Last Friday, the Michigan State Police announced a new statewide campaign beginning this week, Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, aiming to reduce crashes, fatalities and serious injuries caused by aggressive driving.  So the first day of the week we see some driving that seems awfully aggressive happen in Oceana County which has led to the death of a young girl and possibly her dad less than a week before Father's Day.

The Oceana County Press reports:

"The Michigan State Police, Hart post, is investigating a fatal crash that occurred Monday night, June 3, on Webster Road west of 72nd Avenue shortly before 10 p.m.


“Preliminary investigation showed that a 1994 International farm truck left the roadway and struck two pedestrians and a dog walking on the shoulder of the road,” states an MSP press release. “The farm truck was operated by a 57-year-old Rothbury man.”


Kaitlynn Scott, 14, was pronounced dead at the scene, and her father, Eric Scott, was transported by Life EMS to Mercy Health Partners Hackley Campus in Muskegon with life-threatening injuries.


Alcohol and drug use are not believed to be contributing factors in the traffic crash.


Portions of Webster Road were closed for approximately five hours while troopers investigated the crash."

Few can imagine what it would be like to lose a cherished daughter like Kaitlynn Scott in such circumstances, especially if you're a father like Eric Scott was who, along with his wife, allowed his daughter to have a such lot of life experiences which he captured in pictures and displayed proudly on social media.  

If the preliminary investigation is correct, and there's no reason to believe that it isn't, why is the 57 year old driver/killer who left the roadway to run into these two people not housed in a correctional facility for reckless driving while they conduct the forensic tests needed to determine whether other charges may apply?  Is going off the road to run into a father, daughter and dog not aggressive enough to count this week?  Or is he just going to be like countless other reckless motorists that kill pedestrians and bikers through negligence or inattentiveness and get away with murder, without even receiving as much as a ticket?

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Shocking report and results so far. Sincere condolences to the entire family, and hope the father survives, very sad.

I am praying for the father's recovery of health, and recovery of spirit after such a loss of the daughter he adores.  I am further praying that he uses this incident to fight for the rights of vulnerable users of the roadway (BMPs).  You see, Eric Scott is not only a fantastic father, but (ironically) also supervisor of the Muskegon County Road Commission.  You will see him in a video here explaining snow plowing:  "The people driving these trucks, there's so many things they are watching for, and it's those things they can't see that scare them the most. A young child behind a tall snowbank, playing in a snow fort, that's dangerous business."

This is a guy who understood roads and how trucks should use them, I do not want to hear anybody say or infer that he and his daughter were somehow at fault here, without compelling evidence to the contrary.  It just won't be believable.

"I do not want to hear anybody say or infer that he and his daughter were somehow at fault here, without compelling evidence to the contrary." But your willing to step forward and declare the driver at fault without compelling evidence. If the driver is shown to be guilty then that's a matter for the Courts to decide. And since when do you order people to refrain from commenting with opinions that you disagree with. Frankly I'm surprised at your attitude.

I consider a complete preliminary investigation and what it says in the news release as compelling evidence showing a truck left the roadway and struck two people and a dog that weren't on the roadway.  The only investigations remaining would be forensic: seeing the truck's crash data (if it has that capacity), testing the sobriety of the driver, the driver's cell phone, etc.

The prelim should have already gotten a statement from the driver, and have a reconstructed accident where the positions and movements of the parties should be determined.  No mitigating factors have been suggested or implied, the physics behind the accident cannot be altered-- car left roadway, struck two people, killed at least one and their little dog too.  Way more than enough is there to charge him for felony reckless driving and add on if the forensics say more.  

The court will eventually decide his fate, not me, and my hope is that Eric Scott survives and explains to that court exactly what that driver did wrong and why he deserves strong punishment.

This is definitely a tragedy not only for her family but for the family of the man who hit her. I don't agree that the driver of the vehicle should be locked up. Not until he has been proven guilty of a crime that carries a jail sentence. We don't know anything about the accident. How far were the people off the road? A few feet or twenty? Did the driver swerve to miss an animal or was there a mechanical problem? Until the facts are in I can't make any kind of judgement as to what happened or where the responsibility for this lays. It only takes a second for your life to change so hug your kids, family and friends whenever you get the chance.

I realize we have different perspectives on what should be done when an at-fault or negligent motorist crashes into vulnerable users of the road using that road (or shoulder of the road, in this case) lawfully.  I even know that our laws and police think more along your lines.  

