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Kid biking to middle school struck in Kent hit-and-run

A kid biking to middle school in Kent was struck by a car and dragged several feet Thursday morning. She was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

The driver left the scene, but police tracked her to her workplace. She told police she did not know she hit the girl, and that’s why she kept driving, King 5 reports.

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The 12-year-old Mill Creek Middle School student was biking on the sidewalk next to a five-lane road when the car struck her and dragged her into the street around 7:45 a.m.

More from King 5:

Witnesses were able to give Kent police a description of the vehicle, along with the vehicle’s license plate number. Investigators tracked down the vehicle and identified a family member of the driver. With family members’ help, they contacted the driver at her workplace.

Police say the driver, a 58-year-old woman, eventually turned herself in hours later and claimed she didn’t realize she struck the girl. It’s unclear if the woman will face charges. She was released Thursday afternoon.

Witneses call the area dangerous and have no doubt the incident will likely happen again.

Kent Police photo of the bike.
The Seattle Times reports that if charges are filed, it will likely be a week before that happens.

Here’s a map of the approximate collision location:

View Larger Map

On a personal note, my sister was struck by a car and injured fairly badly when she was a similar age. My heart goes out to her and her family.

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16 responses to “Kid biking to middle school struck in Kent hit-and-run”

  1. melinda

    I question how you could not notice that you did something like that.

  2. Jason L

    As long as the law allows mild or nonexistent punishment for negligent drivers who “didn’t see” their victims, drivers will continue to “not see” them.

      1. So now we get to find out what the vunerable user law is worth. If the driver dodges the hit-and-run charge on the grounds that she didn’t know she hit the victim, will she be found to have committed an infraction that triggers the VUL? Failure to yield, perhaps?

        If she dodges that, the law needs to be extended.

      2. Tom Fucoloro

        I believe the law states you have to stop before crossing a sidewalk and exiting a driveway. The King 5 story says she didn’t according to the fire dept (I assume that’s based on witness accounts). So that’s at least an infraction that, from my understanding, should trigger the VU law (if she is ticketed). Hit and run is a felony if there is intent (unknown at this time). Investigation is ongoing and we should know more in coming weeks.

  3. Chuck

    How does this count as turning yourself in? The cops had to track her down since “she didn’t realize she struck the girl”. What a sad story, I hope the girl recovers fully and something good comes out of this.

  4. Bryan Willman

    Something is weird. The cyclist was riding *on the sidewalk* and was struck by a car??? The driver drives on sidewalks all the time? The “sidewalk” is actually in the traffic lane? !?!?!

    The aerial photo suggests that one should be able to ride along that sidewalk and not have any body or bike parts in the road at all, and certainly not far enough into the road to be struck by a car traveling normally in the highway lane. Perhaps the student bobbled into traffic, or some such.

    Or maybe the driver who “didn’t know she’d hit the student” wasn’t aware she was also driving on the sidewalk?!?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      The person driving was pulling out of a driveway.

  5. Biliruben

    Sidewalks kill. We need an education campaign.

    I got hit a few weeks ago, stopped at a stop sign. I started nosing out to see cross car traffic, and a middle schooler jumps the curb on a blind corner and hits my front tire so hard in was parallel to my handlebars. He was giggling with adrenaline. I’m really glad he hit me rather than an F-150.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      It’s a five-lane suburban highway, and she is 12 years old.

  6. Biliruben

    Yeah, I understand. I’m not recommending she get on the road, I’m recommending we provide better options.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Ok, I thought you were trying to suggest it was her fault for biking on the sidewalk instead of the street. I see I just misread what you wrote. Sorry about that.

      1. biliruben

        Yeah, I wasn’t very clear in either my thinking or my presentation. No worries. My fault more than yours.

        I was thinking about the road where I was on primarily. Also a busy road which used to be 4 lanes. Now it’s 2 with bike lanes. I would guess the perception of safety, both by the middle schooler leaping off the sidewalk at 10 mph into the intersection, as well as the parents, is that it’s safer for that kid to ride his bike on the sidewalk to school.

        At that speed, I am guessing that perception doesn’t match the reality of safety, compared to him him riding in the bike lane.

        We need strong infrastructure evaluation to verify that guess, and we also need an education campaign to disseminate what we find.

  7. Sidewalks don’t kill. People driving vehicles without looking where they are going, or without yielding the right of way to others, kill.

  8. merlin

    Tom, any update on this kid? Or the driver? Is the kid OK? Will the driver face charges? I’ve had them on my mind.

  9. Kendall Bull

    As a current resident of South King County, I see the pent up demand for a community bike shop, or bike programs of some kind. One prime reason being that more and more people who have been pushed out from the Central District towards the Kent and Auburn area, are using non-automobile means of transportation.

    Accidents of this sort would diminish tremendously with some kind of working class bicycle presence.

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