The excellent ABQ Journal reporter Elise Kaplan dutifully reported what over-worked/compensated APD Officer Simon Drobik said in response to this crash (and Ms.Kaplan/Journal uses the word “crash” instead of “accident”) scene photographed by Journal photographer Adolph Pierre-Louis:
The ubiquitous “*Mr. Overtime” Drobik was paraphrased thus:
He said alcohol and speed are not factors for either driver.
Inverting the flow of the report a bit, let’s focus on that remark, particularly speed, as we read Ms. Kaplan’s (and Mr. Overtime’s) description of what happened.
He said the preliminary investigation found that a 2011 Ford SUV was going south on Third when it collided with a 2017 GMC pickup that was heading east on Mountain and hadn’t stopped at a traffic light.
“The GMC truck was hit near the rear wheel and it spun onto the sidewalk at the southeast corner and struck an adult male, crushing him between the truck bed and the traffic light pole,” Drobik wrote in an email. “The male was pronounced deceased on scene.”
Yeah, evidently the speed necessary to perform “crushing him between the truck bed and hte traffic light pole” wasn’t “a factor.” Interestingly, Mr. Overtime makes this throwaway remark without having done the investigatory calculus necessary to make such an observation. If you look into crash reports and investigations, you fairly often find elaborate handwritten calculus problem-solving notes and, in other cases, pages and pages of downloaded “black box” speed data from on-board computers of newer vehicles. One surmises no such calculus was performed here.
Meanwhile, KOB-TV’s short piece on the incident includes police observation that the victim might have been homeless. Of course homelessness is a touchy subject on so many levels, but it is an easily observable fact that many folks living on the streets walk the area of the crash site, due to the high number of service facilities for those living on our streets:
Thus, the area has a relatively very high number of pedestrians, but no discernible safety measures related to those high numbers, such as extended crossing times or physical separation between drivers in SUVs and trucks, including those drivers who blow through the red light.
Also worth noting is how close the area is to the newly designated “Downtown Safety Zone,” that Mountain serves as a hugely important east-west connector for all users, including cyclists, and how much the area is changing as Wells Park and the stretch between Lomas and I-40 transition from old industrial to new brewpubs and such.
But those considerations are only for nerdy folks concerned with traffic safety, or, now that I think about it, cities making “Vision Zero” pledges and undergoing renewal of “Complete Streets” policy.
There is that.
One small, but still very important aspect of police/media reporting on traffic deaths from this point forward must be an addition to the boilerplate reference to alcohol and speed. Something along the lines of “The roadway death is a reminder of the City’s Vision Zero pledge and renewed Complete Streets policy, despite which X number of (insert type of user here) have died on Albuquerque streets this year.”
Until such language is added, we’re not even talking a good VZ/CS game. Much less truly doing something about it.
*Note: Better Burque has nothing against Officer Drobik’s all-consuming level of spokespersoning. Hey, get it if you can. Still, aren’t we paying a bit too much per hour for all the overtime? Maybe we’ve solved that problem and Officer Drobik has cut back on the hours, but that seems unlikely given the continued ubiquitous nature of his reports.