Two people crash their cars in Bellevue, kill toddler in stroller on sidewalk

A person driving a Dodge Durango SUV t-boned someone driving a Nissan Sentra this morning in Bellevue. The collision sent the Sentra onto the sidewalk where it struck three people, including a mother pushing her 28-month baby girl in a stroller.

The toddler was killed.

Our deepest condolences go to the mother — who also suffered minor injuries — and the child’s whole family and community of loved ones.

Looking south on 140th Ave NE at Bel-Red Rd, from Google Street View.

Looking south on 140th Ave NE at Bel-Red Rd, from Google Street View.

Bellevue Police said the person the Durango was headed south on 140th Ave NE around 10:15 a.m. when the person driving the Sentra was making a left turn onto westbound Bel-Red Road, according to KOMO.

The collision sent the Sentra onto the sidewalk on the southwest corner where the mother, her child and a third person were. The third person also had minor injuries, as did the two people driving.

Police do not suspect drug or alcohol use were factors. Exactly how and why the collision happened is still under investigation.

140th Ave NE has five-to-six lanes and Bel-Red Rd has five lanes, so the intersection is rather large. Damage to the Sentra shows how much force the impact had.

2015 has been a deadly year for children on Eastside city streets. In June, two-year-old Susie Dreher was killed in Redmond Town Center and four-year-old Haochen Xu was killed in a crosswalk in Issaquah.

UPDATE: Also Tuesday, KIRO TV’s Nick McGurk reports that a young child in a car was sent to the hospital when a collision flipped the car in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood.

According to a USDOT report of child traffic deaths and injuries (2014 report using 2012 data), 1,168 children 14 and under were killed in 2012. 169,000 were injured. 255 of those children killed were pedestrians.

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24 Responses to Two people crash their cars in Bellevue, kill toddler in stroller on sidewalk

  1. Gary Yngve says:

    If only these “routine accidents” got the attention of people the way the Aurora drama did, we might actually do something about car drivers’ need for speed, distracted driving, impatience, and selfishness. But instead they keep getting away with murder. Politicians are too scared to let their police enforce more strictly or use auto-ticketing technology. Ped/bike/mass transit are woefully underfunded. Car technology encourages riskier behavior. It is too easy to learn to drive a deadly weapon and maintain that certification.

  2. AW says:

    I used to live very close to there and bike through that intersection daily. I am so sorry to the family for their loss. For the car to be pushed onto the sidewalk that way the Durango must have been speeding. It may be hard to tell from the picture but 140th transitions from 2 lanes to 1 lane very shortly after the intersection and so the Durango was likely in the right lane and was speeding to either run the red light or get around and pass the cars in the left lane before her right lane ended. The lights heading north on 140th have separate left turn green lights from the go straight green light. So it may be that sentra driver was confused and went when that person should not have gone.

    My guess is that the Durango ran the red light, something that is endemic in Bellevue. Perhaps this will wake the police up and start enforcing the red light laws.

    • lynn banks says:

      I was there. The sentra went last minute.thinking he could make it..on a blinking yellow light. He stayed in his car the whole time while the driver in the Durango hot out limping to assit the screaming mother in everyway possible. It was an extremely tragic. Bless that family in their healing process.

  3. Jerome says:

    I think you mean “Car t-bones another…”, “Two-vehicle crash kills toddler…”

    The current wording makes it sound like a demolition derby where two drivers willingly ran into each other, or more simply, that both drivers were in the wrong. It comes off as very anti-car.

    • Gordon Padelford says:

      Actually, Tom’s nomenclature is perfect, but thank you for raising the issue.

      “Car t-bones another” removes the human element entirely and makes it sound like these crazy cars acting on their own volition just crashed into each other.

      If two people walking on a sidewalk collide would you say “two people ran into each other” or “two rain jackets crashed into one another.” Just because people are surrounded by a metal or REI skin doesn’t mean that the language should shift to focus on those inanimate objects.

      This may all seem silly wordsmithing, but object first language removes the people involved of any responsibility. Does that make sense? Happy to elaborate further. Feel free to chime in Merlin.

