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Jogger Hit By Truck on GW Parkway Dies

by ARLnow.com | April 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | 6,216 views | 43 Comments

The jogger who was struck by a truck while waiting to cross the GW Parkway last week has died.

On Thursday afternoon Karen Dubin, 56, was waiting to cross the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway, south of Memorial Bridge, when she was struck by a pickup truck, according to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser. Dubin, of Bethesda, was transported to George Washington University Hospital. She succumbed to her injuries last night, Schlosser said.

Witness accounts posted here and on a blog created to update friends and family on Dubin’s condition shed light on how the accident happened. According to multiple accounts, Dubin was standing on the side of the Parkway near the north ramp to Memorial Bridge when a couple of cars stopped to let her cross. A pickup truck apparently didn’t see the stopped cars in time and swerved to avoid a rear-end collision. The truck struck Dubin and became pinned on top of her. Fellow joggers and other witnesses rushed to the scene and helped to lift the big truck off of Dubin while others called 911. She was conscious, alert and talking when she was brought to the hospital.

Schosser says the driver of the truck remained on the scene. No charges have been filed yet, but “the investigation is on-going,” he said.

Karen was “a loving and vibrant wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend,” according to those who knew her. She was an international trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, with degrees from George Washington University and Syracuse University, according to her LinkedIn page.

Photo via family blog

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  • Allan

    Very sad.

  • jan

    tragic

  • Xyzzy

    Tragic

  • Jan

    Karen was one of the most amazing women I have ever met. It is such a shock. She will be missed enormously.

  • Gil

    Heartbroken for the family!

  • ClizzleDizzle

    So very sad.

  • LyonSteve

    Very sad.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    Very sorry to hear the news.

  • KArlington

    As a runner, this is our nightmare. I’m so sad for her family and for the drivers involved.

  • BoredHouseWife

    very sad.

  • Steve

    As sad as this is, Maybe this will be the spark needed to get some changes made with regard to the parkway, both in terms of fixing dangerous crossings and merges. The parkway currently is one of the most scary places to drive in the area due to its outdated and horrible design that doesn’t work for the amount of traffic and speed of traffic in todays environment. It also is surprisingly unfriendly to pedestrian traffic considering it runs through what amounts to a park.

    • Steve

      *Correction – Maybe this will be the spark needed to get some changes made to both the dangerous crossings and merges, as well as with the pedestrian crossing points and layout of the pathways.

  • CW

    Very sad and indeed the worst nightmare for anyone who uses this part of the trail.

    Let’s just hope that something positive may come of this, be it in the form of increased awareness by drivers, extra vigilance by trail users, or even perhaps some sort of physical protection (guardrails) at those trail crossings.

    • Steve

      Believe me, most drivers ARE aware. That is too often the problem. Drivers who stop to let pedestrians cross are doing the wrong thing in terms of the current parkway design. The driver of the truck might be at fault for going too fast, but the cause of the accident was the drivers who stopped. You simply dont stop on a parkway like that unless signage specifically says to stop. In the end however, its a bad design that needs to be adjusted to be safer for both cars and pedestrians. Pedestrian bridges/tunnels or stop lights and rumble strips would be a start.

      • South Arlington

        You’re required by law to stop at the marked crosswalks for a pedestrian trying to cross. It’s part of the reason the speed limit is so slow on the Parkway.

        • arglebargle

          I think in this case, with this poorly designed intersection, there is no ‘right’ thing to do (regardless of what the law states).

          Stopping for pedestrians causes accidents like this one. Not stopping for pedestrians causes other obvious problems.

          Closing that path, building an over/under pass or adding a stop light would seem to be the only safe solutions.

          And dont even get me started on the dirt path crossing a little way up from the official crossing.

          That is a dangerous place for joggers/bikers. I’d never run there.

        • Steve

          Quote me the law, because im unaware of this law that requires traffic to stop at the crosswalk. The law states you must yield to a pedestrian IN the crosswalk. If someone were to step out into the crosswalk and is in the act of crossing you must yield to them, but if they are waiting to cross you are NOT supposed to stop to let them cross. I know its a fine line, and im not saying i agree with the set up, but when you have traffic moving at a high rate of speed, having drivers stop in the middle of the road without a stop sign or light is very dangerous.

          • South Arlington

            Just in general for Virginia, Virginia Code § 46.2-924 states that drivers must yield to pedestrians “AT” crosswalks, not “IN” crosswalks. I do know that APD has ticketed three of my friends for not yielding to pedestrians waiting to cross “AT” non-intersection crosswalks along Fairfax Dr. and Wilson Blvd. in Ballston.

            This is Federal parkland, so the Virginia law shouldnt’ apply though. I’m not familiar with the Federal law’s wording.

          • Westover

            Local/State Law applies along with Federal law in the Park. But, the the area is actually DC land, not Virginia. It is part of Columbia Island. That said, the cross walk rules apply to areas where the Speed Limit is UNDER 35 MPH. I am pretty sure it is 40 or 45 there.

