woman runs over city sanitation worker – blames the glare
Monday, February 06, 2012
By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The driver of an SUV that struck a city sanitation worker this morning in East Liberty told police she didn’t see the man due to sun glare in her eyes.
The man was struck about 8 a.m. while collecting garbage near Black Street and Negley Avenue. Police said he was pinned between the hopper of the truck and the woman’s SUV and was in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian this afternoon.
Accident investigators, who have not filed charges, will return to the scene tomorrow morning to recreate the incident, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said.
She said the wounded city employee is a 56-year-old man from the North Side and the driver is a 36-year-old woman from Stanton Heights but did not provide their names.
Homicide detectives are also investigating.
seems you could replace bicyclist with “worker wearing hi vis clothes” in this article
I’m not taking her side however I have to say that I leave my house going east on a street aligned in the same direction, several blocks away and the glare has been horrible lately. It’s no excuse I know, and I don’t know how you miss a garbage truck but guilty until proven such I guess.
I came here to post about this, because I walked past it this morning on my way to work. There were cops and DPW workers everywhere, and the entire street was blocked off, even parts of the sidewalk.
Sure, there may be a glare, but if she is from stanton heights, she drives this direction EVERY day. Her vehicle was really really smashed into the garbage truck. Glare or not, she was also near a red light at the intersection of Black and Negley, where I have repeatedly nearly been hit when trying to cross the street when I have right of way in a cross walk.
I think she is a bit full of shit. She shouldn’t have been speeding down black to make the light, and in that specific location there are several large trees and tall houses. There may have been a glare, but I also think she is probably negligent in this case.
My best to the sanitation worker and his family. He had a very close call and I hope he recovers. A friend of mine was killed in a similar accident.
oh and that article has been updated:
im really mad about this, so i should probably bow out, but this man was also wearing a FULL REFLECTIVE SUIT.
Will likely be on local TV news tonight… everyone was there.
Oh man, this really sucks. It could easily be someone from the same crew who services my neighborhood and they are always really great and friendly.
Also, maybe because I’m on the early end of the route, THEY COME THROUGH LIKE CLOCKWORK! I notice this in other parts of the city, too. So, if you see a garbage truck in action in the city, you can count on the fact that there are two or three workers nearby and take that as your cue to slow the F down. They are often looking out for one another and even when I carefully pass a garbage truck on my bike, it is not hard to make eye contact with the driver. Also, the winter glare is very seasonal and predictable. Argh!
Condolences to the family – I hope the guy is getting excellent care.
nice shot–i was there before the suv was loaded on a truck and it was pretty terrible. at some point i was like, am i allowed to be walking here?
IANAARE (I am not an accident reconstruction engineer) but…
…judging from the damage to the front of that car, she was going in excess of 25 mph. That’s the sort of metal rearrangement I see in 35 mph wrecks.
I also would like to propose we ask a set of standard questions in cases like this: How could she have accomplished that trip by bus, bicycle and/or on foot? How did it come to be that a car was necessary in the first place? Define necessary.
I suppose when there’s glare that bad it’s also hard to tell how fast you are going (this is snarcasm, for those with poor snarc detectors).
You know what I do when there’s glare so severe that I can’t make out something like a garbage truck? I pull to the side and stop until I can do something about the condition. Just a thought.
If the glare from the sun was an issue then this would be happening every sunrise/sundown.
To clarify how clueless this lady was: it wasn’t that she didn’t see a man in an orange jump suit- she didn’t see the F’n huge garbage truck parked in the middle of the street! My bet is she was doing something more akin to flip-flop boy, and is using the sun as her get out of jail free card. If only the “system” would treat these as seriously as DUIs. What’s the moral difference?
My best wishes to the man that was hurt.
*** ugh, deleted my own comments – this is just too sad for me to comment on any further.
Exactly. How “I couldn’t see but I kept driving anyway and hoped for the best” is an excuse and not an admission of guilt is beyond me.
Hope the guy comes out ok.
The glare might be an explanation, but it is not an excuse.
No skid marks. There are some oily tracks from the garbage truck rolling or being pushed forward about 3 ft in front of the oil spill, but no sign of emergency stop effort by the driver. Also note the lack of post accident cop spray paint to denote where things came to rest. Starting off to be a solid investigation.
I was a little confused as to why they were investigating the next morning instead of that day. So although I ride through that intersection almost daily, it is usually in the dark, and when it is or isn’t dark, I am looking at crappy drivers and not the houses, so I can’t tell exactly where this is. Which of the two streets is this on and which direction was the person going?
Coming down Black Street toward Negley (betwixt Chislett and Negley).
I’m assuming they are investigating in the morning to understand if the sun/glare could really be an issue, though given the cloud cover today, I doubt they will do much of anything.
Quizbot, I see some orange paint on the road–was that pre-existing, or were you expecting more?
I found the long shadow in quizbot’s first image to be an interesting detail.
yeah my first thought was that it was the glare from her cell phone. the thing with these types of crashes that doesn’t seem to be talked about is how did every other driver that went past this point manage to safely pass the huge garbage truck and the highly reflective worker, while this person didn’t?
Looked again this am… there was orange paint down but I missed seeing it last night. Don’t know how that happened as I had a pretty bright light with me.
The long shadow pic was around 9:30 am, 1.5 hours after the accident. While the glare excuse is plausible, I just don’t see how one could miss seeing a garbage truck ahead in the lane.
Google Earth shows where the sun was at 8a:
Anonymous 02/07/2012 at 4:22pm #
Quizbot, remember wheather man told that morning a lot of windshield scrapping should be done? If you do not scrape off everything or your windshield got a little bit foggy then it creates a second layer can trap almost all light and dissipate it if light comes under certain angle. In this case a whole windshield acts as a light fixture.
There was a kid in a car seat of the SUV, too.
Had the garbage truck itself smashed into something, I doubt that the sanitation worker could have claimed “glare” and the person who was hit not able to collect damages from the city.
@mikhail: you would think that it’s the vehicle operator’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is in safe working order – including driving with a clear windshield. I looked through PA vehicle code for a minute but couldn’t come up with anything obvious.
i just drove through that accident scene tonight, the same way the woman was driving when she struck the man/truck. at the site of impact, i was slowed to about 15 mph, since the intersection ahead is a T. i know that the speed limit is 25mph there, but as it approaches said intersection, drivers should really be slowing down to make the turn. if she was going 25 there, she was going too fast in my opinion.
Anonymous 02/08/2012 at 1:53am #
@quizbot Yes, I think it’s a driver responsibility to clean up all windshield-side-windows-rear-window-roof-etc. I always do it.
In regards of PA code — a couple years ago a law has been adopted that drive is responsible if ice-snow from the roof-trunk-hood slides-flies into other car and causes any damage and/or accident.
There is a law, enacted just a couple of years ago, that clearly specifies that a moving vehicle must be clear of all snow/ice, or risk being ticketed. That means no “clear the windshield just enough to see out.” The whole windshield must be clear. Similarly, all snow must be scraped free. That was a pain in the butt 2 years ago when I had to scrape 2 ft of snow off the tonneau cover of my pickup.
Legally, the windshield has to be free of any ice/frost if the car is moving.
Edit: The law took effect January 1, 2007. Here’s a link to a story on the new law:
When this lady told police she didn’t see the man due to sun glare in her eyes it’s an admission of guilt that she was driving too fast for conditions.
not excusing it in any way, but the sun moves, a lot, all the time (ok, the earth moves, but we’re talking relative to the earth). So, sometimes, it’s only glare for a moment for a day or two of the year. It’s not like every 8:13 for months the sun will cause glare here. By the time the skies are sunny enough to tell, there may not be glare at that time in that place.
My personal commutes, by the time the glare was consistent enough to have learned to flip the visor ahead of time, it was no longer applicable.
That being said, barring high speed roads with turns around hills like highways, if you’re going a reasonable speed typically you can tell that glare is coming (shadows, intense bright light ahead, these are all pretty obvious at residential speeds). I totally think this in this case this is an admission of guilt rather than some kind of excuse for innocence.
None of this will undo what’s been done. But is there anything we can do to get the admission of guilt to be seen as just that, and not an excuse?
Anonymous 02/10/2012 at 11:16am #
“An 84-year-old driver who struck and seriously injured a Waste Management worker last month in Mt. Pleasant Township has been given a traffic citation.
Lawrence Zelenak of Southwest was cited for driving at an unsafe speed before District Judge Roger Eckels after a state police investigation into the Jan. 24 accident.
Zelenak’s car struck and seriously injured Matthew Kelly, 27, of Homer City. Police said Kelly had just emptied a garbage can on Hecla Road near Academy Lane when he was hit.
The victim was pinned between Zelenak’s Chevrolet Cavalier and the garbage truck, police reported. Police said although the truck had its lights activated and Kelly was wearing a reflective vest, Zelenak did not see Kelly.
Kelly suffered multiple leg fractures and was taken by medical helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. He is no longer listed as a patient there.”
– Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/westmoreland/s_780905.html#ixzz1lybysxaL
Anonymous 02/10/2012 at 2:16pm #
this is a a bit dated and i apologize if it has been referenced previously but there seems to be a pattern…
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