      What a terrible tragedy. Too much heartache this week.

      • Law Abider says:

        Just like instead of referring “plane crash”, we say “people impacted the ground at high speed”, right?

        Your logic is shaky, the raincoat example would be similar to saying “two metal frames ran into each other”. The nomenclature for describing things running into other things typically refers to the whole object that did most of the running into. A car, a person, a plane, etc.

  4. DrewJ says:

    From the Seattle Times: “Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said it doesn’t appear that alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, which he called a ‘horrible, tragic accident.'” Except it wasn’t an accident. It was a crash. He should known better.

    • Kirk says:

      Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett wants to ensure that when people drive like drunks that they are sober. Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett wants out of control, dangerous and deadly drivers to kill people when they are stone cold sober. Because then it’s just a tragic accident, and the people driving the cars can get off without any penalty.

    • Law Abider says:

      It was both an accident and a crash. I don’t think any of the parties involved had planned on the incident happening. This particular accident involved a crash that led to a further loss of life.

      • Kirk says:

        The driver of the Sentra did not accidentally pull his car into the path of the Durango. The driver of the Sentra wilfully and negligently tried to squeeze through a tight opening in traffic. This impatience and lack of regard for safety resulted in the death of an innocent person. This was not an accident but a careless lack of regard for safety.

        But hey, it’s Bellevue. This person directly responsible for the death of another will get off with a ticket for failing to yield. Or nothing at all if they say they didn’t see the Durango due to the design of their automobile.

      • RDPence says:

        Whatever their relative degrees of culpability, it’s reasonable to assume that neither driver *intended* to collide with the other. If one driver failed to yield the right-of-way, then he can be cited — but that’s not the end of the matter. He is still liable under civil law; the victims’ can sue for damages, and with the death of a young child, those could be huge.

  5. PSJ says:

    Jerome – I agree that the wording stands out – it seems a little stilted and awkward. I think that because Tom is trying not to be judgmental/slanted in his presentation (I.e., the very perspective upon which you are commenting).

    I think anti-car would look more like: “Two drivers use cars to kill toddler”, for in truth, two drivers allowed their vehicles to collide, and the resulting aftereffect killed an innocent bystander. They are culpable for the consequences of their actions (or inactions).
    It may turn out that one driver is almost entirely culpable, but the fault lies with the operator, not the vehicle. It’s not an “accident”; it’s an entirely preventable outcome. Death by automobile is horrible and tragic, and I hope that never find myself directly involved like these two vehicle operators. I feel terrible for everyone involved. That doesn’t mean that the drivers are not responsible.

  6. D Roth says:

    This was not a terrible, tragic accident. This was two people driving recklessly and irresponsibly and together they killed a toddler. If you want to get away with murder, hit someone with your car.

    • lynn banks says:

      Teir is always more to a story then what we hear or see. And the news is great at twisting things. A two year old lost her life in an awful way. This is the 3rd child in that area to be killed due to a car this year. A lot of people are hurting and assuming or judging is not going to solve the issue. The community needs to come together and support each other. The guy in the sentra claimed full responsibility of the childs death. and in no way was it done on purpose and it takes a lot of integrity for someone to come forth.

      • BellevueTheBikable says:

        I have a three year old and live a mile from here, near an even crazier intersection. It feels like I’ve barely been able to keep her alive this long, honestly. It’s very stressful to live here. My heart goes out to the family very much. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t consider the little girls and boys being killed on the Eastside, and how any day the same thing could happen to my beloved child.

        What sacrifices must we make for people to travel fast? Your son, my daughter, her nephew? Or, can we not just litter the Eastside arterials with speed bumps and road diets until there are actually zero deaths?

        I agree that the community needs to come together. However, after we are done coming together for grieving, we need to gather our pitchforks and head to city hall, figuratively speaking of course.

      • Candice Bradley says:

        Thanks Lynn for saying this. I too was there.

  7. Alexander says:

    I witnessed a similar type of crash downtown years ago. T-bone crash sent 1 car onto the sidewalk and bits of car debris flying. Luckily I was still waiting to cross to that corner.

