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SPD: Woman with walker killed crossing street downtown

A man driving a pickup truck struck and killed a woman with a walker as she crossed Seneca at 5th Ave near the YWCA Thursday afternoon.

UPDATE: The King County Medical Examiner has identified her as Michele Jozefiak, 45.

Our deepest condolences to her friends and family.

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Police are investigating, according to a post on the SPD Blotter.

King 5’s Heather Graf posted this devastating photo from the scene:

The collision happened just three blocks from 5th and Pike, where Leo Almanzor was killed while walking to work in November. His death helped to prompt the city to include walking safety projects downtown as part of its Vision Zero plan. 5th and Seneca is on the list for improvements later this year.

We will update when we learn more. Details so far from SPD:

Traffic Collision detectives are investigating after a woman was struck and killed in a downtown crosswalk yesterday.

Officers first received calls at 4:30 p.m. after a pickup truck struck a woman using a walker to cross Seneca at 5th Avenue. The driver immediately stopped his truck waited for police to arrive. Seattle Fire Department medics rushed the woman to Harborview Medical Center where she later died.

Neither of the two men in the pickup truck were injured in the collision. Drug Recognition Experts evaluated the driver but did not detect any signs of impairment.

Traffic collision detectives are actively investigating the cause of this fatality collision.

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14 responses to “SPD: Woman with walker killed crossing street downtown”

  1. Josh

    Streets straight as a ruler in both directions.

    She was in a well-marked crosswalk.

    Unless the driver had some sort of medical emergency…

    (Hope he doesn’t get away with “driving west with the setting sun in my eyes” — that should be a confession to “too fast for conditions,” not an excuse.)

  2. merlin

    Too sad for words.

  3. Cheif

    “Drug Recognition Experts evaluated the driver but did not detect any signs of impairment.”


    “No charges will be filed for this homicide.”

    1. Eli

      Of course, I have no idea of the conditions and what happened here (not trying to prejudge anything), but this is a really funny commentary on your theme:


  4. Gordon

    That image is like a punch to the gut.

    1. Brandon Blake

      it’s awful. My condolences to all who had her in their lives. Another life, snubbed out.

  5. Ben P

    I feel like the news worthy part of this story is that the driver stayed at the scene.

    Hitting someone indicates a bad driver. Running indicates a bad person.

    The first should lose their license. The second should be treated like the criminals they are.

  6. […] Please be alert: A woman using her walker in Downtown Seattle was hit by a person driving a pickup truck, she died from the injuries. […]

  7. Nullbull

    PROSECUTE NEGLIGENT AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING NOW and this problem will be reduced dramatically. People in their cars are way too entitled, and when they kill people we only prosecute if they were drunk/high.

    There’s a point at which obliviousness is criminal (and “oblivious” is the nicest possible description for the driver here).

    1. jay

      Optimism is great, but the fact is, summary executions have not stopped negligent driving (well, the recidivism rate is low, but the deterrence factor seems to be poor). I’m pretty sure that people in cars kill themselves and other people in cars about as much or more than they kill “vulnerable users”, but it doesn’t stop people from driving like idiots.

      Human nature being what it is, it would probably take hardware to stop the mayhem. For example if private automobiles were required to get, say, 100mpg, and speed was electronically limited (and Teslas required a CDL) people would be driving <20 hp. <1000 lb cars. Trucks and busses could still be a problem, but if commercial drivers licenses were more like pilots licenses (hard to get, easy to lose) the commercial drivers would probably behave themselves pretty well, at least the vast majority anyway. Germanwings was kind of an extreme anomaly that can be more or less ignored. Interestingly, while looking for rare causes of death to compare it with, I found a chart from the Guardian.uk showing that over six times as many people died from "falls on steps and stairs" than as cyclists. So even if you don't choose to wear a helmet while riding, it might be wise to wear one while using stairs.

      1. Law Abider

        Ah yes, the anti-helmet crowd, cherry picking a one off data source to show that Helmets Don’t Make Cycling Safer™.

        Never mind, this is data from another country. Never mind the data is from 6 years ago. Never mind that the country in question is thousands of years old and likely has lots of stairs that are not built to the same safety standards as stairs here. Never mind that the country in question has universal health care, allowing people to stay healthier and independent longer and use these unsafe stairs, setting up for more potential of older folks falling down stairs and dying.

        It’s just like the Melbourne helmet study. Let’s pick one single set of self-contained data, not look at any external factors AT ALL, and use that to further our anti-helmet agenda!

  8. B C

    So quick to judgment even when you weren’t there to witness the event. There have been several times when I came really close to accidentally running somebody over simply because I didn’t see them. Lucky for me I caught it just in time. Im a safe driver with no accidents on my record, giving right away to almost everybody.
    This driver was not only not impaired, but he stuck around. Gotta give him credit for that. That doesn’t mean he was negligent. It sounds to me that it was purely an accident, a tragic one but, should he lose his license over it? This could happen to anyone at any moment, being the driver or the pedestrian. It’s sad that this happened no doubt and my condolences to the family.

    1. Cheif

      “I didn’t see them” means “I was going too fast and not paying adequate attention”. Yes a person should lose their license for crashing their car into someone. It can’t “happen to anyone”, it happens to only those who choose to operate a car in a manner that is unsafe, whether it be due to road conditions or the mental ability of the operator. There are no accidents.

  9. Gary Yngve

    What happened with this? Did the driver get charged?

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