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  Hit + Run Fun

Did John McCain Really Run Over a Phoenix DADT Protester?

There doesn’t seem to be any video of the accident, but Luisa Valdez — seen here speaking to a KTVK 3 Phoenix reporter afterward — says Sen. John McCain’s vehicle struck her and simply drove off while she was participating in a Phoenix protest outside a televised debate for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat. A reported two dozen demonstrators lined up along 7th Avenue and Missouri demanding McCain step down and, barring that, he help enact the Dream Act, repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and cut funding for the war in Afghanistan. Valdez says the police didn’t intervene, since elected officials are legally permitted to drive into constituents, and then she lands a dig about he should know better as a disabled veteran. Snap!.

 

By:           Ryan Tedder
On:           Sep 27, 2010
Tagged: , ,

  • 28 Comments
    • Cam
      Cam

      He crashed five planes, it’s not as if the guy has a history of good driving.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      The cranky old fart probably couldn’t see over the wheel let alone a protester. I wonder if his left blinker was on the whole way home.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Guys, listen to the video – McCain wasn’t driving the car, and the person allegedly hit didn’t even fall over. It sounds like the driver was inching forward to get to the street, and might not have known that the car bumped into a pedestrian at very low speeds – the driver was probably looking around a lot given the number of pedestrians there. McCain might have been dozing off. thinking about his next engagement, or blabbing away on a cell phone.

      There’s plenty of things to blame McCain for – his policies in particular – but there isn’t any evidence that he told the driver to “get” the pedestrian, even though he probably didn’t like people demonstrating against him and demanding his resignation.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luisa Evonne Valdez
      Luisa Evonne Valdez

      Actually B, Being that I am the one who was involved, the driver didn’t inch foward, they pushed me out of the way with their vehicle. The whole incident from the time they exited the gated entrance to the time the pushed me with their vehicle and sped off was less than 30 seconds. This was NO accident.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      @Luisa Evonne Valdez: I’m sorry Luisa, but 30 seconds is plenty of time for you to have gotten out of way when you saw the Senator trying to leave. I don’t support the guy, but common sense says get out of the way of a vehicle is heading towards you.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 4 · Luisa Evonne Valdez wrote, “Actually B, Being that I am the one who was involved, the driver didn’t inch foward, they pushed me out of the way with their vehicle. The whole incident from the time they exited the gated entrance to the time the pushed me with their vehicle and sped off was less than 30 seconds. This was NO accident.”

      Given that you said, “less than 30 seconds” rather than “less than 5 seconds”, one would surmise that the actual time is around 15 to 30 seconds, and a “gated entrance” would typically be within 20 feet of the street. All that is consistent with the driver inching forwards – proceeding forwards at a very low speed, put possibly starting to speed up as the driver started to enter the street – as is an indication in the video that you were not knocked down. If you estimate 22 seconds as the actual time, to cover 20 feet in that time a car would proceed at just over 1/2 mile per hour, a speed where the term “inching forward” is reasonable.

      I can understand that you’d be personally angry, but the evidence presented is consistent with a fortunately minor accident due to driver distraction, although of course none of us have any proof one way or the other given that we can’t read the driver’s mind. If protesters were waving signs around, driver distraction is particularly likely given how human visual processing works (objects moving in the field of view tend to get attention, a useful trait given that for most of our specie’s existence, an unexpected moving object could easily be a serious threat to one’s life such as a predator planning on you being its next meal).

      The error I was really objecting to, however, was in QUEERTY’s headline which made it sound like McCain was actually driving the car, which sounded a bit weird as most legislators have drivers when going to meetings (so they can talk on their cell phones, read notes or have discussions with aides as they hop from one event to the next).

