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Update to Deep Ellum Hit and Run

Submitted by on March 25, 2013 – 9:38 pm8 Comments

Earlier this month, Melanie Jarrett and Sean Clancy were hit by a red-light running motorist while they were cycling in Deep Ellum. The original story was covered by Robert Wilonsky on the Dallas Morning News Crime Blog: “Cycling advocates out for a ride are victims of hit and run near Deep Ellum after truck runs red light”.

Melanie Jarrett and Sean Clancy, photo by Kyle Coburn

After the story was published, many of us in the cycling community were concerned that this would become “yet another” crash that simply ignored and left behind. Personally, I believe that strict Enforcement of the laws that we have right now (such as not running red lights) would go a long, long way toward improving the safety of the roadways in our community. Thankfully, Jenny Rilling at BikeDFW (and Bike Friendly Richardson) jumped into action by helping to draft a letter to send to the City Council and other city leaders. Very little was heard back from anyone, and it looked like the story was about to just fall away again.

However, this afternoon, just a few hours after sending another follow-up email to the City Council and various leaders, I received a phone call from Sgt. Sanchez of the Hit and Run Traffic Division of the Dallas Police Department.

Sgt. Sanchez  said that the investigation was definitely still underway, and that the license plate number provided to the department is now under an APB watch. Whenever someone is pulled over for a traffic violation, the police officer runs the license plate in their computers. If an APB has been issued, the computer informs the officer that a watch has been issued for this vehicle. In this case, the officer would be  instructed to identify the occupants and have the vehicle towed immediately.

After talking with Sgt. Sanchez, I definitely got the sense that the Dallas Police Department is actually working on this case. There is a detective assigned to the case and some good, workable leads are being pursued. They don’t want it to fall off the radar any more than we do, and want to find the responsible party.

I expressed my own frustration to Sgt. Sanchez that these types of cases seem to go into a black hole for the public and we’d like to see more public resolution so that folks don’t think it’s acceptable to break the law. He shared my concern and allowed me to share all of this information with the public.

If I am informed of any further updates, I’ll be posting them on this blog post.

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Eliot Landrum has been riding bicycles of all shapes and sizes since he was a kid, and has found a new love of cycling in Dallas as an adult. Eliot shares the joy of safe cycling with others through the CyclingSavvy DFW bicycle traffic safety workshops and leading small social rides in East Dallas. You can find his photos and various geeky writings on his personal blog.

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