• Georgia: Mother Gets Retrial in Jaywalking Death

    by  • July 27, 2011 • Injuries and Fatalities, Transit • 0 Comments

    Even though it will expose her to the possibility of serving jail time, a Georgia mother has opted for an offer of a retrial of her earlier conviction for vehicular homicide.

    In a case that seems like something out of George Orwell or Franz Kafka, Georgia mother Raquel Nelson was convicted of vehicular homicide in the death of her 4 year old son…even though she wasn’t driving a vehicle.

    There are many questions about this case that even a casual observer of our legal system would be curious to know the answers to. For example:

    1) What is the name of the prosecutor who decided to charge a pedestrian – whose child was hit and killed by a car – with vehicular homicide?

    2) Where did he or she attend law school?

    3) Did he or she really pass the bar exam?

    4) Does the prosecutor in question have a history of drug abuse or mental illness?

    Someone who is not a prosecutor in Georgia might be tempted to think that Ms. Nelson’s grief and despair and – no doubt – guilt at the momentary lapse of attention that may have contributed to the death of her 4-year old son might be sufficient punishment in and of itself. But in Georgia, apparently, the death of a child is insufficient punishment for jaywalking. Jail time is also necessary, lest there be any ambiguity at all about who is at fault when a child is killed on one of our crazy high speed roads.


    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever. Delaware is now officially ranked as the #3 Bicycle Friendly State in America.

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