Family, Cops Disagree On Handling Of Pedestrian Collision

by BethesdaNow.com — December 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm 1,895 4 Comments

A family says they are filing a complaint against a Montgomery County Police officer after he botched an investigation into a pedestrian collision involving their son.

MCPD officials say the officer didn’t pursue an investigation because the father would not let him speak with the nine-year-old boy.

The incident occurred at the intersection of River Road and Willard Avenue the morning of Dec. 11. As Marina Bowsher’s son, husband, daughter and the family dog walked across River Road with the crossing signal, a driver attempting to turn left onto southbound River Road hit the son in the leg.

The son was shaken up, according to police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks, but Bowhser said he was not seriously injured.

Still, when the family contacted police later for insurance information for the driver, the police said they were not going to file a report.

“The officer was adamant he was not going to reopen the investigation,” said Bowsher, who also said the family got the same response from a lieutenant. “You don’t just hit a kid in the intersection and not have anything done about it.”

The family put their story on a community listserv and posted signs near the intersection looking for witnesses who could identify the driver. Bethesda MCPD commander Capt. David Falcinelli saw the email and after talking with the family, had his traffic sargeant do an investigation.

Starks said the family got a copy of the collision report yesterday and the driver will be given a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

“It was not going to be a complex investigation,” Starks said. “We’re not blaming the father and the son for being distraught at the time of the incident. But the father left the scene with the boy.”

Starks added the driver did remain at the scene.

Bowsher said a number of witnesses saw her husband holding a sign asking for help last Friday morning at the intersection. She said almost 20 people had to flag down the driver, who didn’t immediately stop after hitting the boy.

Witnesses say the driver claimed she saw the boy and attempted to brake but hit the gas pedal instead.

“If any one has a comment, compliment or a complaint about a Montgomery County police officer, we want to hear about it,” Starks said. “That’s their right.”

  • Bob

    This is so typical. An entitled Bethesda father who leaves the scene with the boy and then when he realizes that he needs insurance information he demands an investigation.

    Hello? Stay at the intersection and call the police! Don’t go home because you think you are important.

  • Mike

    This is so typical. An entitled Bethesda driver who attempts to illegally cut off a child in the middle of a crosswalk, tries to flee the scene afterward, and then when he realizes he can’t just drive away he offers some obvious lie about failing to distinguish between the gas pedal and the brake.

    Hello? The roads don’t belong to drivers! Don’t assault pedestrians just because you think you are important.

  • MrBethesda

    Without going into the specifics of this case, I’ve found pedestrians to have almost no sense of responsibility. When I’m backing out of a parking space, they walk right behind me seemingly oblivious to the fact that I can’t see them but they can see me.. I’ve had pedestrians walk between my car and the car behind me when I back into a parking place. I have pedestrians cross in front of me even though my car is moving. I’ve had pedestrians cross the street against a don’t-walk sign. I’ve had pedestrians who were so intent on listening to the MP3 devices that they walked right into traffic without even looking to see if it were safe.

    Two years ago the county was astounded to find that 23% of pedestrian accidents occur in parking lots, which is why you see more posters now telling pedestrians to watch out for moving cars.

    Personally, I value my life too much to walk into unsafe situations just to save 10 seconds.

  • http://www.pedestrians.org John Z Wetmore

    @MrBethesda – So all pedestrians are presumed guilty because you have had a bad experience with a few?

    A couple of years ago we did a road safety audit of Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The most common pedestrian crash was a turning car hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk with a walk signal.

    It’s thoughtless drivers in a rush to save a few seconds that are endangering law-abiding pedestrians.


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