Pedestrian Killed in Amber Township but is it His Fault Alone?

There has been a rash of car-pedestrian crashes lately in our area, some have been inexcusable, where pedestrians have been hit near buses with their lights flashing.  But tonight, one claimed the life of a young Riverton Township man, crossing the street out in front of Meijers.  Here is the recap from the MCP which tells some of the particulars about this incident.  Mindful that not all of the data about this incident is out or corroborated, read and see whether you're troubled about  how this occurred.


AMBER TOWNSHIP — A 20-year-old Riverton Township man died after being struck by three vehicles while crossing US 10-31 about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The crash occurred in the 3800 block of US 10-31, just east of Brye Road and caused US 10-31 to be closed between Brye and Dennis roads. According to Mason County Sheriff Sgt. Jeremy King, the man was crossing the highway from the north to the south and walked into the path of traffic. He was not at a crosswalk. The three vehicles that struck the man were eastbound and included a Ford F-150 pickup truck, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, and a Dodge Neon.
The pedestrian was transported by ambulance to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital where he was declared dead. Sunday would have been his 21st birthday.
Responding to the scene were Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Pere Marquette Township Fire Department, Ludington Fire Department, and Life EMS.
The crash remains under investigation. The name of the victim is not being released until notification of extended family.

The time this occurred was after dark, I actually passed by this area less than fifteen minutes before going west.  The area is well-lit after dark; anybody paying attention to the highway should be able to notice a person on the side of it.  

This person, however, crossed three full lanes of traffic before he would have been hit (had he been hit in the turn lane, one would suppose this would have been in the article) by three east-going vehicles.   Presuming the man rushed across at 10 mph, (roughly 15 feet per second), the first one to hit him would have had about three seconds to react.  The report says he walked, so in that case it would have been more than twice that time to react.

Now, if this vehicle was going the speed limit, three seconds wouldn't be enough time to brake to a full stop, but it could have been three seconds for an alert driver to proactively avert the collision by slowing down and turn away from the collision.  Then there's the case of whether he made it to the median, stopped, then darted in front of the lead vehicle.  But the initial report doesn't suggest that happened. 

Say he actually walked across as per the report and was hit about ten seconds or more into his journey by a vehicle whose crash computer indicated there was no deceleration in that period.  Can we fault just the pedestrian if that is the case when the law says drivers must exercise due caution in such situations?


Drivers must keep alert to their driving, lest their moments of inattention to the roadway spell doom for others or themselves by the nation's most dangerous weapon.  There won't be an investigation in this case of the driver's behavior, however, nor whether he was distracted or impaired, if the usual protocols for this county are followed.

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Shocking and very sad, must be a lot more details to explain this accident too. What I can't understand right away is how three vehicles all his this man at the same time?

MCP reported he crossed 700ft from crosswalk.  So directly across from Applebee's. It is darker over there, but still too much missing info.  Feel anguish for family and drivers, horrible accident.

It's a sad and tragic accident for sure. Prayers go out to the young mans family and also to the 3 victims driving the vehicles. They of coarse have to live with the tragedy that was forced upon them. Why someone would venture out onto a darkened highway  with vehicles coming with their headlights on is beyond comprehension.  It was stated he was talking on a cell phone? to who and what was the conversation ?  that might give us some hint of what was going on in his mind at the time that he just started walking into the traffic.

Brad makes two good points, the latter article's mention of 700 ft. (rather than 'just east of Brye Rd') pushes the accident over to the private drive near Applebee's, the eastern entrance road to Meijer's. There are two street lights nearby but it is darker than it would be near the gas station.

Permit me to use Mlive's article about the accident, which agrees with and complements some of the bits and pieces added in the MCP article.  "A 20-year-old Pentwater man [Jordan James] died Saturday night after he was struck by three vehicles while attempting to cross U.S. 10 about 700 feet away from an available crosswalk.  Deputies wrote that one witness described James as being on his cell phone, holding it up to his right ear while crossing south across the U.S. 10. All three vehicles that struck James approached from his right side.  

As he crossed the westbound lane into the center turn lane, James was struck by a 2010 Ford F-150 pickup truck traveling eastbound attempting to use the center lane.  The impact threw James toward the curb, where he was struck twice more by an eastbound 2012 Chevy Silverado pickup truck and a 2005 Dodge Neon."


Read this carefully.  The F-150 (pictured above entered the turn lane to turn into the easternmost Meijer's road, struck the man, then he was flung southward where he was struck by two more eastbound vehicles.

As I see it, the F-150 driver entered a lane where he should have saw this man crossing the highway.  Who would enter a turn lane without making sure it was clear first?  I still can't gauge how a driver would not see a person crossing at that well lit corner. 

But then the man's body went south, showing that the walking man had been hit by the right side of this truck, meaning that the man was well into that lane when he was struck (consider the movement vectors and the way the trucks front is rounded).   

And as for darkness, there was the witness who said Jordan was holding a cell phone to his ear.  The most likely witness would have been the driver of the F-150, however, the press release does not imply that the witness was the driver.  So why wouldn't the witness have been the person who plowed into Jordan in the turn lane who not only had street lamps but his headlights to see that?

To me, the evidence points more to the scenario that Jordan James was crossing the highway, stopped in the turn lane because eastbound traffic was thick, and then the F-150 to his surprise, entered that lane and struck him.  Eastbound traffic typically turns into Meijer's at Brye Rd. or the entrance just east of the gas station, so I am of the belief, that the driver made a hasty decision that he needed to stop by Meijer's at the last second.  The crash data of this driver should be looked at, as should their cell phone records.

Wow, I had not seen that report.  Nice that statewide media reports better then local.

