Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tucker and Park Crash Last Night

Tucker and Park Crash Last Night

I witnessed the aftermath of the horrible car crash at S. Tucker and Park Ave in the LaSalle Park / King Louis Square area.

According to news reports, the crash happened about 6:15 PM. A look at "Safe City" confirms the first call was made at 6:15, with subsequent calls at 6:17 and 6:20.

The bus I was riding passed through the area about 6:25. Emergency vehicles were still in the process of responding, but police had already blocked all traffic southbound on Tucker at Hickory, causing a detour via the newly built sections of Hickory and 13th, to Park then through the rather tight new roundabout at 14th, south to Lafayette then back to Tucker. So, I was about a block away, at 13th and Park, when I got my best view. And it was dark.

Nevertheless, it looked quite bad. The car (according to the news, a Dodge Neon) was still smoky, and appeared to have flipped into the grass near LaSalle Baptist Church. I had a feeling something really bad had occurred.

It infuriates me that the people in the (probably stolen) Volvo that hit the still unidentified woman's Neon ran away. Reports said they headed west on Park, then north on 14th. That's in the general direction of the Clinton-Peabody public housing complex, so I'm sure the police were out in force last night in that complex. Of course, they could have just as easily kept running north, across the viaduct into downtown and hopped onto MetroLink at Civic Center.

This is the same intersection where a guy crashed into a police van and then sped away just after midnight Sunday morning. And according to Safe City, there have been about a dozen accidents there in the past several months.

This stretch of South Tucker is practically a highway. It's really wide, carries a lot of traffic at rush-hour, and many, many drivers on Tucker run that red light, especially southbound after passing the slight curve at Hickory.

Meanwhile, another police-van involved crash happened, also yesterday, at Gravois and Utah. This was somehow related, according to the news, to a police chase after a carjacking at Potomac and Virginia near Gravois Park.

People really need to stop stealing cars! And, it would probably be a good idea to stop driving into police vans. Aren't they kind of hard to miss?

I just hope I'm never involved in one of these kind of accidents - although given how often they're happening, it seems like it's not unlikely I could be. Even if my car was stolen and then involved in a fatal accident, I would feel tremendously guilty.

And, by the way, the "H.E.A.T." program would do nothing to stop these kind of incidents from happening in the late afternoon and early evening hours - i.e., right after school lets out.

Admittedly, a lot of the young people involved in these activities probably don't attend school on a regular basis. So, maybe increasing the mandatory schooling age to 18 and stepping up truancy patrols would be the only way - short-term - to make an impact.

Long-term, of course, we need more and better after-school activity options, and more parental involvement to stop this from happening in the first place. But I recognize, that's easier said than done.


Anonymous said...

I remember, 2 years ago, when a group of people stole a car from West County mall. Police witnessed the act? and chased them up to Hwy 40 at Ballas where the chase ended... at 5pm with traffic at complete stop, the perps lost control and crashed into ME! (All 4 in the stolen car ran for it but were quickly aprehended.)

Umar Lee said...

yea I was in that area last night and saw the aftermath and wondered what hppened.

Anonymous said...

"Hopped onto MetroLink"? Geez, Joe, don't help perpetuate the myth that anyone really uses transit to commit crimes. Such irrational fears are partly why St. Chuck voted down MetroLink years ago.

Besides, these guys would have then left their stolo somewhere, but Civic Center would be a highly visible area to risk such a switch. But otherwise, I think your speculation is likely right, as it seems stolen vehicles, or "stolos," remain the travel mode of choice for our region's bad apples, not our transit system.

Joe said...

The news story said they ran from the scene of the accident on foot west on Park and north on 14th. That's in the general direction both of the Peabodys and of MetroLink.

Maybe they wouldn't necessarily have gotten onto MetroLink, but at both Civic Center and Union Station late at night I have seen groups of young people get on the train without having purchased tickets.

Yeah, maybe they have passes like I do, but more likely they take a chance because there's a lot fewer security people on winter nights when there are no sporting events - i.e., no middle-class suburban whites on the train.

And yet, sometimes at rush-hour, you'll get your "proof of payment" checked TWICE in a single trip! So much for consistent enforcement.

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

This is very sad. I heard about it on the bus this morning. Apparently, the victim taught at Ames, which saddens me both because she was a teacher and because my dad used to teach there, so it feels a little tiny bit personal in that way.

We had an interesting incident in ONSL a few weeks ago. I was indoors and heard a CRUNCH! Unable to determine anything from looking out windows, I raced outside to find about a dozen neighbors assembled around the vacant corner storefront building at the corner of Wright and 14th (down the block from Crown Candy, 1/2 block from us). There was a car crashed into the corner of the building. Its lights were on, all its doors were open, rap music was BLARING out of it, and no one was inside! Apparently five young men stole it and went on a joyride. Two of em split in the direction of the Purple Doors (Murphy Blair 3) buildings on Hadley (Michael was outside when it happened and they smiled at him.), and the rest headed for the 14th Street Mall, where they were quickly apprehended. The whole spectacle was ridiculous. I was glad no one was hurt, and also relieved to see that the building had only minor, cosmetic damage--a piece of cast iron fell off of it, and some bricks were scratched. That building has been there since the 1850s or 60s with only interior damage, until then. SIGH.