Pedestrian struck and killed by car on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston; driver just keeps going

Crash scene

Collision scene. Photo by Shannon Weber.

On Commonwealth Avenue inbound near Griggs Street, around 12:50 p.m., Mass Incident Paging reports the victim suffered serious injuries. The driver drove away.

WBZ reports the man died.

Caitlin heard the aftermath:

I heard a car going quickly down Comm inbound and it sounded like it was dragging a muffler or bumper or something, which is why I noticed. Then I got to the intersection and saw what happened.

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Everyone is in a rush

Drivers keep going even though the light turns red and pedestrians don't bother to follow the crosswalk lights.

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Voting is closed. 43

to all of the victim blamers

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As a Boston resident, I rarely drive. However, when I do drive, I neither speed down city streets nor do I: strike pedestrians regardless if they are jaywalking or not jaywalking, texting, taking a selfie, paying close attention to their surroundings, dashing out into the street, pushing a stroller, walking a dog and chewing gum at the same time, etc. If you can't handle that then STOP driving in the city of Boston. End of story.

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Voting is closed. 105

Well I don’t drive either,

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Well I don’t drive either, nor do I own a car or have a Zipcar membership. However, I am always amazed at the arrogance and stupidity of many (not all) pedestrians when I am a passenger in a car. They often jump out into the middle of the road and lack the common courtesy to wait their turn to cross the street. Every time I go to NY, I always find it strange how pedestrians are able to possibly have the zen-like mastery of patience to wait for a light to turn green. **inserts sarcasm*

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Voting is closed. 22

Let me know when …

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… one of these terrible pedestrian scofflaws takes the life of a law-abiding driver.

(I'll wait …)

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The irony is I've been safer,

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The irony is I've been safer, on occasion, avoiding crosswalks. Most drivers tend to be watching the other drivers at a four-way, not the people crossing. A couple months ago I had to jump out of the way of a car that took a left without looking while I was crossing. Had I looked down at my phone (which is certainly my right when I have the right of way and I'm clearly in the crosswalk), I would have at least been clipped by his front bumper.

For all the shit that is talked about pedestrians, NONE of them are demolishing cars when they have a lapse in judgement. But I do, as a pedestrian, have to look three and four times before legally crossing as most drivers seem to either not signal (signaling is really, really fucking important in telegraphing your driving direction to other people in this world), or don't give a fuck about the peons who don't waste good money on an automobile in a 100% walkable city. A couple times a week a car will blow through the crosswalk I'm a quarter of the way through. These are the types that hit and run. A non-zero amount of these types really don't give a shit, that's why they drive away.

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Voting is closed. 89

Same here

The irony is I've been safer, on occasion, avoiding crosswalks. Most drivers tend to be watching the other drivers at a four-way, not the people crossing.

I'll always opt for a mid-block crosswalk if there is one available so I don't have to guard against being hooked or crossed by turning motorists.

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Voting is closed. 49

Mid-street crossing can be safer

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because you only have to look left and right, not left right, forward, back, and possibly more (depending on the complexity of the intersection).

You don't get right of way, but you do get a smaller set of directions to keep an eye on.

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Yeah,

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see my comment below in regards to a pedestrian (yours truly) who had the walk light but the traffic also had the green. It is called concurrent signals and they suck in the city.

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Voting is closed. 62

Concurrent Signals

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Concurrent signals are great. They allow pedestrians to move without waiting a complete light cycle and don't create conflict between vehicles and pedestrians unless the vehicles are turning. In those cases, the vehicles have to yield.

Concurrent signals only "suck" when drivers refuse to recognize that someone else might have right-of-way and blindly carry on.

NYC handles concurrent signals just fine.

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Voting is closed. 46

So does Cambridge

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It's nearby, I hear. They have concurrent signals with a leading pedestrian interval, i.e. the pedestrians get a head start across the roadway so they're more visible to impatient drivers trying to turn.

I would wholeheartedly support an effort my local and state police to crack down on turn signal violators. The little "Lyft" or "Uber" badge in car windows seems to render directionals inoperable. There should be a fine for that!

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Voting is closed. 45

Update the laws for Uber/Lyft drivers?

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They should be held to a higher standard shouldn't they? I think certain moving violations should either affect their license or their ability to drive for either. That includes signaling, double parking, etc. They won't stop if they're not forced to.

