Shocking story: pedestrian convicted of vehicular homicide even though her son was killed by hit-and-run driver

We saw an article posted on Transportation for America, an organization that campaigns for pedestrian safety, about a mother who was charged and found guilty of vehicular homicide after her young son was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

How could this happen? Raquel Nelson, of Atlanta, was crossing the street with her children after stepping off of a bus at a bus stop located directly across from her apartment complex. Nelson and other people who lived at her apartment complex routinely crossed the road there to get home because the nearest crosswalk was a half mile away.

Nelson’s youngest son was struck and killed by a driver who than drove off. Nelson was charged and convicted because she had failed to walk the half mile in the dark to go to the nearest traffic signal. The jury convicted her of vehicular homicide and a judge sentenced her to probation and community service.

A charge of vehicular homicide is generally reserved for a person who is driving recklessly or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs so it was quite a surprise that the Cobb County prosecutor decided to charge a grieving mother with a serious crime when she didn’t even own a car.

Transportation for America has started a campaign to get Nelson’s conviction overturned. We’ll quote them here:

What about the highway designers, traffic engineers, transit planners and land use regulators who allowed a bus stop to be placed so far from a signal and made no other provision for a safe crossing; who allowed – even encouraged, with wide, straight lanes – prevailing speeds of 50-plus on a road flanked by houses and apartments; who carved a fifth lane out of a wider median that could have provided more of a safe refuge for pedestrians; who designed the entire landscape to be hostile to people trying to get to work and groceries despite having no access to a car?

This article certainly makes one think about the plight of the approximately 4,000+ people killed in pedestrian accidents every year. Of those killed in pedestrian accidents, the old and the young are the most common victims because these are the citizens who walk. The elderly, age 70 and over, are the most at risk for being killed in a pedestrian accident with the rate of pedestrian accident death approximately 62% higher for people 70 and older than for people under the age of 70.

For more information about Transportation America’s campaign on Nelson’s behalf, click here, “Demand full pardon for Raquel Nelson“.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in pedestrian accidents and the family of those killed.

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Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.