      Sep 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luisa Evonne Valdez
      Luisa Evonne Valdez

      I understand the desire for the accurate portrayal and details, however, I would like to state that assuming and guessing details are not appropriate for someone who was not involved. The distance from the gated entrance to the sidewalk area was well over a couple hundred feet. If there was such a fear to strike the need to use vehicular force to move a NONVIOLENT demonstrator, than why not call the police and security that were ON SITE and readily available to be able to handle the situation to avoid any security breech? The only reason plausible is they simply did not care. I have the right to demonstrate, they DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PHYSICALLY HARM ME WITH A VEHICLE, regardless of the degree or severity. Any other person behind the wheel would have been held to the law…

      Sep 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      Cops are legal idiots, that’s not new. But you can file a complaint against McCain, and against the police, and persue it in court.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Susanna I Astarte
      Susanna I Astarte

      I was at this protest- but left just as all this was going on-so I can’t say I know anything other than what Luisa has said.
      It is very disturbing to me that it was decided at the scene that since McCain was a passenger in that car- the rules magically changed.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 8:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rig
      rig

      I look forward to the day when sexual deviants are allowed to adopt children and serve openly in the military. I can’t believe that anyone would condemn or oppose this! I am in the Navy and I want our homosexuals to be free to tell us about their sexual deviation and I want them to be loud and proud! I want to be able to look around me and 24/7 on a 6 month deployment and take comfort in knowing that the people who I’m working closely with and sharing living quarters with are sexual deviants. I want them to be able to walk around on the boat all day long proclaiming their deviation for me and all of my fellow honorable servicemembers to hear, including the Captain, the Commodore and all of the marines on the boat! I will not rest until sexual deviants are practicing their deviation openly, loud and proud, in full military uniform. Dear God please get them into the service. And to those of you that are in the service having to conceal your sexual deviation; thank you for your service! We’re gonna make sure you can be open, it might take some more work, but we’ll make it happen!!! God bless you guys

      Sep 27, 2010 at 10:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drums
      drums

      @rig:
      Why are you spending “24/7 on a 6 month deployment” looking at the “sexual deviants” anyway? Something you’re trying to tell us that you haven’t admitted to yourself yet?

      Sep 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • wompman
      wompman

      Fear not Rig, based on your genuine assholish nature, I’d be willing to bet nobody, male or female, will ever proclaim their “deviancy” for you. Ever.

      Sep 27, 2010 at 11:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Give Illegals Immigrants Guns To Take Back Mexico
      Give Illegals Immigrants Guns To Take Back Mexico

      A Plan For A Real “American Dream Act” Bill & Counter Attack

      First bring back our soldiers from this Afghanistan war that is costly and going nowhere. Middle Eastern and Asians love to see us waste money and go broke fighting for freedom when they don’t really want it. This is their main weapon and we keep falling into their trap. Then we need to regroup military troops and military force to invade/overthrow Mexico’s government turning it into a U.S territory.
      The new land will be used as an industrial/business commerce zone. U.S citizens will be able to by property and have a dual citizenship between U.S and Mexico. Mexico will keep its current currency and there current government will be demoted to local municipal law enforcement as long as they surrender to the U.S.
      The U.S will be in full control of all laws, finances, local law enforcement, military and our “Secondary Army of Illegal Soldiers/Enforcers” in Mexico. The path to dual citizenship will require the illegal immigrants living in the U.S to serve in the U.S Secondary South Boarder Military for teen years… Along with completing the invasion/overthrow of Mexican government to expand U.S lands, business, and revive our economy. For Mexico citizen requesting to come to the U.S temporary worker programs and legal paths to citizenship & residence will be granted to those who qualify.
      This action is to liberate Mexico from its corrupt government that is destroying it self and the U.S slowly. It is also a test for them to redeem them selves for us to see, how much heart they have, how patriotic they are, and much they love this country including us, laws in all.

      Pass It On To Congress & The President!!!

      Sep 27, 2010 at 11:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @Give Illegals Immigrants Guns To Take Back Mexico: Or we could give guns to illegal europeon settlers of the US, so they can go back to Europe and leave america to the rightful owners of the land, the native americans.

