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Nasty car wreck caught on live TV.
September 17, 2004 8:06 PM   Subscribe

A dangerous intersection in Tampa... then, disaster strikes, on live TV. [note: Windows Media, high bandwidth, graphic]
posted by crunchland (55 comments total)

 
Wait, why wasn't it their first reaction to run over and help the people? Why did he just keep talking? Was it planned?
posted by Meridian at 8:11 PM on September 17, 2004


My mistake. The crash happened in Kansas. The video is on a Tampa news website.

As for why they don't help the victims ... they're reporters. They don't need to be compassionate.
posted by crunchland at 8:15 PM on September 17, 2004


I predict a similar outcome in amberglow's post, just below this.

I think a good question, though, is why these things occur: roads/intersections widely known as dangerous don't get improvements quickly.

I have an acquaintance whose wife was recently killed on I-15 in SLC. A young man driving on the opposite side of the freeway had a tire blow, lost control, crossed the median, and hit her head on. She's gone. The DOT issued a statement that they knew this was dangerous, and they'd like to have better dividers, but they didn't have the money.

Meanwhile, the state is spending millions on expanding capacity along the same corridor, chasing down millions spent on the expansion for the 2002 olympics.

The priority clearly isn't safety.

And what meridian said. I sincerely hope part of the camera crew was dialing 911. And that this wasn't staged. Or caused by drivers looking at the camera crew instead of traffic.
posted by weston at 8:15 PM on September 17, 2004


Holy cow! I think the red car was at fault.
posted by riffola at 8:18 PM on September 17, 2004


I watched it again and I still don't get it; a "major accident" with no one else around to help anyone possibly injured and the reporter just keeps blabbering on, while the camerman just stays where he is filming. Seriously, wtf? Even the biggest, coldest a$$holes I know, and that includes reporters, would be running over to check if anyone was hurt. Its a natural reaction.
posted by Meridian at 8:19 PM on September 17, 2004


Wow, my first reaction definitely was WTF? I kept expecting him to run over or cut it short. Instead he's just "the bumper is still in the road." For Christ's sake, you can go help the people while the crew films it. You'll be a real hero and the public will know it. The guy would probably get a huge pay raise once they have video of a young, brave reporter, pulling a baby out of a broken wreck. Ratings!
posted by crazy finger at 8:21 PM on September 17, 2004


Yeah, that was kinda fucked. Not helping AND that that red car even pulled into the intersection in the first place. I mean, I understand it's a dangerous intersection (presumably because the people at the stop sign don't know the other cars don't have to stop) but it was pretty clear that other car wasn't slowing down.
posted by dobbs at 8:23 PM on September 17, 2004


I'm not sure I would have helped - not cuz I'm a jackass, but just because in a situation like that you're not always going to think to do the "right" thing.
posted by punishinglemur at 8:27 PM on September 17, 2004


Punishinglemur - I don't think that doing the "right" thing will even be a conscious choice. Tragedy occurs, people are hurt, you are there. Natural reaction is to try to help I think. What do you think you might otherwise have done? Stood there and commented that there are pieces of the car in the road?
posted by crazy finger at 8:31 PM on September 17, 2004


If you enlarge the video to full screen, you can see the driver of the pickup emerge from his vehicle. The driver in the red car was probably distracted by the news crew, distracted by the white van that turned in front of her, and probably assumed the oncoming vehicle also had a stop sign.
posted by crunchland at 8:36 PM on September 17, 2004


The priority clearly isn't safety.

Duh. That's why the speed limit isn't 5 MPH.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:40 PM on September 17, 2004


Definitely the red car's drivers fault, and yet you can see how this happened.

In drivers ed we learned that you check both directions (LRL) with the final look being to the left in the case of this turn, as that is the traffic lane you are crossing. The driver cut some corners in their glancing (look left, look right, look left again) and at a critical time, the white van crosses the lane of traffic and the red car's driver's field of vision. The driver's first cursory glance, not being what it should have, told them the left was clear. At the moment they should have been reaffirming that, their vision was blocked but they proceeded to enter the intersection (how many of us have done that in lower speed situations where we "assumed" the vehicle - white van - made their turn safely, only to find a surprise waiting for us?). Typical story we have all faced, where cutting a couple seconds was the difference between making the turn safely and possible traumatic injury or death. (Definite argument for side airbags)
posted by charms55 at 8:45 PM on September 17, 2004


Not saying it's right, but the reporter may have been told by his producer to stay put and keep talking. They are in communication.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:47 PM on September 17, 2004


I hope those folks were ok, but it looks pretty bad.

