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State Police say driver slams into pedestrian in Somerville crosswalk, leaves her for dead, then just keeps going

UPDATE: State Police report suspect turned himself in this morning.

State Police report a woman in her early 50s suffered fatal injuries in a hit-and-run crash around 8 p.m. on Mystic Avenue, near McGrath Highway and the Stop & Shop.

State Police say the driver of what might be a Mercedes continued driving south after hitting the woman, who was in a crosswalk. The woman was transported to Mass. General, where she died, police say.

The vehicle most likely has front-end damage, probably on the passenger side.

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The city and state have improved crosswalk markings and added signals here, but it's still a scary and dangerous crossing, leading to a tunnel under I-93 to Assembly Row.

Map of the crossing

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Voting closed 34

Life in prison for this scumbag. Put cameras at every crosswalk. Pay for it by doubling the state gas tax. Time to fight back against homicidal drivers.

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Voting closed 44

The magic words - "I didn't see her" - will likely get this killer off the hook like so many other times

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Voting closed 32

A jury trial is always unpredictable (which drunk and reckless drivers usually use), but in my experience head on crashes result in convictions or a plea almost all of the time.

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Voting closed 13

It depends a lot on jurisdiction and whether charges are even brought. Multiple fatalities in the past couple years where Boston doesn’t even try despite known driver and it obviously being a felony (ie MBTA hitting elderly woman in crosswalk). Medford did for similar hit and run near powerhouse so we’ll just have to see if there’s any accountability here.

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Voting closed 7

...of what happens to these drivers? Because I follow the news fairly closely, and read about so many pedestrians and cyclists getting killed by drivers, and the only one recently that I remember resulting in any actual consequences is the guy who drove at full speed into the pizza place and then claimed at his trial that he was too sick to know what he was doing.

Maybe that's the fault of the local media for not covering followups, or maybe (as I'd assumed) because slaps on the wrist is how our legal system likes dealing with this. I'd love to see all the info in one place if such a thing exists...I've looked a couple of times but not found anything.

(EDIT: There's this incredibly colorful map of pedestrian and bike fatalities, with links to initial news coverage, but nothing about the eventual legal fate of the drivers.)

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Voting closed 39

Because of deals, pleas and probation, statistics hard to break down in something like this. I mean a breath test isn't even admissible in court in Massachusetts, so any OUIL statistic pretty much means nothing. Would be very interesting to look at though.

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Voting closed 12

I need to chime here and mention that the pizza place crash was due to multiple sclerosis - it’s so awful it resulted in deaths but people with MS still drive and sometimes they lose control. Let’s find a cure!

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Voting closed 3

We can work on finding a cure and also acknowledge that too.

But we shouldn't be allowing motorists on the road that "sometimes" lose control, no matter what. Thats just absurd.

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Voting closed 9

It would be interesting to see what does happen. Get some data together to make the case for tougher laws.

Baker is working with the Great and General Court to tighten up on Commercial licenses after the murders in NH. What I don't get is why MA has such lax laws about freeing repeat OUI and strong incentives for drivers leaving the scene.

I don't think it would be all that hard to make a case for jailing repeat offenders, and setting "leaving the scene" penalties (and reckless driving) as high as OUI to discourage plea deals and hit and run. Leave the scene? Lose your license.

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Voting closed 14

What I don't get is why MA has such lax laws about freeing repeat OUI and strong incentives for drivers leaving the scene.

Ted Kennedy or Tim Murray ring a bell?

Politicians protect their own.

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Voting closed 7

If you leave the scene for any reason, the police can send an immediate threat to the RMV and they have the option to revoke a licence pending a hearing (The RMV revokes licences 100% of the time I have seen them filed by police)

Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle carries a 20 year prison sentence and a license revocation of 10 years as well. Just need a guilty verdict and a jury to agree to it, and then a judge to sentence it.

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Voting closed 11

....permanent revocation of license.

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Voting closed 3

if video shows the driver stopped or slowed (which would suggest an acknowledgment of an impact) then hopefully they rot for life.

