A seven-year-old girl is in serious condition in the Harborview ICU after she was struck by two different cars on MLK at S Genesee Street last night.
“They hit her like a dog. Just ran over her, not stopping, no nothing. They sped up, not stopping at all — neither one of them,” one witness told KOMO News.
King 5 reports this morning that she has been upgraded from critical condition to serious condition, but she remains in the ICU. She was unresponsive when Medics arrived and rushed her to the hospital.
We wish her a full and speedy recovery, and we send our best wishes to her family and friends through this difficult and uncertain time.
Police are looking for information to help track down either of the people responsible. The first vehicle is a red or maroon Chevy Tahoe, the driver of which hit her and knocked her down onto the road. The second vehicle is
a gold Acura Legend, whose driver ran her over while she was in the road. UPDATE: SPD now reports that they have ruled out the Acura and are only looking for the Tahoe.
Neither person stopped, and both are wanted for hit-and-run. Anyone with information needs to call 911. Or better yet, the people responsible need to do the right thing and turn themselves in.
Neighbors are outraged, sad, shocked and all the other emotions that should come with knowing that a child in your neighborhood was run down by two separate people who did not care enough to stop. The collision is just about a half mile down MLK from where 15-year-old Trevon Crease-Holden was struck and very seriously injured in 2013 while walking his little brother home from the community center. The person driving in that case also fled the scene.
Hit and run is a criminal insult on top of the tragic and devastating collision that sent this girl to the ICU. A Seattle Times map shows that since 2007 there have been at least six serious collisions involving people walking or biking within a block of Tuesday’s collision. Expand that range to ten blocks and the number grows to at least 32, one of which killed someone.
MLK is not as dangerous as Rainier Ave, but that’s because Rainier is the most dangerous city-owned street in Seattle (Lake City Way and Aurora are state highways). Just weeks ago, neighbors organized a protest after a person lost control of a car and plowed through a hair salon into the restaurant next door at Rainier and Ferdinand, injuring many people.
— Emiliana Chávez (@emiliana) September 5, 2014
Both MLK and Rainier are far more dangerous than they need to be, but the city has historically been slower to roll out safe streets projects in Rainier Valley than in wealthier neighborhoods. People in Rainier Valley even get fewer seconds to cross the street than people in Ballard, a 2013 study of traffic signal timing by the UW School of Public Health and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways found.
MLK does not need to be as wide and fast as it is today. Traffic volumes do not support four lanes plus turn pockets on top of the light rail lines running through the center of the street. It is a road engineering fact that people driving on an over-designed street with too many travel lanes that are too wide will speed and be less likely to avoid collisions and more likely to cause serious injury or death.
Rainier and MLK are designed like rural highways intended to serve people getting through the neighborhood at the expense of the people living there, walking there and biking there. They represent outdated and obsolete road engineering thinking that does not work in a city, and the result is that people are killed and maimed at an alarming rate. This includes people inside cars, the people supposedly helped by the dangerous street design.
It does not need to be this way. People have been consistently asking for a complete streets redesign of Rainier Ave for at least 15 years, and recommendation for such goes as far back as 1976, the Urbanist reports. Can you imagine how many people would still be alive today had the city responded to death on Rainier Ave in the 70s the way it did to death on N 45th Street in Wallingford?
That street carries the same number of vehicles per day as Rainier (south of MLK), yet N 45th saw zero deaths between 2001 and 2009 while four people died on a comparable length of Rainier through Columbia City and Hillman City. In it’s entirety, 19 people died on Rainier Ave within the Seattle city limits in just those 8 years.
But, of course, the demographics of Wallingford and Rainier Valley are very different. So Rainier and MLK keep killing and injuring people to this day, even though we know how to fix the problem. We’ve known how to fix it for a generation.
I repeat: It doesn’t need to be this way. MLK and parts of Rainier are slated for safety improvements in the newly-updated Bike Master Plan, and both are noted as high priorities in the Pedestrian Master Plan. We could all but cure traffic violence in Rainier Valley if we invested in complete streets projects there. So what are we waiting for? How many more children need to be sent to the ICU before we finally say stop?
Here’s KOMO’s report on Tuesday’s tragedy: