The metro Atlanta area is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians. However, other, more sprawling parts of the state are just as susceptible. Police report that a driver was backing a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica through the parking lot at Lenora Park on Lenora Church Road when her vehicle suddenly struck a stroller being pushed by a pedestrian. The infant in the stroller died of her injuries at Children’s Healthcare at Egleston in Atlanta and the police are left with analyzing how this pedestrian accident occurred. As police attempt to determine the answer, they are on the search for witnesses who may be able to confirm that the mother was crossing in a crosswalk when the car accident occurred near Snellville, Georgia.
For personal injury attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia, this incident is eerily similar to another high-profile jaywalking case that garnered national media attention this summer. Raquel Nelson is an Atlanta mother who was charged and convicted with vehicular homicide when her son was killed while crossing a street with her – out of the crosswalk. The case galvanized the country, and finally resulted in Nelson being awarded the option for a new trial. The trial is slated to begin October 25, 2011.
In Nelson’s case, the driver had a previous record, was blind in one eye and had questionable blood alcohol content. In this most recent incident, the incident report indicates that while the driver’s vehicle held six occupants, alcohol was not a contributing factor. The website for WBS radio indicates that one witness told authorities the mother pushed the stroller from between two legally parked vehicles and into the path of the SUV. The story of other witnesses may differ.
Article V of Georgia’s Uniform Rules of the Road addresses the right and duties of pedestrians. O.C.G.A. 40-6-93 requires drivers to exercise due care, but O.C.G.A. 40-6-92 (a) makes the issue of whether the mother was crossing in a crosswalk a valid one. 40-6-92 states that “every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway.” For purposes of this incident, the parking lot could be considered a roadway, meaning that if the mother was not in a crosswalk, the driver had the right of way.
On the other hand, there also arises the question of whether the driver was operating within the actual roadway, or whether she was crossing over multiple parking spaces as drivers are sometimes wont to do. Under O.C.G.A. 40-6-240 (a), the driven might even be charged with improper backing. That particular code states that a “driver shall not back a vehicle unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.”
Either way, parking lot cases are a tricky thing, even for the most seasoned investigators. It’s no wonder multiple witnesses are being sought in this case.
A candlelight vigil was held for the 1-year-old near the park, where hundreds came out to show their support for the family. A Facebook page has been set up in her memory and more than 400 people have already joined in support.