I think a good question, though, is why these things occur: roads/intersections widely known as dangerous don't get improvements quickly.

I wonder this too. On my way home from work, there is a sign "Dangerous Intersection Ahead" right before a very, very scary intersection, where a left-turn arrow would probably solve most problems. I'm sure the frigging sign really does a ton of good, considering the number of accidents that still occur there.
posted by catfood at 8:57 PM on September 17, 2004


Heh, I didn't even notice the fact they weren't helping.. but I'm English, so that's natural. What I found funny was how he kept his composition and kept talking in his 'reporter voice'. True professionals!

Seriously though, that junction looked completely wide open. No buildings around, no obstructions.. you'd have to be a freaking moron to get hit. I've watched that clip several times now, and the car had a great view of the truck (which you can even make out on this blocky video) before it pulled out. I guess it could have been glare.. without being in the same seat, you never know. Of course, if you don't know what's happening, you don't go.

In drivers ed we learned that you check both directions (LRL)

Curious. I do LRL (usually, depends on the situation, as all driving habits should), and was always taught that way.. but I drive on the opposite side of the road ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 9:06 PM on September 17, 2004


This guy is subhuman - an accident 15 feet away, and all he can muster is "Oh my gosh!"
posted by iamck at 9:07 PM on September 17, 2004


There's one for that reporter's promo reel. Kept his cool. Kept his emotional distance. He'll be moving on to a larger market in no time.
posted by crank at 9:12 PM on September 17, 2004


may have been told by his producer to stay put

Yup.

one for that reporter's promo reel. Kept his cool. Kept his emotional distance. He'll be moving on to a larger market in no time.

Double yup.
posted by wfrgms at 9:31 PM on September 17, 2004


If you listen closely, the guy says "Oh, shhh ... oh my gosh." Talk about professionalism. From so fired to not fired, under, you know, fire.

All we're seeing is the first 30 seconds of this accident and their response. I think it's human to assume that there's someone there with a phone who can summon emergency services pretty quickly. Plus, airbags. Besides, the reporter could easily have been killed (not in the physics of this particular accident, but many other scenarios could have had that 50mph vehicle plunging through his stand-up tape marks); give him a moment to catch his own breath.

weston, to bring a roadgeek perspective on this [paging kurumi], there are lots of safety improvements that can be made, but the cost:benefit ratio isn't always dramatic. The open median was assumed, for most of the 20th century, to be sufficient safety margin. (After all, it was a major improvement over the yellow line in the middle of the pavement.) Nowadays the urban freeway optimum includes jersey barriers and, increasingly, heavy-gauge steel netting strong enough to stop a semi. Retrofitting all old highways at once isn't going to happen, certainly not just because we have now decided there's a better way to do it. This is something they do incrementally as highways are expanded or rebuilt. Believe me, highway departments everywhere monitor improvements they can make in safety, at what cost.
posted by dhartung at 9:47 PM on September 17, 2004


Watching that video was excruciating.

I'm not one for talking to the TV (nor becoming emotionally involved in it) but I actually my fists and jaw clenched and was this close to shouting, "What the fuck?! Do something!"
posted by rafter at 9:47 PM on September 17, 2004


It's certainly a graphic accident, and you can see it happen as the person on the sidestreet barely makes a stop, takes off to cut across while the van makes the left, and the guy with the right of way has no idea the car is right behind that van.

BUT if I can find a little humor in all this, it's imagining a guy named Skippy in the broadcast booth having the quick thinking skills to replace the banner text "dangerous intersection report" to "major accident at 119th and 53rd" or whatever it said exactly.

Somewhere, a local news boss is buying Skippy a beer for the quick thinking while I sob softly at them capitalizing on the event instead of helping anyone.
posted by mathowie at 9:48 PM on September 17, 2004


yup, america's biggest problem in a nutshell in a ditch; a media driven by spineless gawkery.
posted by moonbird at 10:05 PM on September 17, 2004


You don't know what he did off camera. He also did the right thing by identifying exactly where he was so that emergency crews can get to the scene. I'll leave judgement until I know he did nothing.
posted by substrate at 10:44 PM on September 17, 2004


Maybe the dude was just too scared shitless that he came 10 feet from the end of his own life to do anything heroic.
posted by afx114 at 11:18 PM on September 17, 2004


While it certainly appears that the accident was the fault of the person in the red car, I kind of wonder what exactly was going through the mind of the guy in the truck. A van drives right in front of him, and he doesn't even slow down (or so it seems). Did he give any thought to what he would have done if the van were to stop suddenly? To me it looks like all three drivers were smoking something good that day or generally suffered from diminished intelligence.
posted by epimorph at 11:53 PM on September 17, 2004


Retrofitting all old highways at once isn't going to happen, certainly not just because we have now decided there's a better way to do it. This is something they do incrementally as highways are expanded or rebuilt.

