LANCASTER – A woman in a motorized wheelchair was struck and killed by a car in Lancaster Saturday night, authorities said.
The fatal collision happened around 7:53 p.m. Saturday, April 11, on Sierra Highway south of Avenue J-2, according to Sgt. Metten of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
Preliminary information gathered at the scene revealed that a car traveling southbound on Sierra Highway in the No. 2 lane struck a pedestrian in a motorized wheelchair that was also traveling southbound on Sierra Highway and was within the No. 2 lane, according to Metten.
The driver did not see the pedestrian until just prior to impact, and speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in this collision, sheriff’s officials said.
The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.
She had been staying at the Townhouse Motel, located about a block away from where the collision occurred, her friends said.
“I know her. This is my regular customer,” said Upali DeSilva, the motel’s general manager.
Distraught friends gathered at the collision scene said the 30-year-old woman had been in a car accident about two years ago that left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
Her name has not yet been released pending next of kin notification, coroner’s officials said Sunday morning.
The incident remains under investigation by traffic detectives from the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
50 comments for "Woman in wheelchair struck, killed by car in Lancaster"
I also stay at the Townhouse on Sierra Hwy. I walk through the parking lots. Parts of that stretch does not have sidewalks. You can not go through all of the lots in a wheelchair. She had no choice but to ride in the street. To everyone who believe she should cross the lanes in traffic should go a look before you speak. That is impossible. I met Jennifer a few months ago. She will be missed. Everyone needs to stop bashing and be grateful you are still alive. Two families are affected by this. I’m sure her husband and family do not deserve to read these hateful words. God bless you all.
Correction I meant to say those who believe she should have….
I met Jennifer at the prison and this woman could be having a terrible day unless you knew her you would never know she always kept a smile on her face ;/ my daughters and I will miss you and our hearts hurt for your husband , family and friends love the Martinez Family
Jennifer I love you and miss you sis
Jackie Obarr says
Jennifer Adams – you will be missed, you were a bright woman whom I like very much. Rest in peace, let us remember a person died Saturday, she may have been handicapped; she is worthy of positive responses. Prayers and live to your family, rest in peace!
I helped a young lady who was stuck in the road on Ave I and 17th West last Friday afternoon, in a red wheelchair just like the one in the photo. I remember that while I was assisting her, cars continued to pass us far too closely and I truly feared for her safety when she got on her way. I’m just holding out hope that this wasn’t her.
It was she told me someone helped her thank you for your kindness
Awwww thanks Jackie those are kind words she was a beautiful person an angel
I once read an article years ago (Reagan was president at the time) about how the Secret Service drivers do things when they drive the president. They have to pass other cars very quickly because drivers sometimes inadvertently veer into the presidential limo instead of turning away or just maintaining a straight ahead direction.
I think the same effect might happen when there is another vehicle, bike or wheelchair in the lane. The car driver doesn’t automatically steer clear as you’d expect. They don’t do it deliberately to hit the object.
Bicyclists, pedestrrians and people in wheelchairs should be mindful that car drivers don’t react as one would expect. Or, as they think they should.
That’s why we have to be told to steer into the direction of a skid or not to slam on the brakes and pump them instead (before anti-lock brakes which are different).
Some driving techniques have to be learned because they are sometimes counter-intuitive.
Bicylclist, pedestrians and wheelchair riders must think that automobiles have the same instantaneous ability to stop or turn as they do. It’s not equal
In the same way, automobile drivers shouldn’t expect a big rig to maneuver or stop as well as they can. I guess it’s human nature to expect others to operate the same as you do and it has to be overcome in order to be safe.
Maybe this... says
You maybe thinking of target fixation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_fixation
Thanks. That link really explains the phenomenon. I don’t recall the term ‘target fixation’ from the article I read over 30 years ago but it is probably what was being addressed.
I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m driving and I catch myself doing that. I haven’t been in an accident or any close calls but just noticed the tendency to drift towards instead of away.
It’s interesting that that phenom isn’t ever mentioned in articles about similar accidents such as this one, if it was actually part of the incident.
Too bad pedestrians, bike riders and wheelchair and motorized scooter riders don’t have to pass a test at the DMV before using pubiic streets as do automobile drivers.
I know that sounds farfetched but sometimes it seems that those groups just don’t have the necessary training to ride or walk safely on public thoroughfares. It’s all put on automobile drivers which seems to leave those others feeling less responsible for their own safety because they think that having the right-of-way protects them.
