Friday, August 7, 2015

Driver Kills Woman Crossing Key Bike Boulevard Intersection, 6th Death this Year

This is the worst.

At one of the key crossings for the proposed Maple/Winter Family-friendly Bikeway, and a current crossing for the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, the intersection of Pine and Maple, a driver struck and killed a person on foot last night. Caroline Storm was killed and her husband William Storm was injured.

On Maple looking north at Pine (bikeway sign in green)
From the paper:
A pedestrian was killed and another injured Thursday night, Aug. 6, when a man driving a luxury car struck them at Pine and Maple streets NE, Salem Police said.

The crash occurred about 9:15 p.m. as the two pedestrians, a male and a female who were walking their dog, crossed Pine Street northbound in an unmarked crosswalk, police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada said in a press release.

The driver was identified as Delbert Gossen, 70. He was westbound on Pine Street in a Lincoln Town Car when the crash occurred. He remained at the scene and cooperated with police, Okada said.

According to the press release, the female pedestrian died while being taken to the hospital. The male pedestrian suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Salem Hospital. Police did not identify them while notified next of kin.

The dog was taken to an animal hospital, but its condition was not known.

No citations were issued or arrests made at the scene. Police are continuing to investigate.
This will be updated...

In the meantime, apart from the awful event, the language here is mostly good to see: "a man driving a luxury car struck [the people on foot]" - mo more of this autonomous "a car hit a pedestrian" business, effacing the agency of the driver, and abstracting the person into "a pedestrian." (I'm not sure the "luxury car" part was absolutely necessary, however.)

Again, more to come. This is the sixth death of a person on foot this year claimed by car violence.



Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The police press release, however, retains the rhetoric of the autonomous car and the passive voice:

"The Salem Police Traffic Control Unit is currently investigating a crash in which a vehicle hit two pedestrians and a dog at the intersection of Pine St NE and Maple St NE.

70-year old Delbert Gossen was driving his Lincoln Town Car westbound on Pine St at the intersection of Maple St NE at approximately 9:15 pm when the incident occurred. A male and female were walking their dog, crossing northbound across Pine St., when they were struck by Gossen's vehicle.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Additionally, a person on foot died in a crash with Amtrak yesterday near the crossing at Sunnyview (by the Fairgrounds), but there remain many uncertain details - there may be more to say later.

Jeff Schumacher said...

The reason I joined my neighborhood association was because the City removed a bunch of play equipment at Bush Park, and the reason given was essentially that it wasn't safe enough. I'm not aware of any kids dying at Bush Park because the play equipment (or even getting severely injured), but the risk management people at the City felt that this needed to happen.

I compare this apparent mindset of the City to the situation with pedestrians getting killed. It has happened several times this year, and it generally plays out in the following way: a person is walking in the crosswalk in the evening and they get hit by a car. The driver isn't cited, and there are general comments made about pedestrians needing to wear bright clothing. But also it is made clear that the pedestrian technically did nothing wrong.

So if nobody did anything wrong, why does this keep happening? If it happens once, maybe it is an accident. But when it happens repeatedly, the obvious answer is that our streets and intersections suffer from design flaws. Whether that is poorly illuminated crosswalks, high speed limits, or other factors, I really don't know but I do know it needs to be addressed in a meaningful way.

At some point, the estate of one of these victims will sue the City for its neglect of this issue. Here's hoping the estate prevails.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with names:

"The deceased pedestrian victim in this case is 62-year-old Caroline Storm of Salem. The other pedestrian victim is her husband, 70-year-old William Storm. William suffered non life-threatening injuries."

As you say, Jeff, the disparity between the mere fear of something on a playground and multiple known street fatalities is especially dispiriting and angering.

MrT said...

My bicycle commute takes me through Maple/Pine twice a day. It is great at 5AM, and miserable at 4PM. Not as bad as Cottage/Fairgrounds (yes, I know the "official" crossing is Norway, but drivers on Winter Street suck...not to mention Winter Street itself sucks), but a close second.

efroteric said...

When i drive at night i swerve when i see a crow in the street. im not sure how he didnt see 2 people and a dog. it may be dimly lit. but isnt that what headlights are for. has there been any mention of how fast he was going?

Katie Hartman said...

We are new to Salem, coming from Boise Idaho where we saw a similarly horrific amount of peds and cyclists killed. But over the course of 2 years, a decline in bicycle-car fatalities is thankfully happening. I believe that awareness is the key. Wherever a cyclist is killed, there is placed a ghost bike (painted white). There loved ones can place sentimental messages.... think cardboard signs with the deceased person's name large enough for drivers to read.
It is sad to come upon a ghost bike but it makes a strong statement. It reminds cyclists to be on guard and drivers to remember that their vehicle can be a lethal weapon!
Is there anyone out there who would like to do this in Salem? I'd like to help, perhaps partner with NW Hub??