A Bad Week for Traffic Violence—and it’s Only Wednesday

Intersection where a pedestrian was struck by a hit-and-run driver this week.

Intersection where a pedestrian was struck by a hit-and-run driver this week.

Seventeen-year-old Adelso Matos-Garcia was murdered by a suspected drunk driver while riding his bike in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia on Sunday night, and things haven’t gotten much better for Philadelphia’s street users since then.

Two men—one in Center City, the other in Northeast Philly—were struck by hit-and-run drivers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, later Wednesday morning, a pedestrian was struck by a police car after a tractor trailer slammed into the cruiser. The pedestrian was on the sidewalk at the time. She was taken to Jefferson University Hospital with stable vital signs, according to 6ABC.

That makes at least four people injured on Philly’s streets since Sunday and, as far as we can tell, no charges against any motor vehicle drivers.

Here’s a quote regarding the Center City hit-and-run:

Police know little about the accident on Market Street between 11th and 12th Streets. It happened before 1 a.m., when a passerby found Michael Toner and alerted authorities.

No one reported witnessing the crash. No parts of the vehicle were found at the scene. And investigators have not had a chance to interview Toner, who was in critical condition Tuesday night at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and will not be able to provide details until he becomes responsive.  The media reported that his leg had to be amputated.

The man injured in the Roosevelt Boulevard hit-and-run is in critical condition, according to the latest reports:

The vehicle was described as a dark-colored sedan, last seen driving north on Roosevelt Boulevard. Captain John Wilczynski (head of the Accident Investigation District) was reported saying there should be damage to the front of the car. Investigators were reviewing video footage from a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.

The witness did not indicate anything unusual, such as excessive speeding by the vehicle that struck Emmet Toohey (25 years old), Wilczynski said.

And as for the person who struck Matos-Garcia, recent reports (from Wednesday’s Daily News) show the driver has still not been charged, even though initial reports said the driver, suspected of being drunk at the time of the crash, had gone through a red light.

Matos-Garcia, 17, of Mentor Street near C, was riding his bike Sunday on Cayuga Street near 6th, in Hunting Park, when he was struck and killed by a 1995 Honda Civic.

Investigators suspect the driver, a 28-year-old man, was driving under the influence. He had not been charged with a crime as of last night, but police were still awaiting results of a toxicology test.

Each of these incidents is a tragedy—and, for the most part, avoidable. We hope to be able to quit having to write so many of these sorts of posts when the next Philadelphia government gets serious about a Vision Zero strategy, which would have helped some of these victims via things like reduced speed limits, longstanding speed and red light cameras, and a road diet along Roosevelt Boulevard, to name a few.

If nothing else, the warning of safety cameras would make irresponsible drivers think twice before leaving the scene of a crash.

The Bicycle Coalition looks forward to working with the next City Council and mayor on safety measures that work for all Philadelphians, in all neighborhoods. Because for streets like 11th and Market, and Roosevelt Boulevard, tragedies along those corridors are just way too predictable.

Topics: Crash

2 comments on “A Bad Week for Traffic Violence—and it’s Only Wednesday

  1. Stan

    Vision Zero would have stopped exactly NONE of the events you described, nor would any type of cameras.

    How many times do we need to review this before it sinks in? The incorrect engineering and cameras you seek CAUSE crashes, they do NOT work correctly, and they ticket SAFE drivers.

    How are you going to stop a drunk person from hitting anyone, unless the car does not start?

    Again, why can’t the bike group work WITH pro-driving groups to achieve some common sense here? The groups’ arguments are really starting to make all of you look quite silly, because it is obvious none of you know what you are talking about. I have been in traffic engineering and electrical engineering for 20-25 years, depending upon what you count. I live this daily.

    When the stuff you push makes the roads more dangerous, what will you do then? Double down on failed ideas?

  2. Steve De Franco

    Unfortunate incidents. In the case of Matos Garcia I’m sure if the toxicology test comes back positive the driver will be charged. I don’t think the answer is lower speeds and red light cameras. These solutions create the opposite effect they are supposed to achieve namely safer roads. I ride a bicycle as well.

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