And, finally, automobile drivers need to be informed about the ‘target fixation’ factor to compensate for it when possible just like they have to be informed about turning into a skid.
linda bosworth says
Please, wheelchair bound folks, put a bike safety flag on your chairs when you go out. You are not visible zipping between autos in parking lots either as you are below the roof height of most cars and landscaping. The flags are quite inexpensive and they would help alert drivers of your presence. Also some flags come with lights.
Sporting goods stores, bicycle shops, Amazon.com and others. sell flashing lights that are battery operated and easily attach to bicycles. To make a motorized wheel chair more visible at any time, but especially at night, get a flashing light and use it.
The flag is great for helping people see your chair in parking lots, so these two items should be on the shopping list for those who use these chairs or their family members or friends who love them.
Neon reflective tape can be added to the back of the chair, the back of the headrest, the fenders, and the outside of the armrests to increase their visibility as vehicles headlights shine on them in the dark.
Way too many of these horrible accidents.
By the way, is there any info on the condition of the lady that was nearly killed on Ave L few months back? I think her name was Catherine, and she too, was in a motorized chair.
The Desert Rat says
I’ve seen this wheelchair bound woman traveling many times west bound on Ave J near Sierra Highway “in the street” instead of on the sidewalk IN THE DARK. She also would cross Ave J west of the crosswalk slowing traffic down as if she owned the road. I had to hold my breath thinking this was the day that somebody is going to hit her. It was obviously a matter of time.
Wtf I know her personally and I know for a fact that there is no lights nor sidewalk right where she was at So u should watch what u say because it could have been your friend
Jennifer was a very nice lady, may she Rest in Peace.
Peter Kleinman says
As the dead person had been a regular at the Townhouse Motel she was probably familiar with the lay of the land. But I’ve no idea why people don’t take common-sense precautions if they value their well-being.
SOMETIMES ACCIDENTS ARE JUST ACCIDENTS!
Steven Horton says
Previous comment is a response to “Just Saying.” Editors, if you could merge my last comment into the first line of this comment, that would be pretty cool.
The article says she was in traffic, going the same direction as the guy who hit her, on a black wheelchair. They were heading south, and there was a perfectly good sidewalk on the other side of the street that she could take.
I’ve biked sierra highway a few times, I’ve walked the stretch from Lancaster BLVD to Palmdale BLVD, and there’s a bike lane that goes on for several miles on the other side of the street.
I don’t blame her for getting hit, and I don’t blame the person for hitting them. One woman is gone, and I get the feeling vehicular manslaughter isn’t something you can really get off your conscience.
Just Saying says
If your at the Townhouse Hotel, in a wheelchair, how would you legally and safely access a sidewalk that’s across a 4 lane highway, with no cutouts in the curb?
Really how do you cross
Can we blame anyone? Sure we can both of them , it is one of way too many unfortunate accidents we have in this valley we should look to see what is the biggest contributing factor in all of this the population for one have we made changes for the amount of people that live up here ? Yes very little in fact I have lived since the early 80s when traffic was non- existent now we have bumper to bumper traffic even on city streets and included in that is the amount of handicapped people and homeless yes we seem to be a dumping ground we need stronger leadership to this way to fast growing community we don’t have enough law enforcement it’s obvious when someone goes and shoots another and they get away until we have retaliation shootings we are on the verge of gang wars and riots if we don’t get a grasp on the hoodlums and thugs. This used to be a safe place to live now we have been overrun
Just Saying says
Look closely at the first photo. Observe the bush at the far left, the green sign, and the fire hydrant. This fence line on the North side of Sammys goes all the way to the edge of the actual lane. As a pedestrian, this requires a few fancy steps to squeeze through without going into the lane. A wheelchair has no option but to squeeze around in part of the lane. There is a fence pass-through about 100 feet into the property, but it’s not easy to see from the street. The rest of the journey between the Town House and Bobs Liquor is all easy access parking lots.
In this accident, the lady in the wheelchair was using a dangerous go-around that unfortunately was her only option. The driver would not be able to spot this hazard until it was too late. The City of Lancaster needs to address this problem.
Just Saying says
Click here to see obstacle that wheelchair lady was trying to go around.
One problem — the other side of the street is perfectly clear.
Just Saying says
Clear of restaurants, clear of business, there is a train but it doesn’t stop. Oh I get it, just cross the 4 lane highway, twice. Much safer, why didn’t I think of that.
City of Lancaster gonna get sued for non-compliance with ADA.
Just one of many obstacles on Sierra for those on foot, bike, skateboard, and wheelchair. The city needs to reorganize Sierra from South of M to Ave J and make sure there are walkways free of obstructions.
Maybe Wheelchair Company’s need to equip these wheelchair with reflector lights, etc….
