Pedestrian Killed by Vehicle on North Freeway in Houston, TX
Houston, TX -- April 18, 2022, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking along the North Freeway in Houston.
Authorities say the incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on the North Freeway near Parker Road. Preliminary investigation suggests only that the pedestrian was walking in the northbound lanes of the freeway when a passing vehicle fatally struck her. The driver remained at the scene after the collision and cooperated with investigators; reports say he showed no signs of impairment.
The investigation continues as police try to determine why the pedestrian was walking on the freeway. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Auto-Pedestrian Accident on North Freeway in Houston
One thing people don't always realize about pedestrian accidents is that they're more complex than just finding out who had the right-of-way. After these terrible incidents I see people shrug and blame the pedestrian unless he was in a crosswalk with a "WALK" signal. Moreover, police pointed out it's illegal to walk on the highway according to the Texas Transportation Code. Those are important points to consider, of course, but the law looks at the broader circumstances of these crashes and makes sure all their details are accounted for.
For instance, reports about the Houston incident say the victim was walking in the northbound lanes of the highway. Some may take that to mean she's automatically at fault and there's little else to say, but if a careful investigation finds that the driver was doing something that prevented them from reacting appropriately, they could be responsible for the collision whether or not the victim had the right-of-way.
On the other side of that, if evidence shows the driver had no way to reasonably avoid the victim then it would be unfair to hold them accountable for that. Police seem to have ruled out intoxication on the driver's part, but that still leaves questions about visibility, distraction, speeding, and many others that need to be resolved to ensure the accident is fully understood.
Speaking of intoxication, the driver's condition may not be the only one to carefully investigate. I'm pointing no fingers, but intoxicated pedestrians sometimes end up where they shouldn't be after leaving local bars or other alcohol-serving businesses and getting disoriented. I recently worked on a case where a man was killed on a freeway on-ramp after leaving a bowling alley where he was drastically over-served. When a business breaks the law by providing drinks to obviously intoxicated customers, that business may be responsible for the damage they cause or suffer under dram shop law.
I don't say all that to say I know what really happened out there on the North Freeway. I also don't want to suggest that pedestrians always have the right-of-way (another common misconception). It's just important folks keep in mind that these accidents are not always as straightforward as they may seem. A full investigation must be conducted to be sure the victim's loved ones receive the answers they deserve.