[OP-ED] 4 Year Old Alessa Killed in Koreatown Reveals How Irresponsible Drivers Are

Jay Yim, Oct. 21, 2019, 4:24 p.m.

The life of a four-year-old girl was taken on October 16, 2019, after a driver hit her and her mother. The girl's name was Alessa.

Alessa and her mother were crossing the street that day at Olympic Boulevard and Normandie Avenue in Koreatown. As they were crossing, a woman crashed into them and fatally wounded the mother and daughter. The mother was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Alessa was taken to Childrens Hospital, but sucummbed to her wounds and died.

The media accounted the crash which cast the driver in a positive light, saying that she remained at the scene and was "upset" and "distraught."

According to reports, both the driver and the pedestrians had the green light (one to cross the street, and one to make the left turn). However, this means that the driver broke the law by failing to yield to the pedestrians.

Other reports say that Alessa was killed because there was no crossing guard. However, just last month, there was a hit-and-run driver who killed a cross guard who was helping people cross a San Fernando Valley street. It's obvious that the community doesn't realize the deeper issue.

Newscasters emphasized that Olympic Boulevard had been re-opened to car traffic, as if the concern of viewers is when the road will open up again, when a child was killed because of an irresponsible driver. There is not enough, if at all, on Alessa, who was just four-years-old, and how her life was unfairly taken away from her because some irresponsible driver "forgot to check". Oops, oh well, I messed up, and I showed concern, so all is forgiven.

Alessa was not the only person who was killed in LA that same day. Another pedestrian was killed at the intersection of Pico and Sepulveda in a hit-and-run situation in West Los Angeles.

I drive enough in Koreatown, and all over the Los Angeles county, to know just how irresponsible and blind drivers are when they drive. It's like all they care about and see is themselves, being negligent of their surroundings. I've been in situations where I have almost been struck by cars. One time I was crossing the street with an eletric scooter and almost could have potentially lost my life because some lady ran a stop sign. On top of that, she was going well over the speed limit.

With Alessa's death (and most likely all the others), led to a protest to put an end to all traffic related deaths. The protests were initially spearheading by three L.A. bike commuters named Andres Quinche, Bob Frederick, and Tom Carroll.

There is something called "Vision Zero", which is an international effort to end all traffic related deaths. The city of Los Angeles has an initiative for Vision Zero. It debuted as Eric Garcetti's mayoral directive in 2015, and later that year, was adopted as an official city policy, which is apart of the Mobility Plan. The efforts of Vision Zero (which was to be led by LADOT in collaboration with LAPD, Cultural Affairs, Public Works, and several others), however, was poorly funded, and blocked by several pro-car councilmembers.

The location where Alessa was killed is identified as part of the Vision Zero priority High Injury Network in 2015, and still remains today. However, elected officials and city staff did not make the necessary saftey improvements, which would have saved Alessa's life, and her mother would not have to suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally, coping with the lost of her much too young daughter.

We, as the community, can continue to take action, and only hope that our voices will be heard, so we never have to hear about another Alessa being killed.

Let's drive smart and safe, and look out for oncoming pedestrians, and even cars when we are the pedestrians. Our condolences go out to Alessa and her family. Rest in Peace.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know in the comments below.

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