Love how so many comments blame the driver. If there is a death, they automatically blame the other person. That is often why people hate law enforcement, because they can only see the gun, not the person who was threatening the officer. In this case, the handicapped lady should never cross a street unless it is completely clear. It is her responsibility to ensure she can make it in time, including having a fully charged chair. Or do not cross! Despite those views, I am sorry for both ladies. The reason I state them is to hopefully prevent another accident. Drivers shouldn’t have to drive 25 MPH everywhere they go because people don’t look both ways. The one lady shouldn’t have had to die, and the other shouldn’t have had the horrible experience. Condolences to the families.
Look at the picture and re-read the article.
The wheel chair lady was traveling down the street in the same direction as the car that hit her, damage in photo is on the passenger side. It looks to me like the wheel chair person was traveling along and ether strayed into the traffic lane or the car strayed towards the curb hitting the wheel chair.
Lots of folks in this accident to feel sorry for, including the driver who has to live with killing the person in the wheel chair.
The car also looks to be a Prius, a new one at that, which if going slow enough makes fairly little noise.
Read again says
As Just Saying stated
if you look at this photo, she could have been easily going around those 3 poles that forces the wheelchair user to now become part of traffic. Sadly this could be avoided if the AV would update there sidewalks in high traffic areas and if there are business on that side, they should then have a sidewalk. There is a sidewalk on the side where there is nothing. Maybe add a pedestrian bridge or something to make it safer.
moll flanders says
Dust…This lady wasn’t crossing the street. Please read the article again.
Agreed. Having hit a pedestrian myself less than 5 years ago, I can sympathize with the driver. I hit a pedestrian on Ave N. between Sierra Hwy and 10th St. West. It was 930 at night. Woman was walking in the traffic lane just over a little rise, as I was driving east. It is a terrible feeling. Fortunately, the woman recovered after a few days in the hospital. Lighting appears to be the issue in this occurrence also.
Maria Cabrera says
It is very hard to see a pedestrian when it gets dark, we need more lights a long Sierra Highway.
Yes some streets are very poorly lit
wayne peters says
Say they need more streets light Sierra Highway.
Since there are business’s on the southbound side of Sierra Highway its only fitting they should have the sidewalk on that side. Not on the side that contains nothing.
Deeply saddened for both of these women and their families. God bless.
maybe some of [removed] idiots should slow the [removed] down, get off the cell phone, and pay more atention when you drive. Lived here since 1962 and hate what this valley has become. Use a [removed] condom theres to many [removed] in this valley
Wake up Bob says
Hey Bob –
Did you read what street it happened on? Maybe not, but that’s because it’s a highway!!! Who crosses a highway in a motorized wheel chair at 8:00 at night? And you have odadsity to call out the drive.
With that kind of common sense I sure as hell hope you don’t have a dr ers license!
OK I am so tired of hearing that she crossed actor lane highway for one she didn’t she was on the same side as the car. Jennifer had no choice because her chair would always get stuck in the pot holes on the side I kno because I had to help her several time so please reread before u say anything else
Dont worry wake up.. he sounds like an old washed up drunk who hates his life and wife left him…hes probably just mad because his “candy under the box with a stick and string” trap didn’t work on the children in his nieghborhood he was trying to lure….
Maybe the city should look into placing an asphalt walkway on the west side of the street so that wheel chairs and others do not feel the need to use the highway itself. The price of the asphalt is less than the price of one life.
This isn’t going to help in many cases. All over Lancaster & Palmdale I see people in these and regular wheel chairs out in the street. Even when the sidewalk is in good condition and wide enough. I always notice them because I think of all the money spent and how many times updates have been done to the curbs to accommodate them and then they travel out in the street.
I agree with you the city can pay to have the man holes painted purple and other things they should have spent that money on a sidewalks and other things to make the city safer
john howard says
Purple manhole covers and their vault vents identify water sources that are recycled and not drinkable. It’s not a beautification project, but I guess it works because a lot of people notice them.
Just so sad, But when it is dark it is hard to see pedestrian’s and this has been several of these motorized wheelchair’s getting hit at dark. There should be a law that they also should have some type of reflective or lights on the front and back come dark just like a person riding a bike and would not be a bad ideal for anyone walking at night or pushing a stroller during the dark have some sort of reflective /lights.
Wheelchair lady had no business in the street.
Who the hell do u think u r to say anything about what my friend had a right or no right doing? She was on her way to her hotel room. Why don’t you put it on the city for not having proper sidewalks and lighting. Because if that was the Jennifer would still be with us. Her husband would not be a widower her mother would still have a daughter and I would still have my amazing friend. Jen I miss u so much and I love u boo