Sometimes the news is so bad, I don’t even want to write about it.
Or anything else, for that matter.
That’s the case today, after six innocent people were killed, and eight injured, by a speeding driver who ran a red light in LA’s Windsor Hills neighborhood yesterday afternoon.
The driver, reported to be a traveling nurse in her 40s, was traveling at an excessive rate of speed when she blew through the stop light at La Brea and Slauson directly into heavy cross traffic.
One of the cars immediately exploded into a fireball, as witnesses described bodies and debris raining into a gas station on the opposite corner.
At least six vehicles were involved in the crash, with one victim found inside a burned-out car hours later.
The victims included a pregnant woman; both she and her baby were killed, along with another infant.
The injured included several other children, ranging in age from 13 months to 15-years old.
Video of accident at Slauson/La Brea pic.twitter.com/eiRiejQTi5
— Downtown LA Scanner (@DowntownLAScan) August 4, 2022
The driver was hospitalized with serious injuries, and being held in custody as she receives treatment. At least one report indicated she wasn’t tested for drugs or alcohol, because they wouldn’t have shown up after the emergency medications she received at the scene and in the ER.
As others have noted, the design of the wide, multilane intersection and straight roadways engineered for high-speed traffic have to be seen as major contributory factors, along with cars capable of exceeding the speed limit to such a degree.
The technology exists to reign in speeding drivers; we just refuse to use it. And fail to demand it.
On a personal note, I have only watched the video above a single time. But that’s all it took to burn it into my consciousness; I’ve been unable to stop seeing that image as it plays over and over in my head.
And with it comes a renewed sense of failure and despair. I’ve been working for safer streets for a decade and a half now, while others have struggled for much longer. We’ve all seen decades of promises from city officials to do something.
But it’s always too little, too late. If they do anything at all.
LA’s Vision Zero program will be seven years old later this month, just three years from that magic date when we were promised traffic deaths would be eliminated, once and for all. Instead, they have steadily increased, with bike riders and pedestrians paying a disproportionate cost.
La Brea was one of the the first streets identified as part of the city’s High Injury Network, and should have seen significant efforts to tame traffic violence.
Yet it has been allowed to languish as an over-designed, high-speed car sewer. And now six people have paid the price for that inaction in a single fiery incident.
Six innocent people.
We’re bound to hear more about it in the days to come, as city officials mourn the victims and make more promises that they will inevitably fail to fulfill.
I’m disgusted and angry with it all.
I hope you are, too.
We’ll be back on Monday with our usual Morning Links. But right now, I don’t even want to think about it.