch happening and then pull people over for it, esp. given how little enforcement we see of basic traffic laws in DC…

    Hope the victims all recover fully.

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