If no video or evidence of acknowledgement is available then it'll be far less severe.

imo, of course. which that and a nickel will get you a tootsie roll.

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Voting closed 8

Referring to a subset of drivers that kill with reckless driving as homicidal will upset the sensibilities of the car apology brigade.

I think the typical reaction is "motorists don't get in their car expecting to kill someone.". And of course they don't, some just drive in a reckless way that results in the deaths or serious injury of others but they didn't wake up intending to do that, how dare you.

But I'd add to this, strict liability laws, gps tracking and mandatory dash cams that connect with some municipal/state level database to reference in the event of a crash, a hit and run, cross reference with witness testimony and cameras at intersection.

People should like this, the data and cameras will be able to absolve them in instances where it honestly wasn't the fault of the motorist.

Nah, let's just keep doing the bar minimum.

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Voting closed 17

This is a tragedy. There should be changes. But your over the top response makes lawmakers wary of working with bicyclist advocates.

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Voting closed 6

... law maker?
Or do you just play one on the internet.

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Voting closed 5

To cross here, you used to have to play frogger with cars accelerating to get on 93. There were no signals, lights, etc., and even the crosswalk markings faded away. Sometimes drivers would pretend not to see you, sometimes they would sociopathically accelerate AT you to intimidate you.

Then the state put in fancy new signals. When a pedestrian pushes the button, drivers see alternating yellow, then solid red, then flashing red. It's like a railroad crossing for humans. You can't miss it: https://goo.gl/maps/sfPQqLoJYWXK8GWp8

New pavement markings also split the expanse of asphalt into two distinct lanes, focusing drivers.

The driver who did this ignored the signals, knew they hit someone, and fled.

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Voting closed 56

"When a pedestrian pushes the button, drivers see alternating yellow, then solid red, then flashing red"

Does pushing the button on those things (anywhere) actually work? No matter how I try, I can never get a definitive answer.

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Voting closed 7

I have heard the rumor that the buttons are just decoys to make people wait for the preset walk time every cycle and that may be true of places like NYC but it is definitely not here. I live in Somerville and walk a lot, all of the buttons actually work and most intersections will not give you a walk signal until the button has been pressed, there is not a walk time as part of the natural light cycle.

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Voting closed 2

Many standard walk signals in pedestrian-heavy areas (e.g. downtown Boston) are 100% just decoys. The ped signals run every cycle regardless of whether anyone pushes the button.

Elsewhere, they do function, and if no one pushes the button, the signal controller skips the ped phases.

Signals like this one (known as a HAWK), however, operate only on-demand, remaining dark until someone pushes the button.

Source: am traffic engineer.

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Voting closed 10

Yes they work. If you ever find a signal that doesn't work, please call 311 and report it.

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Voting closed 4

I was through this intersection about a week ago and saw them light up for some pedestrians...and also subsequently saw a driver plow through the crosswalk even though the lights were steady red.

When I heard that this happened "near the Stop and Shop" I already knew which crosswalk they were talking about before I had seen the video from the scene.

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Voting closed 4

There's one way a HAWK signal is *not* like a railroad crossing. You're allowed to stop and proceed on flashing reds of the crosswalk is clear.

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Voting closed 8

of not-intending-to-murder-when-they-got-up-that-morning motorists are getting a free pass. people should have to take a test each time they renew their driver's license. make this test cost enough that the commonwealth can use the proceeds to finance and improved safety mechanisms on our shared roadways.

most motorists do not feel like they have to pay attention to the environment they are driving through; sometimes they kill pedestrians and cyclists.

I'm a cyclist, and probably ten times per year some average motorist, looking like a soccer mom or c-suite type, pulls beside me foaming at the mouth screaming that I "wanted a goddamn bike lane and I should be in the fucking bike lane," even though I want to turn left, even the that bike lane happens to be on the right, even though the law says I can use the full lane.

Nobody is making motorists accountable to the rules and expectations of the environment they are driving through. Make the test a reality. Include vignettes about motorists who kill, what their actions were, and what their consequences were.

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Voting closed 18