    Any thought to installing reinforced protection to keep cars off of street corners? Jersey barriers would be one option, but concrete bollards or “flower pots” (like in front of government buildings) would also work. Anything to keep the car where it belongs, on the road.

    • Jeremy says:

      Bollards everywhere would be expensive, as there are quite a few lane-miles of sweeping high-speed stroad that would need those protections, given that even being in a building is no protection. Re-engineering the roads to ensure lower speeds by design would reduce the most damaging aspect of the relevant F=mv^2 equation, and increase safety for everyone. Thus, the negligent engineering of these stroads should be brought up with appropriate powers that be, as if you build an environment that hints “no, it’s okay, go fast!” they will.

      • Bob Hall says:

        Great to see that more folks are reading and absorbing the message from Strong Towns.

        They had a particularly good blog post + podcast about these exact types of collisions.

        http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/6/8/just-an-accident
        http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/6/12/podcast-show-240-gross-negligence

        Chuck Marohn, who is the main person behind the Strong Towns website, argues that drivers who make errors in judgment should be held to account, but that often times their behavior does not constitute gross negligence. He argues that traffic engineers knowingly design unsafe streets (defined as any street where vehicles travel > 20mph in close proximity to people walking), and doing so *does* constitute gross negligence. Any time you have fast moving cars near peole walking, you will eventually have tragedies like this regardless of how attentive and undistracted the drivers are.

  8. Candice Bradley says:

    I was also there, although I arrived moments after the accident and was queued up in my vehicle going west on Bel-Red Road. I witnessed a circle of people clearly trying to save somebody on the ground, and saw the first ambulances arrive, the paramedics pouring out and rushing to the scene. A few minutes later a traffic officer opened up the road so some of the cars stopped there could pass (they had already closed the surrounding roads) and I can tell you that the sense of tragedy on the ground, especially from the emergency personnel, was palpable. I had no idea yet what exactly had transpired, nor that I had been present in my car there when this baby girl had died, but I knew something terrible had happened.

    It’s very weird, having been there, (and I think the other witness here, Lynn, has also hinted at what I’m about to say) to read comments on wording of headlines or language use and other trivialities in the context of this story. Some of the comments seem insensitive in light of this terrible tragedy involving a child’s death and the human beings on so many sides of this experience who are in great pain and sorrow. It would not be my choice of focus at this moment, and especially given that members of the community who were involved in some way, people like Lynn and me who witnessed it, the many friends of this family, and the emergency personnel who I really feel for who tried to save her life, are apt to read the story and comments and wonder what somebody could possibly be thinking at a moment like this to comment on *wording*.

    CB

    • Gary says:

      As a parent I too am saddened for the loss of the life of this child. The issues around wording reflect the attitude of those writing the reports. “Accidents” imply that there was no human responsible, vs “Collisions” which imply that there were.

      Unfortunately we are all numb to the number of injuries and deaths surrounding our use of automobiles. From the statistics it’s one of the most risky things we do, drive, walk near, or bicycle near an automobile. We have done many things to improve the safety of the occupants of an auto, air bags, seat belts, etc. It’s now time to do something to improve the safety of everyone outside of that same auto. It appears to me that reducing the speed limits is the easiest way, it gives everyone more time to react. Bellevue recently installed all of those flashing yellow traffic lights, perhaps they don’t belong at this intersection.

      When one person walks into a room a trips on a chair they are a klutz, when two people do it, maybe they are both klutzs, but when everyone does it, maybe it’s time to move the chair, and in this case, reduce the speed limits, and remove right on red, and flashing yellow lights.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Even just witnessing something as horrible as this collision can be really hard. Please remember to take care of yourself, and thanks CB and Lynn for sharing.

  9. Dianne says:

    My heart goes out to the mother of the child. Such a terrible thing :
    I live around the corner from that interesction, it is by far the worst place to drive/walk in bellevue, there is a near collision situation every other week, people drive exceptionally badly. I have personally witnessed several road rage incidents, last one only a day after this tragic incident :(

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