DC man says young daughter was hit by car after driver did not stop

The girl’s father said a driver failed to stop at a stop sign before hitting their bike at the intersection of 17th St NW and Blagden Terrace NW.

WASHINGTON – Editor’s note: The video above was released on September 15, 2021 and deals with the fatal crash that cost 5-year-old Allison Hart her life.

For Kyle Hepner, a bike ride began to bring his two-year-old daughter into day care Friday morning like many others. The two began by leaving their home with the little girl sitting behind Dad before reaching the intersection between 17th St NW and Blagden Terrace NW.

Hepner says three cars were near the intersection, each facing a stop sign on the street they were driving down.

But after first seeing two of the cars through, Hepner said the bike ride suddenly became treacherous when the third driver allegedly failed to stop at the stop sign.

“When I realized the car would not stop, I just tried to shout to get their attention,” he said. “He just did not stop and kept rolling through. I tried to position the bike as best I could so she would not hit a direct hit.”

Hepner was quick to point out “there was not much force”, but the collision led to the bike being overturned.

At first he thought his daughter was avoiding serious injury after seeing her reaction.

“She was very shaken and cried right away, which was a good sign that I knew she was not being blacked out,” he said.

However, the collision from the car led to them both later spending the weekend in the hospital. According to Hepner, his young daughter suffered a minor skull fracture.

Days later, he said both are improving. Despite her young age, his daughter has shown that she remembers what happened at the intersection.

“She’s almost three, but she’s very aware of what happened,” he said. “She would keep telling us, ‘We were going around the corner and I was on Dad’s bike and a car hit us.'”

Hepner added that the driver who hit them stayed on the scene and offered apologies for what happened.

“I just kept telling him I did not want to hear that you were sorry,” Hepner said. “I want to hear that this will never happen again.”

The collision that injured Hepner and his daughter shows some of the dangers cyclists and pedestrians often encounter when out in the district.

Hepner believes driving habits have only gotten worse during the pandemic, as he often sees dangerous behavior on the roads.

“Everywhere you go, there’s a problem,” he said. “With fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, it almost made people feel like they could drive faster. You really have to develop that intuition of thinking and knowing when that car will blow through this red light or stop sign.”

“We see people blowing through the intersection all the time, so we know we have to be careful there and we are always as careful as possible,” he added. “I wish I could say I’m shocked by this, or I’m surprised, but it’s something I think will happen every day.”

Efforts to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety have been the focus of the DC Council. Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau introduced the Walk Without Worry Amendment Act of 2021 following the tragic death of five-year-old Allison Hart in September last year.

According to police, Hart was hit by a Royal Cab Transit van after she was unable to stop her bike and entered the intersection between 14th & Irving Streets in the Northeast.

Nadeau said the bill she has proposed would standardize raised pedestrian crossings in DC

Months after the tragedy, Nadeau told WUSA9 on Tuesday that the plan has received support from the District Department of Transportation.

“It’s really just about safer design, better design and standardization of it,” Nadeau said. “You do not have to worry about your child walking. By making intersections safer, you prevent accidents from happening.”

Nadeau said a hearing on the bill was held last week and a vote on the measure could come later this year.

Going forward, Hepner told WUSA9 that he supported tougher laws that would hopefully prevent similar incidents like the one he experienced last week from happening.

“We call it an accident and we behave as if these things just happen when they don’t have to happen,” he said.

RELATED: Man Dead in Temple Hill Hit-and-Run Accident

RELATED: 2 motorists driving at a red light in Northwest DC fatally hit pedestrian, police say

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