A person driving a white Subaru wagon (Legacy or Outback) took a wide, fast turn into a Kirkland parking lot and stuck John Sullivan who was riding his bike the morning of January 22. But that was just the beginning.
After dragging the man, the person driving stopped and backed up over Sullivan, then went forward and ran over him a third time —this time over his head — while fleeing the scene. The person driving made no attempt to render aid or call for help.
Sullivan was seriously injured with crushed bones and a lot of pain, but incredibly he escaped without more critical injuries like serious head trauma. He is in a lot of pain and has a long recovery ahead of him. Though the person responsible can’t undo his injuries, Sullivan and his wife told KOMO News they want the person who fled to come forward, apologize and take responsibility.
“I can’t think of any other reason why a good human being wouldn’t stop and own up to this,” Sullivan said.
“The most terrifying thing you can imagine,” Sullivan’s wife, Kara, said. “Accidents happen and you stop and you help. I mean at least that way we could forgive the person.”
Kirkland police believe the driver was behind the wheel of a 1995-2000 model of a Subaru Outback wagon with Washington license plate beginning with the letter “A.” Sullivan believes the first 3 letters were “AWL.”
“Come apologize to me. Show your face. Don’t do this to anybody else,” Sullivan said. “It’s a terrible thing to do to somebody. Own up to it. Stop hiding.”
Kirkland Police are “optimistic” that they have good leads and will find the person responsible. If you have any information that can help, call the department’s crime tip line: (425) 587-3515.
But it shouldn’t take police work. The person who did this needs to take responsibility. It’s much easier to forgive someone who finally makes the right call than it is to forgive someone who runs away until they are caught.
This is horrible and I hope the driver is caught. I doubt that anyone that callous will suddenly say sorry.
This is also a reminder to those of us, not just Sullivan, of how important it is to have UIM coverage. UIM stands for Unisured or Underinsured Motorist and it covers YOU if someone hits you and doesn’t have insurance, doesn’t have enough insurance, or leaves the scene and can’t be found.
Washington Bike Law can sometimes help car-free bicyclists in hit and run situations, but you have a much better chance of being compensated if you have UIM coverage.
If I didn’t own a car, I’d still buy non-owner car insurance just to get the UIM and PIP. There are way too many uninsured and underinsured drivers out there, even without worrying about hit-and-run criminals.
Unless you waive it in writing UIM supposed to be on your policy, and generally the same level of coverage as your liability policy.
Also of note for anyone reading, this is uninsured/ UNDERINSURED, and that last one is more important than people might think. Get hit? big bills and drivers insurance taps out at less than the cost of your injury?…this insurance kicks in. And kicks in if you are on a bike or as a pedestrian too.
What a despicable creep! There’s no way, as Bob pointed out, he’ll apologize. It will mean jail for him too. Maybe he had a suspended license or no insurance, either that or was drunk, because if he’d just stopped, he wouldn’t have gotten in any trouble. As has been said, the easiest way to murder someone is to run her over while she’s riding and tell the cops: “She came out of nowhere, didn’t see her. My bad! Can I go now.”
Kirkland has poor record of meting out appropriate punishment to drivers. Jail time? I’m not holding my breath.
Best wishes to John.
Agreed – When, not if, the person who did this is found I wouldn’t expect charges more serious than “failure to yield” to be filed, if anything. Despite the fact that the shocking level of violence displayed here – Hit, run over, back up, run over again, drive, run over again – is clearly nothing other than a targeted attempt at murder, no different than if a gun were used and the trigger pulled three times. The fact that John Sullivan is alive is the accident. A happy accident, but not the outcome the perpetrator intended.
” has poor record of meting out appropriate punishment to drivers. Jail time? I’m not holding my breath.”
Fixed that for you.
This kind of driving is becoming more and more prevalent, especially here in Seattle, as more and more out of state people, with no city driving experience, move in. There’s little to no enforcement (I’ve had a similar situation to this article where I was able to get out of the way; a Seattle cop waiting nearby just shrugged their shoulders), so this isn’t going to go away for a looooooooong time.
The most you can hope for in these situations is witnesses. Even then, the best you can hope for is to take them to civil court.
It should be far more than failure to yield. That would cover the first time, but not the second or third. And fleeing the scene is it’s own set of problems, i.e., it’s a Class C felony under RCW 46.52.020(4)(b). It’s not inconceivable that the failure to stop for each of the three times was its own such felony. That Mr. Sullivan is alive is not only good, but it will likely impel a stronger prosecution, since living men tell tales, so to speak.
This is a horrible event, and I’m hopeful the culprit will be found. Hearing the details reminded me of this article, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/09/why_drivers_in_china_intentionally_kill_the_pedestrians_they_hit_china_s.html
Wow–that article was an eye-opener. Thanks for the link.
Sadly, Washington state is like China: it’s often cheaper to kill someone here than it is to injure them.
Our state does not allow non-economic damages to unmarried people who do not have others economically dependent upon them at the time of their death. My office has lobbied to change this law, but it is still the law.
The Supreme Court case that makes this the law involved an unmarried bike messenger (not our client, however). http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Ruling-that-allowed-parents-of-adults-to-sue-for-1143046.php
Thanks for the link. “He was struck on June 22, 2000 (while riding his bike in a crosswalk on the Seattle waterfront). The driver, Robert Bernard, got a $200 ticket. King County prosecutors said criminal charges weren’t warranted, saying inattention wasn’t enough to make the accident a felony.” You can drive like a drunk, just as long as you aren’t drunk it is fine…
However, Washington is only a little bit like China in that regard. Reading the above article the a bit deeper than the headline we find:
“Incredibly, Zhao was found not guilty of intentional homicide. Accepting Zhao’s claim that he thought he was driving over a trash bag,”
Ok, that also sounds like Washington, but wait, there is more:
“the court of Taizhou in Zhejiang province sentenced him to just three years in prison for “negligence.” ”
“just” three years ?? WTF! who goes to Prison for “negligence”?
Then on the second page of that article, we have one driver who went way over the top: “A man named Yao Jiaxin who in 2010 hit a bicyclist in Xian and returned to make sure she was dead—even stabbing the injured woman with a knife”
Now that knife was a big mistake, even in Washington one could go to prison for that, but what happened to Jiaxin?
“was convicted and executed”
Sounds harsh to western ears, but remember [insert name of favorite deity or cosmic principal] executes several bad drivers* every day, and it doesn’t really make much of an impression on the remaining drivers.
*also good drivers, and people who aren’t even driving, but deity works in mysterious ways.
This was vehicular assault, if not attempted manslaughter, and should be a felony. Full stop.
How can this possibly be anything other than an attempt to “leave no witnesses”??
Assuming this statement is true; “After dragging the man, the person driving stopped and backed up over Sullivan, then went forward and ran over him a third time —this time over his head — while fleeing the scene” there is no way in hell that is an “accident”.
I hope John a full recovery and hope some justice comes from this, although I hold out little hope.
Wow. Thank goodness John was not hurt any more than he was. It seems miraculous given the fact he was driven over several times. For those of us who bike commute regularly, it is just another reminder to be ever vigilant although even that may not prevent stuff like this. It is indeed a jungle out there. We need to work for better bike facilities (as protected/separated bike lanes) and better education of drivers. Truly hope this driver is found and brought to full justice. Looks like there are thankfully some good leads. Law Enforcement: please get this guy.