Adriana Brown was a skilled personal trainer at the Seattle gym where I am a member. More importantly, she was a friend and loved by our gym membership.
One of her favorite sayings was “Suck it up, buttercup!” She would usually say this during one of her work-outs and when one of her clients began to whine about an exercise.
On April 25, 2017, Adriana was walking across Western Avenue, coming to work at the gym.
She had the “walk” sign.
She was in the crosswalk, halfway across the street.
A pick-up truck driver making a left turn ran over her.
The crash injuries were fatal.
Adriana, age 36, left behind a loving husband and two young daughters.
While some would label this an accident, I will not. It was a preventable crash.
What we know:
- The driver did not pay proper attention and cut the corner while making his left turn.
- He did not see Adriana, who was in the middle of the crosswalk.
What we will likely never know:
- Why was he not focused entirely on driving?
- What was he looking at as he was making that left turn?
- Did he make the turn so quickly that Adriana could not get out of the way?
While I would agree that the pickup truck driver did not purposefully run over Adriana, it was not an “accident”.
He should have been completely focused on driving, including looking for pedestrians—especially around the intersection, and in the crosswalk.
Here, the truck driver was given a ticket for failing to give pedestrians—Adriana—the right of way.
There were no criminal charges filed.
I’ve worked on cases with situations like this in the past, and it is always difficult to explain to my clients.
How can a driver carelessly kill someone, and walk away with a “slap on the wrist”?
Our laws do not provide for stronger punishment, unless the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or using a cellular device. Here, there was no proof to establish higher charges.
While this is the law, it seems unjust.
That’s not to say that the truck driver gets off entirely scot-free. He has to live with the knowledge that his actions caused Adriana’s death.
But, is that enough?
Driving a vehicle is the most dangerous thing that most people do on a regular basis. Yet, most people are excessively casual about it this very serious task.
Would people take driving more seriously if they were more likely to face criminal charges for driving negligently?
How many traffic deaths is too many?
Think about how this one traffic fatality has changed the lives of a lot of people in the last year.
The loss of Adriana Brown forever changed the lives of her husband and kids, her parents, and brothers. It affected a wide circle of family, friends, neighbors—and even gym members.
About 40,000 people will die on U.S. roads this year—most of them in predictable, preventable crashes.
You are very likely to experience the death of a family member or friend in a car crash.
It is very likely that everyone will experience the loss of a family member or friend in a car crash.
Maybe that’s what it will take to change the way we drive.
Coluccio Law represented the Estate of Adriana Brown pro-bono. You can see pictures of Adriana with her husband and children here.
We have all become too accustomed to senseless deaths and injuries on U.S. roads.
I do not accept that this public health crisis is just a series of “accidents.”