          • Xyzzy

            25

        • Rick

          Is that a county law, state law, or federal law? It all depends on that. As much as it stinks, stopping for pedestrians might not be the norm on NPS roadways

      • CW

        Steve – I do not want to drag this down into the mud since this article is about a terribly sad outcome to a tragedy that should not have happened. Therefore this will be my only comment. To your point about drivers stopping being the “cause of the accident”, and your statement that they shouldn’t stop “unless signage specifically says to stop” I offer this:

        http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=38.883476,-77.056589&spn=0,0.01134&z=17&layer=c&cbll=38.883476,-77.056589&panoid=eM2EFhPgCDNSnJenAXMb8Q&cbp=12,320.58,,0,12.26

        This looks to me to be a sign saying, in plain language “Hey, drivers, there are pedestrians crossing here, in this marked crosswalk” and thus, implicitly “you should stop”. While it is not a bright red STOP sign, I do consider this to qualify as the signage to which you allude.

        • Steve

          That signage simply lets drivers know there is a crosswalk there. It in no way requires or forces drivers to stop. As i replied to south arlington, drivers must yield to pedestrians IN the crosswalk. IN implies they are crossing already. As i also said, i dont agree with the law, and to be honest i would love to stop and let the pedestrians cross myself, but i also realize how the traffic moves there and as such stopping is more dangerous for the pedestrian and drivers then not stopping.

          Its the same situation as going slower then surrounding traffic. If the speed limit is 50 and your going 35… your more dangerous then traffic going 55, even though a slower speed should be safer.

        • Westover

          The position of that sign does nothing to warn unfamiliar drivers until it is pretty much too late.

      • Chad

        Tragic story. My thoughts are with the family.

        Steve illustrates a significant problem in this area (and others). Drivers simply don’t know the rules of the road. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks. Simple as that.

  • KGDC

    This is such a sad tragedy. From what’s been written, this looks like a terrible accident. I hope this brings awareness and that proper running lanes can be created that don’t interfere with vehicle traffic. There’s room for both, but is an inevitable consequence of poor road management when they cross. My heart and prayers go out to the runner, her family and the truck driver who all are irreparably stricken by this tragedy.

  • MC 703

    I am involved in near misses on the GW parkway between 395 and Spout Run almost everyday. People drive extremely fast and aggressively like I have not seen on any other road in the area.

    With multiple merges and forks and slight lefts and rights often within a few hundred yards of each other instead of a mile apart like most highway exits/onramps it is indeed a very dangerous road. Slow down everyone. Driving that extra 10-15 miles per hour for a 2mile segment saves you a few seconds and puts everyone at risk.

    • Steve

      While i agree that people should slow down, a complete road redesign would be the best fix for the troubles in this case. Unfortunately due to the strange nature of the area (shared VA/DC space + in a park) means that getting even the most minor changes done takes years and years if its even possible.

  • Me

    Unbelievably sad. She was a vibrant and loving mother, wife and friend. The picture above shows her husband in the background (tan sweater) and my heart goes out to her family.

  • brendan

    this is awful… hopefully this catches someone’s eye at the park service – that crossing is extremely dangerous and have seen many close calls there.

    • Arlwhenever

      If not already there, it would cost next to nothing for the National Park Service to install a bright yellow “Caution Ped Xing Ahead” sign a hundred or two hundred yards up the road at this dangerous crossing — that would encourage at least some drivers to take their foot off the accelerator.

  • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

    This isn’t the proper forum for a debate about pedestrian laws. Please go to the previous article, where it has been discussed at length.

    • hooooos

      +1

  • Jason S.

    People can argue about what the law is or is not and how the law *should* be all they like, but the law in question is available @ http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-924

    • John

      That law doesnt apply here as its VA law. Technically this land is part of DC, but its actually under NPS control.

      • Jason S.

        Well, that explains much of the confusion. I looked for laws on this on NPS land and came up empty.

  • GOB

    The horrible thing is, she was doing the right thing and the person who stopped to let her cross was only trying to be nice, but they should’ve let traffic continue to flow. In areas where drivers are supposed to stop, the signs are clearly marked. I’ve driven, as well as run, on GW Parkway numerous times and I thought it was pretty obvious that cars have the right away.

    The situation with the truck only highlights how unnecessarily fast people tend to go on GW Parkway (which is also plagued with narrow lanes, unending construction, and somewhat confusing signage if you’re new to the area).

    • Arlwhenever

      When a vehicle stops to let me cross a street I always glance at the following traffic for the very reason that someone might slip by. I tell my kids to always assume another car is coming. No matter what the law is or what one’s rights are, it pays to look twice.

  • 4Arl

    Such a sad and tragic outcome- my thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends

  • Lacey Forest

    I can easily see how this accident happened, as it almost happened to me a few years ago. It was a multi-line roadway with a marked crosswalk. I was in the left lane and the line of cars in the right lane, headed by a van, stopped to let a pedestrian into the crosswalk, although because of the height of the van, I could not see the pedestrian. If the pedestrian had not had the presence of mind to stop in front of the van and peer around it to see if there was oncoming traffic in the left lane, I’m not sure I would have had enough time to react if the pedestrian had just continued into the left lane. Even if the lead car in the right lane had been a car (almost anything other than a Miata) I’m not sure I would have been looking through its windows to see what was in front of it.

  • Unreal

    It took 11 comments before comments devolved into a “my point is better than your point” argument.

  • CW

    Agreed. My original statement was that I hoped that some good could somehow come of this, and I still hope that it can.

  • Cupcake Lover

    Thoughts and prayers go out to her family..

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