Last month, we published a piece on the unusually high frequency of traffic accidents that take place on and nearby NE Juanita Drive in Kirkland. A preliminary investigation into the Kirkland Police Department’s records found that over about a year and a half – from June 2011 to November 2012 – there were at least 11 individual car accidents on NE Juanita Drive involving medical attention or significant injuries reported to and investigated by Kirkland police.
Another Kirkland Accident
Wednesday morning, there was a serious pedestrian accident in Kirkland that left one man with significant injuries and an expensive trip to the hospital. Though this accident did not happen on Juanita Drive, it did take place on westbound NE 116th Street near 98th Ave NE, about a block away before 116th turns into Juanita Drive.
According to KOMO News, a 17-year-old male was driving westbound on NE 116th Street approaching the intersection of 98th Avenue NE. The light was green, and so the teen began making a right hand turn at the green light onto 98th Avenue. The pedestrian was reportedly crossing in the crosswalk at the intersection and was struck by the teen’s vehicle as he made the turn.
No signs of impairment were noted in the driver and police say he fully cooperated with their investigation. Witnesses reported that the driver immediately pulled into a parking lot after hitting the pedestrian and called 911. The pedestrian, who has not yet been identified, was taken via ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to be treated for possible fractures to his skull, pelvis and ribs.
Teen Driver was Responsible
I am not particularly familiar with this area of Kirkland, but one witness commented on KOMO’s online article saying, “I live by this area and walk down there frequently. The geometry of the intersection obscures pedestrians walking west on NE 116th; couple that with the fact that most drivers turning north on 98th NE are moving too fast and you have a recipe for potential injuries.”
The fact that there have been so many accidents on or nearby Juanita Drive is troubling, but there were a lot of external factors that came into play in this pedestrian collision. According to the article, the accident took place around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, likely when it was raining. It can be difficult to see pedestrians at night, especially in the rain, and it is not uncommon for pedestrians to be wearing low-visibility clothing. The driver is clearly at fault for the accident, but it does appear to be an innocent accident as he was not impaired and he remained at the scene of the collision.
Because the pedestrian suffered extensive injuries and is going to require at least several days of hospitalization, he will need to file a personal injury claim in order to be reimbursed for his medical expenses and lost wages. Assuming the teen has adequate motor vehicle insurance, the man will potentially be able to recover damages through the driver’s insurance company.