MLive produced a pretty good news story about my preliminary examination last Friday, April 15.
Here are some important points the story missed.
According to the man struck by my car, James Stivenson, the woman in the van was heading eastbound on Center Ave toward Pine St in the lane closest to the center turning lane when she stopped her vehicle and motioned him to cross in front of her to get to the other side. After passing by her, he stepped into my lane of traffic, which was the lane closest to the Rebel Party Store, and was struck, according to his testimony.
The woman who testified, Kelsey Lipinski, said she was driving south on Scheurmann, stopped at the blinking red light waiting for traffic to clear so she could safely drive through the intersection. According to her, the pedestrian, Stivenson, was also heading south on foot, and he started running across the lane where I was driving as he approached it. She testified she first saw my car as it was traveling past Shirts, Mugs & More, and that the pedestrian NEVER LOOKED for oncoming traffic when he hastened his pace and began to run across the remaining traffic lane before him .…. and into my path.
In addition, I finally found out Mr. Stivenson’s BAC (blood alcohol content) at the preliminary examination when the Prosecutor entered his hospital records into evidence to establish the extent of the poor man’s injuries. It was 0.19! Super-drunk driving starts at 0.17, to put it into perspective. My blood (taken 2.75 hours following the accident) contained NO alcohol or marijuana. Just the sleeping pill I informed the officer I took just as I left the office for my short 10 minute drive home.
In the comments that followed the MLive story, one person stated, “This intersection is very dangerous, just because of the configuration of the lanes and the posted speed limits. I still say that there should be a button for pedestrians to push to stop traffic when they want to cross. I didn’t appreciate the illegal courtesy stop by the woman. Was it an actual courtesy stop, or did she see she had no choice but to stop?”
I think that comment made a good point. That intersection should have a button for pedestrians to press, particularly because the intersection is such a busy one with a history of bad accidents. In fact, there should be a crossing button at all intersections busy enough to have a traffic light on state highway M25, which all change after 10 pm, to blinking red on the cross streets and blinking yellow on Center Ave.
To sum it up: I was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyone driving where my car was traveling at that precise moment in time would have struck this man too. Only I highly doubt there would be a prosecution as a result. Sometimes accidents DO happen that cannot be avoided, as here. Sometimes, too, prosecutorial discretion IS abused. Once elected Prosecuting Attorney, I’ll remove the politics in the bringing of criminal charges so people don’t have to worry about being wrongfully prosecuted, especially when a public official’s reelection is challenged.