By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
The city is still reeling after two fatal traffic accidents occurred over the last few days, killing two people and injuring six more, according to police reports.
On Sunday afternoon at about 3:00 p.m., a 2012 Chevrolet Cruz was traveling at a high rate of speed, eastbound in the 1400 and 1500 blocks of V Street, S.E., police stated. The Cruz entered the intersections of 16th and V Street, Southeast and hit a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu. The impact caused the Malibu to redirect and ultimately strike a pedestrian who was walking on the 2100 block of 16th Street, S.E..
Beloved bike activist David Salovesh, a 54 year old resident of Northeast, was killed in a bike accident on 12th Street and Florida Avenue N.E. (Courtesy Photo)
The pedestrian was identified as 31-year-old Abdul Seck, of Bronx New York. Seck, the driver of the Malibu and it’s three passengers were all taken to area hospitals according to police reports.
After life saving efforts failed, Seck died.
The driver of the Cruz, a 21-year-old S.E., D.C. resident, Dejuan Andre Marshall, was arrested and later charged with Second Degree Murder.
Another accident occurred at the tip of the weekend, killing a beloved local bicycle activist.
Police reported that at 10:00 a.m. Friday they were alerted, via an automated license plate reader, that there was a stolen white van in the area of Benning Road, N.E.. Metropolitan Police spotted the van and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver refused to stop for officers and fled. A short time later, they discovered the driver had been involved in an accident on 12th Street, and Florida Avenue, N.E..
Apparently the driver of the van had been speeding while traveling westbound on Florida Avenue, N.E.. When the driver reached the intersection of 12th and Florida Avenue, he failed to stop at the red light, and hit a blue Hyundai that was traveling southbound on 12th Street. N.E. The van continued to travel on Florida Avenue crossing over double yellow lines and striking a cyclist who was following the flow of traffic in an eastbound lane of Florida Avenue.
The cyclist was identified as David Salovesh, a 54 year old resident of Northeast. He was later pronounced dead on the scene.
After hitting Salovesh, the driver of the van then struck a tree. Police said the driver of the stolen vehicle suffered non-life threatening injuries and was arrested and transported to a local hospital.
Robert Earl Little, Jr, 25, of Northwest, D.C. was arrested and charged on Friday with Second Degree Murder and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.
As of Monday there have been eight traffic fatalities in the District, compared to nine this same time last year, showing an 11% decrease. Looking at a 20 year span from 2009 to 2018 traffic fatalities have fluctuated depending on the year. Traffic fatalities peaked in 2001 with 72 deaths recorded. 2012 saw the lowest with 19, according to police data. Looking at the past five years however, traffic fatalities seem to be ticking back up with 26 death recorded in 2014 and 2015, 28 in 2016, 30 in 2017 and 36 in 2018.
Already several publications and social media sites have seen the outpouring of love for Salovesh who was widely known for pushing the city for more and safer bike lanes. A vigil was held Sunday for him with a “ghost bike” placed at the scene of the accident.
“Whenever there is a senseless loss of life as a the result of a traffic crash, DDOT reviews the location for potential safety improvements. Plans are underway to quickly install an all-way stop at 16th and V Streets, SE as well as speed humps on the intersecting roadways,” DDOT stated via Twitter.
Another tweet by the DDOT said that work would begin “immediately.”
The two incidents will undoubtedly bring more attention to the mayor’s Vision Zero Initiative, a collaboration of more than 20 agencies to build safer roads in D.C. In the FY-2020 budget, Bowser included $122 million for a new K Street Northwest Transit Way, which will include a designated rapid bus lane; $16.1 million to provide free D.C. Circulator service and expand East of the River routes, and $2.8 million for additional bike lane enforcement and rush hour towing as part of Vision Zero 2020.
Council member Charles Allen of Ward 6 announced plans Tuesday to introduce emergency legislation to reprogram any capital funds for DDOT until the redesign of Florida Avenue N.E. is completed.
“Residents living along Florida Avenue have warned for years that if the city doesn’t take action, someone else is going to get killed. On Friday, we waited too long and that someone was a father, a husband and a dedicated member of our community,” said Allen. “Soon I’ll introduce more comprehensive legislation to legally mandate building complete streets. But right now I’m done waiting on DDOT to get serious about safety on Florida Avenue.”
Florida Avenue intersects Wards 5 and 6. Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie is a co-introducer of the bill, as well as Council members Mary Cheh and David Grosso.
A vigil to celebrate the life of Abdul Seck is planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of 16th Street and V Streets S.E.