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Motorists treat this stretch of road like a highway

And while the speed limit was dropped to 25 MPH in Boston, there has been no change in the area because there is not enough enforcement against reckless driving.

But maybe someone has a few anecdotes about jay-walking they saw recently so we don't go about blaming the poor motorist that left the scene.

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Voting is closed. 112

Look up.

But maybe someone has a few anecdotes about jay-walking they saw recently so we don't go about blaming the poor motorist that left the scene.

1st comment on the post.

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Voting is closed. 42

It certainly doesn't help

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That the road is designed like a highway. You can put up all the signs you want, but with fifteen lanes (an estimate) and very little traffic, it induces fast driving. A lot of speed enforcement might help, but so would treating Comm Ave like a city street with 12,000 vehicles per day: with one or two lanes (at most) in each direction, not three or four 11.5-foot-wide lanes with medians and dividers. (I wrote about this last year, here.)

This section of roadway is up for redesign and the city and state aren't making any major changes. So we're just going to build another roadway just as dangerous as we have now. Their reasoning? The roadway needs to be "Consistent with adjacent segments = safety." In other words: the rest of a road is build like a highway, so this part should be built like a highway too, so that cars can go fast and dangerously on all portions of the road. Unfortunately, the track record is that if things get done in Boston, it's only after people have died, and even then it's pulling teeth.

This does nothing to absolve the driver in this crash, and I too can't wait until the pedestrian—an elderly man—is blamed for being a millennial too focused on his phone to know where and how to cross the street, while the driver was just a regular working Joe going about his murder-y day. I'll check the Globe comment section …

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Voting is closed. 64

Ok, Ari

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There is no evidence in the article that the driver was speeding. More than likely, he/she was not paying attention, hit the man and continued on. Or the driver was impaired in some way.

People speed because 1) some people like to go fast. No amount of enforcement is going to stop them. 2) Our car's engines are built with power, cause people like power and people like performance Do we need cars/trucks with high horse power? No, of course not but this is not going to change any time soon. 3). Many car commercials show irresponsible driving - including speeding vehicles - in said commercials. I don't like it but that is not going to change soon. Add to all that distracted drivers, impaired drivers and the ilk.

I was almost killed by a pickup truck making a left turn at a green light a few years ago (it was at a concurrent signal intersection) by someone who did not see me in the middle of the crosswalk. He was moving fast but I do not know if he was going faster than the speed limit. I had to throw myself onto to the ground, away from the grill, to survive. I just barely made it and was pretty bruised up.

I understand that is dangerous out there and I, as a pedestrian, have to be extra vigilant when I walk in the city. The roads are crowed with car commuters, Lyft and Uber drivers all vying for space. This person was in a crosswalk, like myself, but was not so lucky.

Your last paragraph is weird. Why would anyone blame A "regular working Joe going about his murder-y day?" huh? A quick check of said comments reveals one "illegal" comment and the rest not even close to your strange assumption.

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Statistical sure thing

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Or damn close, in that stretch, with that roadway configuration.

We need to have the ability to limit cars from speeding in congested urban areas - like, having cars be electronically limited by transmitters.

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No amount of enforcement is going to stop them

So if enforcement isn't going to stop this, whats your solution? I mean you typed a lot there but didn't say much really.

Maybe we can look to the how the Dutch reworked their cities to reduce deaths caused by cars but oh wait no we can't do that, this isn't Europe after all or so I'm told.

Or we can stick with the status quo and just say "oh well, what can you do?"

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Voting is closed. 53

Lots of places design their

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Lots of places design their roads to make it impossible to speed by using narrower lanes, winding roads, sharp turns, visual tricks, uneven surfaces, and more. If enforcement doesn't work we can just make Comm Ave been one winding 10 foot lane in each direction. I'd be for it.

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Voting is closed. 41

This coward driver should

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This coward driver should never see daylight again. Forget gang members. Forget terrorists. Car drivers are by far the biggest danger to people in Boston and cities all over America.

The politicians are too cowardly to institute common sense laws like red light/speeding cameras and banning phone use while driving. The Boston police do no traffic enforcement. Judges give dangerous drivers a slap on the wrist at most. Drivers care more about their convenience than the lives of innocent people. It is disgusting. How many more people must be brutally killed before something changes?