The frustrating thing, though, is that I-15 between Provo and Salt Lake City and Ogden isn't just any old stretch of highway. It's the most heavily travelled transportation corridor in Utah, far and away, and it's had hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on it (if not millions) since 1997 on expanding capacity...it's been under near constant work since then, possibly longer.
posted by weston at 12:22 AM on September 18, 2004


tonight i was standing in the front yard watching the dog whiz a little after midnight when i heard squealing tires and stood there, gape-jawed as a speeding car plowed across 4 front yards, snapped off two 9-inch thick trees, glanced sidelong off a BIG tree, flipped and went airborne, crashing on its roof not 40 feet from where i stood, landing between 2 large trees and the house across the street! i damn near pissed myself. the motor was racing and the horn was blowing and the thing was smoking and i kept running around it trying to see in when a neighbor arrived and broke the rear glass out with a tire iron. what crawled out was one dazed and confused and belligerent teenager, hollering about supposedly getting run off the road (its a suburban residential street with a 25mph max). when the cops got here he couldn't walk the line and he refused to blow, so he left in cuffs. lucky to be alive, he is. may not live long after daddy sees his car.
posted by quonsar at 12:28 AM on September 18, 2004


I think the camera man is up for a firing, he didn't zoom in! he Didn't look at the other car once he cut away. Bad shooting.

I think the red car was paying more attention to the NEWS CREW than the road, thus why he got hit in a compeltly open intersection with no visual obstructions. That happens alot, i've seen a ton of accidents tha alost happend becasue peopel are gawking the newscrew and not the road. I'd liek to see news crews charged for "inciting an accident" or soething when this happens. Keep thier boring butts at the office.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 12:44 AM on September 18, 2004


What I found really amazing was how quickly the news graphic about the accident popped up on the screen...
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 AM on September 18, 2004


??????????????????????
posted by HTuttle at 1:06 AM on September 18, 2004


That happens alot, i've seen a ton of accidents tha alost happend becasue peopel are gawking the newscrew and not the road.

Oh really? What line of work, or personal endeavor, are you in that you've seen "a ton" of vehicle collisions caused by people looking at roadside news crews? 'Cause I've been a paramedic/fire fighter for over 17 years, and have run literally thousands of vehicle accidents, and I've NEVER responded to one that was caused by a news crew at the side of the road.

I'd liek to see news crews charged for "inciting an accident" or soething when this happens.

Great -- because it would be ridiculous to hold inattentive drivers responsible for their own negligent behavior. Let's find someone else to blame instead.
posted by wdpeck at 1:23 AM on September 18, 2004


So, you're saying you have a problem with holding local TV news personalities responsible for random car accidents, occasional homicides, and the US federal budget deficit?

Why? I don't see what's so objectionable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:36 AM on September 18, 2004


Per the KWCH.com website: 'Immediately after the accident, Matt and photographer Kevin Rempe, were quick to help the accident victims. Matt finished his report and went to check on the drivers. Kevin called 911 and grabbed a fire extinguisher from our live truck after seeing chemicals from the airbag, which appeared to be smoke.'

Well, maybe not immediately after the accident since Matt finished his report first.
posted by treywhit at 2:31 AM on September 18, 2004


I think a good question, though, is why these things occur: roads/intersections widely known as dangerous don't get improvements quickly.

In a muslim country, they believe accidents happen because of the will of Allah, not unsafe driving.

This is America, where we believe accidents happen because of unsafe driving, and that unsafe driving is your own damn fault. Why design roads safer? That's like outlawing cigarettes. It would save lives, but those lives are our own damn lives to throw away if we damn well please.