But what I have been advocating for since I created BUMPS is to value human life using the roads for travel or just because they need to cross them.  When a person gets hit on a bike or as a pedestrian, the victim should have the benefit of prima facie innocence, heaven knows they often do not get a say in the matter.

For example, if a bicyclist is hit from behind and killed by a motorist, instead of taking the motorist's word that the cyclist swerved out in front of him at the last minute, the investigator accepts that the rider was doing things lawfully, until it can be proven otherwise.  

Here, the preliminary report offered the morning after by the MSP's reconstruction team indicates that the truck left the roadway and struck two pedestrians and a dog walking on the shoulder of the road.  The victims were lawfully where they were, the farm truck had to get off the road to hit them.  Nothing in the news release or the original two articles by the OCP and Shoreline Media says there were any factors or excuses as to why that took place.  Lock the driver up, he killed somebody while operating a vehicle negligently.

What makes me very agitated, is that there has been about ten other 'news' agencies offering their own distinct report over this (there are more that just copy others), reflect that the MSP was investigating, but they all neglect to put in their article that the farm truck left the roadway to strike these folks, even when it is written in the MSP's investigation report.  They would have you believe that the farm truck's extra width hit them while they were too close to the road.

I'm sure your not suggesting that the driver be put behind bars before the investigation has been completed and proof of his guilt is found if there is proof. I'm not implying who is at fault only that I have observed over and over poor behavior by drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. If I were a police officer I would not start an investigation assuming the pedestrian, cyclist or driver were guilty or innocent. I would follow the facts and evidence. Prima facia innocense does not uncover facts or get to the truth. If you don't trust the police then that's another topic for discussion.

That is what I'm suggesting.  The findings from the preliminary investigation warrant the maneuver, but Michigan laws are lacking when it comes to people outside of motor vehicles using the road for travel, so you won't generally see an arrest even if the driver has no excuse.  Here's one of the big reasons why I make these claims.

MCL 257.402A states:  "In any action, in any court in this state when it is shown by competent evidence, that a vehicle traveling in a certain direction, overtook and struck the rear end of another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or lawfully standing upon any highway within this state, the driver or operator of such first mentioned vehicle shall be deemed prima facie guilty of negligence."

This does not have a companion law that says if you strike a pedestrian standing off the road even if their back is what you hit that it is prima facie negligence, yet if you put that person  in a car and in the roadway and strike them you are presumed guilty.  It makes no sense to me.

Likewise, even though the state recently passed a three foot passing law for passing bicycles, if you strike that bicycle traveling lawfully on the right side of the lane as you pass it, there is nothing in the law saying what that law above said about prima facie guilt that applies in this case simply because Michigan law does not define a bicycle as a 'vehicle'.  That's why this 3 foot passing rule is a useless law.

I'm not well versed in the law but it seems to me that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Locking someone up without proof of guilt, unless that person is deemed dangerous, is basic to our rights. Even in your example above, [ "MCL 257.402A states:  "In any action, in any court in this state when it is shown by competent evidence, that a vehicle traveling in a certain direction, overtook and struck the rear end of another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or lawfully standing upon any highway within this state, the driver or operator of such first mentioned vehicle shall be deemed prima facie guilty of negligence," ] calls for evidence to be presented in court. The driver in this case may be guilty of negligence but must be proven so. Even in the example it refers to a vehicle overtaking another vehicle but even then there are mitigating circumstances such as how fast the front vehicle was moving, say, 5 mph in a 70 mph zone, also did the vehicle have proper lighting, etc, So, jumping from an accident to putting someone in jail without proof of wrong doing just doesn't make much sense to me.

A week later, Muskegon Road Commission Supervisor Eric Scott is dead, killed from injuries sustained from this accident.  Telling is the article giving us updates of what happened. 

"State police are still trying to figure out exactly why it happened. They're inspecting the six-wheel truck and its equipment.  They don't believe the driver had been drinking or was on drugs, but detectives took his blood nonetheless and seized his cellphone as potential evidence.
"It appears that the truck did slightly leave the roadway and go onto the shoulder. For what reason, we have not been able to determine that yet," White told 24 Hour News 8 last week."

Trooper Sherlock, you ever think of asking the driver why it happened?  You did, and didn't get a satisfactory answer or alibi that would absolve him of all guilt?   Prosecutor surely doesn't like these cases, it would be so much easier had the Scotts been in a car themselves, the laws are so clear then.

If you arrested him, he could have been arraigned and we would all know what he thought happened almost a week ago, some time in jail may have jogged his memory.  If he didn't remember, do we really want that guy back on the road behind the wheel of his multi-ton instrument of death?

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