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Careful, Kinopio

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Your anti-vehicular-homicide agenda shows through and alienates otherwise-reasonable people who just want to drive where they're going as fast as possible without ever worrying about consequences...

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Voting is closed. 65

Your "common sense" solutions

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Your "common sense" solutions have been shown to be outright counterproductive in places they've installed them.

https://www.motorists.org/blog/red-light-cameras-increase-accidents-5-st...

But based on other comments I've seen you seem to be personally or emotionally attached to pushing these things so I don't expect actual data to change your "common sense" opinion. Hopefully anyone listening to you will read the above link however.

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Voting is closed. 33

The NMA did not conduct their own studies.

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They cited five independent studies from a variety of sources.

Putting the illegality of cameras aside, adding them to a road like Commonwealth is akin to entrapment. You can't build a highway-like road and not expect highway-like speeds.

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Voting is closed. 33

The National Motorists Association has an agenda

and their agenda is not safety of people walking and biking. For example

https://www.motorists.org/issues/speed-limits/position/

Speed limits should be based on sound traffic-engineering principles that consider responsible motorists’ actual travel speeds.
Typically, this should result in speed limits set at the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic (the speed under which 85 percent of traffic is traveling).
These limits should be periodically adjusted to reflect changes in actual traffic speeds.

Compare that with the NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD Safety Study
Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles
https://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Documents/2017-DCA15SS002-BMG-Abstract.pdf

Unintended consequences of the reliance on using the 85th percentile speed for changing
speed limits in speed zones include higher operating speeds and new, higher 85th
percentile speeds in the speed zones, and an increase in operating speeds outside the
speed zones.

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Voting is closed. 59

This street doesn't need to be 25 mph

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I've driven on this part of Comm Ave for nearly 2 decades. There's no reason it needs to be slowed down (I think it's still officially marked as 30 mph which takes precedence over the 25 mph city limit but I think you have to go all the way back to the Newton line near BC to see the sign).

It has ample margins on both sides of the travel lanes and zero occlusion. Even the turns around Allston St are broad enough that you can see multiple car lengths ahead and nearly all vehicle and pedestrian crossings are signed well or traffic signals. Because of the protections in the middle of the T tracks, there are very limited places where pedestrians are crossing the road at all.

There are other places in the country where pedestrian crossings are made on 40+ mph roadways with worse sight lines.

This was NOT a failure of the road. This was a failure of the driver. You have to be a complete asshole to run someone over and keep going. That to me is a sign of gross incompetence at being a human being which immediately suggests that it wouldn't have mattered what speed the driver was doing...they never would have noticed a human in their way today.

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Voting is closed. 37

There's no reason it needs to be slowed down??????

No

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There's nothing at all about any of those stories that indicates speed was a factor at all in any of those crashes.

Hell, one of them talked about how the T and the car were at a red light stopped together and the driver started driving and took a left in front of the T. From a dead stop!

In fact, the city and state HAD a road audit done in 2015-2016 on this exact segment of the road and when it came to any evidence of speeding, their solution was....signs with visual feedback of driver speeds. NOT reducing speed limits in the area.

Another thing the crashes in your post all largely have in common is that they're all left turns gone badly. Something else remarked about in the study and the conclusion was to remove a bunch of the turn possibilities in that section of the road or change signal patterns to remove chances for mistakes/errors. Again, not an issue of speed.

https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/8/docs/traffic/SafetyAudit/Distr...

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Voting is closed. 34

Hi, I live in this neighborhood

And I've driven, biked and walked along this stretch of road for several years (not 20 though but good for you.)

There is absolutely a need for cars to be slowed down here, along with removing travel lanes, building protected bike infra and reducing crossing distances for pedestrians. Sorry that it might inconvenience you as you cut through our neighborhood but people live here and would rather not die because of your obsession with going fast.

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Voting is closed. 80

Scary

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I was walking in that very crosswalk where the person was killed just one hour previous to this murder. It could have been me. And yes cars often drive on Comm Ave like it's some kind of highway, despite the numerous intersections and pedestrian crossings.