Remarkably, in neither society does designing things safer get a hell of a lot of priority.
posted by scarabic at 2:47 AM on September 18, 2004


What a pile of shit, scarabic. Tens of millions of dollars are spent annualy maintaining and upgrading our roads, from road surface to safety features. Further tens of millions of dollars are spent on research, from super computers modelling millions of commuters' worth of traffic to running cars into things at high speed and watching what happens.

It's so much easier to go LOLZ AMERICA!!!! I guess.

But you're ALL FOR illegalizing tobacco I guess (it worked so well with alcohol and marijuana!) and probably look up to Skip Humphrey as a personal hero, and this can and will wander way off topic in a heartbeat, so I'll just stop before I pop a vein. Especially since the sanctimonius "here, since I'm so much smarter than you, I'll just take the decision out of your hands" attitude makes me blindingly angry.

Considering the reporter isn't a trained paramedic or anything, the 30-90 seconds he spent wrapping up his thing probably didn't and couldn't have made any life/death differences. That being the case, it makes sense to get the address out on the air, keep your job, and then go see what (if anything) you can do. Less politely, the hand-wringing in this thread is a little overwrought. Relax, guys.
posted by kavasa at 3:47 AM on September 18, 2004


epimorph ... you've made a very good point here ... the truck driver didn't slow down when he saw the van turn ahead of him ... no, he's going to keep going at the speed he wants to go and people just better stay out of his way ... i see this kind of aggressive driving all the time and a lot of the people who do it are driving pickups and suvs ... and i'm not sure he was just driving 55, either

if he had driven defensively and slowed down, he might have had a chance to avoid an accident ... yes, people shouldn't pull out or turn in front of us and cut it close like that, but that's no reason not to cut them some slack and give ourselves time to react to something unexpected

and the red car should have waited until the van was out of the intersection to start pulling forward
posted by pyramid termite at 4:50 AM on September 18, 2004


The most disturbing thing about this video: it doesn't play on My Old Mac.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:50 AM on September 18, 2004


1. Whoever designed that crossing is a douchebag that needs lessons in dynamics of bodies moving at a certain speeds. If a car accidentally breaks down in the middle of the intersection there's no way a car is going to brake and avoid it, unless the driver is Andretti and even so I doubt it will make it.

2. The driver of the red car is, imho, also a tantalizing moron that doesn't watch his left side in a intersection. That said, I guess we need much much more hours of driving before issuing a licence.

3. The camera crew hopefully did call 911 immediately (I guess not, show-must-go-on morons !) but they did well at not touching the drivers as only paramedics should do that (unless of course the cars was on fire..which justifies taking the risk of further injurying the driver)

3. That crossing must be transformed in a roundabout, right here right now because it really is a dangerous intersection.
posted by elpapacito at 7:26 AM on September 18, 2004


As of Wednesday night, the man in the car is in critical condition. ... The preliminary cause of the accident is that the driver of the car failed to yield.
posted by crunchland at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2004


As far as the reporter not doing anything, what was he supposed to do? call 911? He could have assumed that someone at the TV station had. Othere then that, there isn't that much to do.
posted by delmoi at 8:33 AM on September 18, 2004


Um, did anyone else get the impression that this may have been live television and that the reason the reporter was stating the details instead of immediately running is because it'd be quicker for someone back in the newsroom to make a phone call?

That said, I doubt there's much to be gained by getting to the accident in the first fifteen seconds rather than half a minute later. It'd be pretty dumb for the news crew to dump the camera next to their vehicle and rush over. Outside of helping someone escape from a burning car, I can't think of anything that you can do immediately that doesn't actually put someone in more danger; moving someone in critical condition is usually left to the paramedics.
posted by mikeh at 8:34 AM on September 18, 2004


The cars were still moving when he said there had just been an accident, and he was smart to get the address out so quickly.

The red car should definitely have waited until the white van passed and their view to the left was clear.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:44 AM on September 18, 2004


While my first reaction was “shouldn’t you be calling an ambulance rather than just reporting on the issue?” I feel the outraged accusations of inhumanity on the part of the reporter, from some, are quite unjustified. It’s fairly clear that he was suffering from some degree of shock, and shock can make people act in peculiar ways. I find it doubtful he had reasoned on the alternatives and thoughy that he would rather carry on with his report than attempt to help the injured parties.
posted by ed\26h at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2004


All right, there's probably nothing he could have done to help the victims, but I know I would have run to their side to see if I could have offered assistance, and to give what comfort and aid that I could until paramedics arrived. I think that's what most people here are saying. But since the clip is so brief, there's no telling what happened.
posted by crunchland at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2004


This is America, where we believe accidents happen because of unsafe driving, and that unsafe driving is your own damn fault. Why design roads safer?

scarabic, please re-read my post above regarding the acquaintance whose wife was killed because a vehicle had a blowout on one side of the freeway, crossed the median, and hit her head on. Or imagine that the vehicle sizes were reversed in the video we watched, and it was a heavy truck that pulled out in front of a geo prizm.
posted by weston at 11:21 AM on September 18, 2004


I can't understand why so many are declaring this man to be a terrible person.

