Buena Park P.D. – It’s OK to Hit Pedestrians if They Aren’t in Crosswalk

Every now and again I come across a news story that I pray was just poorly written.  In this case, I’m hoping this written report at KTLA, the news video can be found above, is missing a qualifier.  If not, the Buena Park P.D. is basically saying it’s ok to run down pedestrians if they’re not in the sidewalk.

They say since the woman not crossing the street in a crosswalk, the
driver that struck her would not have been at fault. But, the crime was
committed when the driver fled the scene.

While I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, there is no doubt that she absolutely should have used a crosswalk.  As any pedestrian knows, the way to keep yourself as safe as possible is to walk defensively and only cross in marked intersections.

That being said, without knowing the full story behind the crash, it’s not smart policy to dismiss the driver of any blame for causing the crash.  After all, California State Law is clear that any pedestrian in the road has the right of way.  If the driver was distracted by cell phone, coffee, morning radio hosts or any of the thousands of distractions that exist, he or she could very well be responsible for the crash as well.

"Fortunately," because the driver fled the scene, the Buena Park P.D. will pin the crime of "Hit and Run" on the driver who first struck the pedestrian.  If anyone has information, you know what to do.

  • Whe the LADOT had proposed removing the unsignaled crosswalks in Lincoln Heights a few months back, their representative said that unsignaled crosswalks are even more dangerous than no crosswalk at all!

    Crosswalks that are just paint cause people to be less defensive, and give the young and the infirm a false hope that they can cross at an intersection safely. This leads to more “incidents” at intersections with paint-only crosswalks.

    That is what the LADOT rep said.

  • “After all, California State Law is clear that any pedestrian in the road has
    the right of way.”

    That’s simply not true, although it is a common misconception. While motorists should not deliberately hit jaywalkers, jaywalkers (people crossing the street between signalized intersections) do not have the right-of-way.

  • Fair enough. I overstated. I was referring to this part of the section:

    21954. (a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard. (b) The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.

    to argue that we shouldn’t assume the driver didn’t act unsafely either. The police admitted we didn’t have a completely clear picture of what happened, yet the KTLA report states that the police were only considering charges based on leaving the scene of the crash.

  • It is pretty standard for the PD to talk to the motorist, write a report that says the pedestrian jumped in front of their car, and let ’em go without so much as a sobriety test.

    Our liability laws are skewed to get people off the hook for killing someone with a car. Just say, “They darted in front of my car.” and you’ve got a license to kill (it seems).

  • Shawn

    I think what they meant is that we all have a reasonable expectation that those around us are obeying the law. If a pedestrian is violating a law and does something unsafe then the driver will probably get the benefit of the doubt.

    Orange County can be a tough place for pedestrians. Wide streets with very fast moving cars and intersections with crosswalks are often a mile apart. Look at how far the nearest intersection is when they zoom out in the video. She probably would have had to walk a half mile each way and one mile total just to cross the street.

  • I am blind and I have to cross the street to go to and come home from work. If this truly is a comment made by Buena Park police, the Department or any of its officers should consider how such a comment might impact the diverse group of people who are affected by it. On one hand, there are the drivers who between the use of cell phones, drinking before driving, etc., are much too careless on a day to day basis! On the other hand, there is me! I can tell if an intersection has a light, and if it is green or red, but I can’t tell if it has cross walks! I am just trying to survive! If I cross the street, I have to hope and pray that the right hand turning driver who might otherwise be careless will see me before he or she turns right and runs me over! If I get a ride from someone, or if I decide to use the transport service for people with disabilities, I have to hope and pray that the driver who uses a cell phone is paying enough attention not to get me killed or seriously injured! It is easy for me to see how a comment like the one under discussion can become a rationale for more careless behavior on the part of already careless drivers! What’s more, comments like this also make me concerned that if I am injured due to driver carelessness that that driver may not be so vigorously prosecuted as he would otherwise be!

  • Bob Barnes

    It boggles the mind to think that our society gives people (gives is the lite phrase; many would say force) 2thousand pound machines to wield however they want. I’m no authoritarian, but having wild eyed children race raised F-350’s past me and my bike is enough to want an all out ban on the things, before Christmas presents roll out; anyone else seen how cheap their now giving these things away for? The only way to escape it is to get your own pickup, right? It’s still the Wild Wild West out here. So reads the CAR CULTURE KILLS rundown: air quality, communities, sense of place, and who could have forgot, people.

  • Shawn

    FTR the driver turned himself in on Friday.

  • This is awful. But accidents do happen. People really do start crossing without properly checking to see if car’s are coming, and motorists really do hit people with their cars, by accident, and end up killing them. I honestly don’t see anything wrong with the comment the PD made. If you’re driving down a major thoroughfare and someone runs out in front of you, you might not even have enough time to stop in time to not hit them. The fact is we don’t know the details of what happened, and the pedestrian being at fault for not crossing at a crosswalk or checking to see if car’s were coming is one of several possibilities.

    Yes, the hit-and-run driver is now certainly criminally liable because the fled the scene, but that’s another issue.