Temple Student Struck by Hit and Run Motorist

Google Streetview of Diamond and Park Ave.

Google Streetview of Diamond and Park Ave.

On April 29th at 7:20pm, 22-year-old Rachel Hall was riding her bike through the intersection of Diamond and Park Ave at the north end of Temple’s North Philadelphia Campus when she was struck and critically injured by a hit-and-run driver.

According to several news sources, Ms. Hall remains in critical condition and is currently on life support. Police have recovered the vehicle and the 18 year old driver, who only had a learner’s permit. The driver has contacted police and may face minor charges.

This is the third high-profile hit-and-run this month in Philadelphia. On April 13th, two young children — 4-year-old Lateef Wilson in Kingsessing and 2-year-old David Aliea in Kensington — were killed by drivers in separate crashes. The driver in Wilson’s case was supposed to turn herself in although the last found press report on April 17 indicated that the Police were still waiting for her to come forward. No suspect has been found in Aliea’s case.

The conviction rate of hit and run drivers is extremely low, which makes you wonder: why do people would flee at all? An article published this morning reveals the PPD’s reluctance to convict motorists that maim or kill bicyclists and pedestrians.

“This is the time of year when people are going to be out and there are going to be accidents,”a spokesman for the PPD commenting on the recent hit and runs stated in a recent article on the subject. The article also states: “The other two people in the car are not expected to face any charges.” This, despite the fact that witnesses have stated that one of the occupants encouraged the motorist to leave.

Diamond St is very wide (47 ft.) and poorly marked at Park Ave. It’s treated as a minor intersection and lacks the typical crosswalks and 4 way Stop signs, which probably means that the Rachel was struck at a speed greater than 25 mph. However south of Diamond the sidewalk of Park Ave becomes Liacouras Walk, the major north south pedestrian way on the Temple Campus.

Tragic crashes like this one are unnecessary and avoidable. Our next mayor and City Council need to adopt a Vision Zero policy which will make crashes and the resulting injuries a thing of the past.

A Vision Zero policy for zero deaths and serious injuries in traffic assumes human beings are prone to making mistakes when operating heavy machinery. Forcing motor vehicles to slow down via speed cameras and better enforcement could go a long way to making streets safer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rachel and her family and our sympathies go out to the families of Lateef and David. If you have any information on any of these tragedies please contact the Philadelphia Police Accident Investigation unit 215-685-3180 or submit an anonymous tip online

Topics: Crash

3 comments on “Temple Student Struck by Hit and Run Motorist

  1. LinuxGuy

    I see a rush to judgment with no real reason listed as to why this occurred. You admit the road could use a few engineering enhancements. Why is the driver always at fault? Do we know what the cyclist did?

    You allude to using stop signs for speed control. This is NOT permitted, per the federal MUTCD. Stop signs are to control right of way only.

    The low speed limits you seek will CAUSE crashes, as has been shown for decades.

    Speed cameras have been shown to make substantial errors and also ticket the wrong cars. The group is aware of this, yet fails to acknowledge this fact. Do you then condone ticketing the wrong cars or having an incorrect reading on the ticket? Shouldn’t a technology at least work correctly? You need only look at the disaster in Baltimore with their speed cameras to see this. There were so many errors, the program was shut down. This is only for the errors they admitted to.

    While the goals of the group are admirable, it is time to get more educated about traffic engineering and technology. Work with driving groups, instead of being their foe all the time.

  2. Nina

    You did not report it here, but she was not wearing her helmet. I am a cyclists and NEVER get on my bike without my helmet. It can most definitely make the difference between getting a few broken bones or hanging on for dear life. It is SO important to wear a helmet, yet I see tons of cyclists who don’t. A car will always win if you get into an accident, so why take that risk???

  3. John Baxter

    Nowhere is there any discussion of the true cause of any of these accidents. Where was the bike rider in the first case when the collision occurred? Had she even stopped to watch for auto traffic and estimate the speeds of approaching cars? Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time? In the other two accidents, the victims were young children. What were they doing in the street at all, apparently unsupervised? Hit-and-run is a crime and committing it doesn’t exactly enhance the community’s opinion of the driver. But, nobody is considering the probable fact that the police normally don’t prosecute if the driver did nothing wrong in terms of causing the accident and merely left the scene because of fear and a sense of panic. The problem with placing stop signs at such intersections is that cars then must stop even when nobody is trying to cross. How about a walk signal of some kind?

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