Not to dismiss that fault is more on drivers then Jordan, but.....

I don't use light at that corner, as you're a sitting duck.  I usually do use the far east entrance (for groceries, once entered, has only 2 oncoming traffic, east entrance has 4).  Someone using left turn lane at that east entrance has probably gained speed from Brye if stopped or continued speed thru light, at average in that area is closer to 60 then 55.  IF, JJ was running or quickly walking, maybe even regular walking pace, and driver at their speed, was entering that lane to turn, watching oncoming traffic, along with watching approaching traffic from behind, even if a glance, would be enough to not catch JJ passing in front of them.  Also, imo, very unlikely to see people crossing anywhere in that area, even at Brye.  That area can be crazy at times, especially at night, along with wet roads. 

I don't think the Meijer east entrance should exist. even for west bound, with cars at full speed up to 65mph+.  

Also that is not a 2010 F150, this is-

Image result for 2010 f150

A little more square, not so "rounded" corners, but agree that if he was hit front right, or even right side front, with speed would still throw JJ to the south.

Drivers are by far much worse then they ever have been in the past, everywhere.  Drive safe.

Again just trying to give another view and I feel driver is more at fault the JJ.


Thanks for another good point that I overlooked, that a 2010 F-150 would look different than the more recent model I used.  

The weather that night was not rainy wet or windy.  Checking Weather Underground history:

Still not satisfied, I followed the F-150's route this evening after dark, a similar night to November 3rd, and found that it was more well lit there than I had thought.  The light just off the road east of Meijer, shines a lot of bright light, and I couldn't imagine not seeing a pedestrian approaching the middle lane on the approach to that point. 

I invite you and others to follow the F-150's route after dark in nice weather like I did and give me your impression of whether you could miss seeing a pedestrian walking to the turn lane (even in the darkest clothes imaginable) in the seconds leading up to turning left and entering the middle lane.  If this driver had been alert and paying attention, Jordan James would have been able to enjoy his 21st birthday with his friends and family rather than having them attend his funeral with everybody thinking he died by distractedly walking in front of a vehicle.

I also feel for the pedestrians family and the drivers. I don't have much sympathy for anyone foolish enough to cross such a busy road especially after dark. Sorry X but you seem to have a built in bias against motor vehicle operators and a strong leaning toward those who travel without them. How are drivers supposed to keep alert to all that is going on and somehow avoid people who completely ignore common sense and put themselves and others in danger. It was just plain luck that a chain reaction of cars crashing into each other did not occur because of the foolish actions of the pedestrian. There could have been multiple deaths if the drivers had not reacted in a safe manner.  The people that hit him will now have to live the rest of their lives with the visions of this tragedy playing over and over in their heads.

First off, I wouldn't consider anybody foolish simply for having to cross a busy highway after dark.  Jordan James looks to have crossed at a well-lit 'intersection', as well within his right to travel from point A to point B.  I bet hundreds, thousands of pedestrians previous to him have crossed Ludington Avenue after dark at that intersection without getting hit, and he would have gotten through too if somebody didn't change their lane just to strike him. 

I have an expectation, more than a bias, that vehicle operators have a duty to handle their 5000 lb. instrument with due care so as not to deprive other users of the road of their right to travel and their right to live.  Just as I have an expectation that a gun owner will have a similar duty (and enough common sense) to not set up a target at Rotary Park and start shooting at it, I have an expectation that someone driving a F-150 at night will have the common sense and decency to keep his attention towards the highway in front of him so unnecessary tragedies like this are less likely to happen.   

What is missing in this accident and the one that claimed the woman's life crossing Ludington Avenue at Jackson Road earlier this summer, is the complete lack of diligence made by the investigating officials to investigate the driver's apparent lack of what was going on in the road ahead of them.  The crash records in the vehicle's computer can tell exactly what the car's speed and direction was up to five seconds before a crash.  

What I am biased against is drivers, police agents and media willing to give other drivers a free pass when accidents like this happen because they also have a tendency to drive distractedly and but for the grace of God they could get in similar accidents.  I refuse to drive so irresponsibly.

Just because hundreds have made the same decision to cross a 5 lane, very busy road, after dark doesn't make this person's decision any less foolish than the proceeding hundreds. You make it sound like he was making a rational, logical decision and if it weren't for those nasty motor vehicles he would have been just fine. I think of all the topics we disagree on i'ts the traffic accidents we rarely see eye to eye on. On a percentage basis I observe  much more foolish behavior with pedestrians, motorcycles and bicyclists than I do with car and truck drivers. Just today alone I had to brake for a pedestrian crossing Ludington Ave  just 50 ft. from an intersection with a crosswalk and traffic light.

And I thank you for paying enough attention and having enough compassion so as to recognize that pedestrian and stop in time for them earlier today.  Yet, as our county leaders desire to make the PM corridor more pedestrian & bicycle friendly, these non-motorists will need to cross five lane highways with a degree of safety during the day and night. 

It seems to me to be irrational and illogical for the police and media to go out of their way to show in these two incidents (here and at Jackson Road) were solely the fault of the pedestrians who got killed by what were definitely inattentive drivers, unlike yourself.  They point at what they were wearing, and what they were doing (crossing a street at an intersection after dark) and say they were to blame, and not afford the motorist any fault. 

It's kind of like what the police often did with women claiming rape in the past.  "You wore that, you foolishly hung around there after dark in those clothes-- you deserved what you got."  Exactly what's happened in these cases, and the victim's are dead so they cannot defend their actions; the investigators must.  The police have gotten wiser in rape issues since, it's time to wise up for pedestrians exercising their well-protected right to travel at night.  


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