After the accident he says "there was just a major accident out here, hello, are you guys still there", which makes it pretty clear he's in two-way communication with the producers. He then gives the intersection and town name. Time elapsed since accident: 10 seconds.

After that, he spends 20 seconds figuring out what happened, and then our video cuts.
posted by mosch at 11:32 AM on September 18, 2004


Here's what some TV photographers are saying about the same incident on B-Roll.Net
posted by sycophant at 1:43 PM on September 18, 2004


Well, at least the audio of the accident sounds like it was a bad one!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:06 PM on September 18, 2004


tonight i was standing in the front yard

holy crap q, glad you were on the safe side of that 40 ft.
posted by t r a c y at 3:38 PM on September 18, 2004


I'm going to have to side with the "not much the reporter could have done" side. In first aid training in Boy Scouts, the #1 rule of car accidents is YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT MOVE THE VICTIM UNLESS LEAVING THEM THERE PUTS THEM IN IMMEDIATE DANGER. If they have had suffered a neck or back injury, moving them while they aren't strapped down to a spine board (can't remember the exact name for it) can damage their spinal cord and paralyze them for life. In fact, if the victim is conscious you should encourage them not to move until the paramedics arrive as they might be injured in this way and not realize it.
posted by TungstenChef at 5:42 PM on September 18, 2004


That's almost exactly how my wife was nearly killed on her motorcycle: driver at a stop sign was distracted to the right, didn't look left, and ran her over. The red-car driver is one awesome asshole delux-o-matic. Fortunately, he's the one paying the price, a situation completely opposite to my wife's. Grrr.

My favourite two automobile accident stories:

a) I live in a condo. From one side of the unit, it's one storey above ground (three on the frontside). My downstairs neighbours were well into their 80s. They had a buddy over. Buddy got shit-faced. Buddy decided to drive home. Buddy backs his American-built land yacht right onto the retaining curb, lifting the rear wheels well above the asphalt.

Hearing all that noise whilst lying in bed, I sit up and peer out the window. I watch as Buddy and Neighbour try to solve the problem. I consider the fact that they're both heading senile, and that it'd be better were I to get out and help. I consider that it's their own damn problem and I was asleep and maybe I should call the cops on the drunk driver. And then Buddy kicks a chock of wood under the rear wheel.

Dumbshit drunk that he is, Buddy has left the car in gear. The car now lurches forward and drives off the retaining wall. Right. Into. The. Building. In slow motion.

Very amusing. Popped a few gyproc nails in my bedroom wall, but most damage was confined to the lower unit.

b) Just finished watching a movie. It's about midnight. There is this terrific roaring sound, an earthshaking thud -- literally earthshaking, too -- a nails-on-chalkboard squeal of anguised metal, an amazing crash, and then the whole building shakes and shudders and makes Very Bad Noises.

Our building is about 20 feet vertical from the main road. Steep hill, hence the retaining wall mentioned in part (a).

Someone has launched off the main road, tumbled down the embankment, narrowly missed the utility pole guywire, smashed over the retaining wall instantly popping the tires, gouged through the asphalt, then smashed into my sister-in-laws brand-new Acura, pushing it through the garage door and through the wall.

Remarkable.

And that's why one wants insurance.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:00 PM on September 18, 2004


BTW, the #1 rule for motorcycle accidents is DO NOT REMOVE THE HELMET.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:02 PM on September 18, 2004


Yeah, unless cerebral fluid has escaped the nose and filled the helmet so there is a danger of drowning. But I hope that’s a situation none of us actually have to deal with.
posted by ed\26h at 5:48 AM on September 19, 2004


What I want to know is if quonsor's dog was still able to go. An event like that would have scared my little puppy shitless, literally.
posted by terrapin at 7:00 AM on September 19, 2004


short of that, is quonsar still able to go?
posted by crunchland at 7:19 AM on September 19, 2004


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