The annual pop culture, movie and comic gathering Comic-Con in San Diego has unexpectedly brought forth some interesting questions over who is responsible for a woman hit by a car. Differing opinions of what actually happened, the oddity of the situation, and the subjective beliefs of the parties all have created enough confusion, that the driver who struck the pedestrian will not be charged.
What Exactly Happened?
The San Diego Comic-Con, which concluded last week, featured a “zombie walk” (although the walk was not an official function of the comic-con, but was apparently staged by zombie fans). The event entails individuals dressed as zombies, walking the streets in celebration of the zombie pop culture phenomenon.
At one point in the walk, the crowd crossed a street, and according to one report, held up traffic for a good ten minutes. A car waiting for the crowd to pass lurched forward, to try to part the crowd, and then sped away at high speed, striking a woman. But the agreement in facts apparently stops there.
The passengers in the car, all members of the driver’s family, were all deaf, and some were young children. The children became quite frightened, causing the driver to try to slowly lurch forward, likely in an effort to get the zombie crowd to part. Any parent of young children–particularly deaf or handicapped ones–can relate to the concern of the parent in reacting to the children’s fear.
Upon lurching forward, the “zombies” (and non-costumed members of the walk) became aggressive, sitting on or hitting the vehicle. When the driver sped up to get away, he hit and injured a woman in the crowd. The members of the walk claim that they were peaceful, although video of the event showing them sitting on the car’s hood may suggest otherwise.
With all of the confusion and contradiction, it appears that the driver will not be charged with any crime.
Differing Opinions Matter
The situation illustrates how factual nuances can make the difference between a criminal act, and an act where nobody is charged. If a driver slowly lurches forward to try to protect scared, deaf children in the car, that may be a reasonable act. If the driver honks his horn first to try to get the crowd to clear a path, that may be an act showing an initially peaceful intent by the driver. If a driver speeds away to avoid rowdy crowds, where people may be sitting on the hood or banging windows, and injures someone, that may be self-defense, or at least a reasonably justified act. A car surrounded by a few people may not be justified in speeding away and injuring someone, but a car surrounded by hundreds in a mob may be justified.
Facts, often disputed and nuanced ones, make all the difference, and even with video, the facts can be interpreted by a number of ways by a jury or even a prosecutor deciding whether to charge a crime or not.
The criminal defense attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC have extensive experience defending the rights of individuals that have been charged with a crime and investigating all the facts related to their case. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Maryland, contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today.