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Voting is closed. 48

Howdy, neighbor

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I like how, somehow because I drive through here regularly, the implicit assumption is that I've never biked or walked here...or that I just commute through "your neighborhood". Ittoku is a great restaurant to walk to. Harry's is a decent bar to eat at. Brookline Liquors had a pretty good brown liquor selection within walking distance until it closed up. The Aerosmith concert and plaque dedication was an extremely cool live experience. You could usually get any sporting event on one of the TVs at Joshua Tree...etc. etc. etc. So spare me your sarcasm. I live here.

30 mph is NOT FAST. It's not too fast for the road design. It's not too fast for sight lines. It's not too fast to avoid collisions or obey traffic signals. It's not too fast in conjunction with bikes (who usually remain on the carriage road). It's not too fast for pedestrian crossings that are only 2 lanes wide at their widest and are well-painted and occur at signalled intersections (between Sutherland...which I think deserves an actuator for blinking lights at a minimum like by Walgreens in Union Sq and Fordham where there's a signal but I don't think the push buttons have worked for years and should also be like Union Square).

And I bet that the evidence is going to show that this driver was going a) faster than 30 or b) slower than 30 but completely oblivious to their surroundings...neither of which I'm arguing for and I am actually faulting them for doing.

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Voting is closed. 46

Sincere apologies

"I drive through here" stuck out to me meaning that you only commute through here but that was a poor assumption on my part. Also yes, I love Harry's but for some reason my roommate hates it, I'll never understand his reasoning. Tonic! Now I remember, was debating with said roommate about what that space was before Verizon, before Bees Knees, before Barely Hall (was it twice) and then it was Tonic or Joshua Tree first?

Speed limits are of course meaningless when infrastructure and enforcement do nothing to discourage speeding and other forms of reckless driving. And yes, the carriage roads are well more suited for bikes, you won't catch me on the main drag strip.

The status quo is not working here and this strip is in dire need of a redesign that improves safety, its just not cutting it currently.

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I think

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I think it went Barley Hall, Tonic, Joshua Tree. I'm pretty sure the last bar in there was Joshua Tree.

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For That Matter

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Why would you have to bike at all on Comm Ave? The B Line is right there.

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Voting is closed. 39

You don't know the answer to that?

If you think the B-line being there means that you shouldn't have to bike, then you must have flunked geography.

Or you have never commuted.

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Voting is closed. 37

Nah

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Some days everything is working on the B line, and you can get from Brighton to Kenmore Square faster on the Green Line. Most of the time, in my experience, you can get there faster on a bike (you're not constantly stopping to drop off and pick up passengers -- it makes a huge difference).

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Voting is closed. 24

The vast majority of motor vehicular accidents, whether they're

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skidding, hitting another automobile or any other object, or hitting a pedestrian, all occur when the operator has been operating at too great a speed for existing conditions. Obviously the automobile driver who mowed down and killed the pedestrian was driving too fast for the existing conditions, or that wouldn't have happened.

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Voting is closed. 31

30 mph is definitely fast.

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30 mph is definitely fast.

A senior citizen (like today) being hit by a car at 20mph has a 13% chance of dying. At 30mph it is nearly three times more likely that they will die: 37%. But let's not kid ourselves, if the sign says 30, people will do 45, at which point there's now an 87% chance of death. https://www.propublica.org/article/unsafe-at-many-speeds

There's no reason to go 30mph in a city. Boston isn't that big and you're just going to be waiting longer at a red light.

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Voting is closed. 46

Breaking news!

Person in 2 ton vehicle surrounded by a protected cage doesn't think they need to slow down for others' safety!

More at 11.

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Voting is closed. 49

I have lived in many states

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I have lived in many states and cities. No where have I ever seen a greater lack of regard or care by people towards others. All everyone wants to do is drive like a maniac and blown horns at fellow motorists. To plow someone over (no doubt one of those lovely speeding horn honking drivers I speak of) and just drive off without a care is very sick and disturbing.

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That explains it

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There was a helicopter pretty much parked over my building for about an hour; I'm a block away. I was hoping it meant they found something useful, and apparently they did.

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Driver speaks

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Collisions are the result of decisions

This asshole needs to be charged with murder. At the very least he should NEVER be allowed to drive anything anywhere ever again.

What fucked up shithole does this asshole come from where any of this "happens all the time" or where hit-and-run is possibly even remotely acceptable?

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Voting is closed. 48

I don't understand

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Why this person is not in jail.

He said he had a green light.

Fine, he also fled the scene of an accident. If there were skid marks there as he tried to come to a stop, stomping on the brakes, because someone stepped off the curb from behind a tree while reading a meme on their phone (or whatever) and he waited for police, that would be one thing. Pedestrians and bicyclists sometimes do stupid things that are beyond your control. You do everything in your power to stop. You're not going to hit a pole (ABS is neat) and if you do, your metal cage is going to protect you from dying if you hit said pole. But, no, you honk.

He said he was honking at the pedestrian. In the time it took him to see the pedestrian and honk he could have been standing on the brakes. There's actually section of law that says you can't just mow people down in a crosswalk even if you have a green light (89§11). He has admitted to breaking that law, on camera. (Real smart, guy, you might want to call a lawyer.) Then he fled the scene. Also, he admitted "I was going too fast." (Also, yeah, lawyer. Who will tell you to STFU.) This was an elderly man who probably didn't move too quickly, maybe he didn't make it to the curb before the light changed green (I don't know what the light cycle there on Griggs is, but it's probably timed for minimum disruption to the traffic flow). But hey, here's a PSA: if there's someone in a crosswalk, even if you have a green light (Which we don't actually even know, do we? Are there witnesses to confirm that? Or is it a case of he-said-dead-guy-said?), you can't proceed until it is safe to do so. That should be common fucking knowledge and common fucking sense.

Great to see BPD doing their job and throwing this guy in the slammer overnight, and set bail tomorrow since you are going to charge him with a crosswalk violation, speeding (he admitted to it!), failure to use due care, and leaving the scene. Oh, no, wait, they released him after questioning. Great job, BPD. I hope the DA has some common sense, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Voting is closed. 47

Well, he lives here

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Maybe he's seen how lackadaisically our police pursue terrible drivers, and how indifferent the legal system is to making terrible drivers face any consequences, and figured he was ok. Amateur mistake to not just sheepishly say he didn't see the victim - he'd probably be right.

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WTF?!?

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WTF?!?

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Pretty sure he was arrested just before 11.

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Channel 4 had him under arrest and video of him being taken out in cuffs by BPD Detectives as the lead story "Breaking News" at 11 pm. I'm not sure what the delay was given the confession but perhaps they wanted to run it by an ADA and clerk magistrate to get an arrest warrant and warrant for the Jeep while keeping an eye on both. Better be safe than lose the case on a technicality in a few years.

Condolences to the victim. Truly not sure what to make of the cavalier attitude of the suspect, confessing on TV. Ch. 4 had no confession coverage but an Asian woman who was identified as his mother said he left the scene because "he scared." Defense attorney won't have much to work with other than he panicked, then hope for Judge Feeley or the like.

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Voting is closed. 22

Boston drivers!!

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This is very unfortunate that its the second death/hit and run.. I have been a victim of Boston's horrible drivers!! Ive been severely rear ended twice in the past 12 days!!! :( Be careful. Pay attention.

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Pedestrian lights are almost meaningless in Boston

pedestrians don't bother to follow the crosswalk lights.

Pedestrian lights in Boston are nonsensical and inconsistent with no rhyme or reason. Lights should have a constant, predictable cycle, but BTD basically has no standards as to what setting is appropriate where and completely ignores best practice standards. It's no wonder people get impatient and walk out into traffic. Some require beg buttons (which are not appropriate in urban areas, with the possible exception of mid-block crossings), some don't, some are concurrent with the green, some have an exclusive phase. Some have concurrent phase, but require a beg button (which makes absolutely no sense, since the light is going to turn green anyhow, can make pedestrians wait through a whole cycle if they press it one second too late, or if they don't know that it should be pressed -a pedestrian approaching an intersection should expect a walk signal as part of the normal light cycle). Some have an automatic exclusive phase. Some have excessively long waits for signals, even in areas where the overwhelming volume of traffic is on foot (see State/Court and Washington near Government Center during the evening rush). Unlike most cities, there is no standard as to what intersection gets what setting. Boston gets D when it comes to pedestrian lights. BTD need to send some people over to Cambridge so that they can teach them how it's properly done in a city.

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Voting is closed. 45