      Sep 28, 2010 at 12:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • damon459
      damon459

      Kevin that’s an awesome idea my ancestors use to control 63 million acres of land which was stolen from them without receiving a penny and to this day the federal government refuses to recognize us do to the fact that they refused to honor a settlement worth $50,000,000 accruing 5% interest a yr for 75 yrs and that was in 1856 dollars mind you. As to John McCain well he’s a putz who should be locked up in a nice safe rubber room somewhere.

      Sep 28, 2010 at 1:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • carrie
      carrie

      Considering his security staff tackled a protester the same night (and McCain didn’t even stop to ensure that the woman who was tackled was okay), I seriously have no problems whatsoever believing that this indeed did happen.

      Sep 28, 2010 at 3:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Re No. 7 · Luisa Evonne Valdez wrote, “I understand the desire for the accurate portrayal and details, however, I would like to state that assuming and guessing details are not appropriate for someone who was not involved. The distance from the gated entrance to the sidewalk area was well over a couple hundred feet. If there was such a fear to strike the need to use vehicular force to move a NONVIOLENT demonstrator, than why not call the police and security that were ON SITE and readily available to be able to handle the situation to avoid any security breech?”

      Err, Luisa, you the one guessing the key detail, specifically the intent of the driver: you didn’t claim that the driver threatened to run you down if you didn’t get out of the way, so how do you determine intent? Mind reading? Did you make eye contact with the driver? Was the rear-view mirror blocking her view of you? With other people around, was the driver concentrating on them? If they were waving signs and you were stationary, her attention would be attracted to the moving objects in her field of view, so not noticing you is a plausible explanation. If you don’t believe that, ask a pilot – the hardest aircraft to spot are the ones on a collision course with you because they are stationary in your field of view: once as a passenger in a small plane, I almost found out the hard way as another plane going in the opposite direction missed us by 10 feet (it passed above us).

      You previously gave a time of 30 seconds (maybe less) and now a distance of perhaps 300 feet (the length of a football field). To cover 300 feet in 30 seconds, your average speed would be just under 7 mph – not exactly the speed of a driver with felonious intent, and of course most drivers stop before entering a roadway, if only to avoid being sideswiped entering the roadway or crossing a sidewalk – and traffic was moving fast enough judging from the video that the car would have been stopped before entering the roadway. All the distances and times you provided (plus your statement in the video that the incident happened a few feet from the roadway) are consistent with very low vehicle speeds. It really sounds like it was unintentional, and the driver might not even have realized that she hit you – you must have rolled or moved out of the way as the car didn’t go right over you. I might add, that saying the driver was most likely “inching forward” is a pretty damn good guess given the video – with no pedestrians around at all, I’d have inched forwards before entering that roadway just giving the driving conditions shown in the video.

      Finally, http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/00661.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS has the Arizona law applicable to hitting a pedestrian – there has to be an injury (a minor one is sufficient). If you read http://barexambrief.com/2010/06/17/july-2010-mbe-question-of-the-day-21/ you’ll see some study questions for a bar exam. It asks, “In which of the following instances is the defendant guilty of a crime?” and one choice is “C. The defendant, while intoxicated one evening, was driving slowly down a dark road when the victim, who was also intoxicated, walked into the rear side of the defendant’s car and was injured. The defendant did not perceive, and would not have perceived had he been sober, that the victim had run into the car. The defendant therefore did not stop and report the accident.” The answer for C is “Answer C is correct. The defendant is guilty of driving while intoxicated. The possible crime of leaving the scene of an accident is a red herring because the defendant is clearly guilty of driving while intoxicated. If the defendant’s liability for leaving the scene of an accident were at issue, then there would be a good question as to his liability for that crime. That crime would likely be interpreted to be a specific intent crime, of which the defendant could not be guilty because he did not know he was leaving the scene of an accident. His intoxication is not an issue because he would not have known there was an accident even if he were not intoxicated.” In other words, if McCain’s driver was unaware of hitting you, no crime was committed by leaving the scene.

      Look, I don’t like McCain either – specifically his politics and the policies he pushes. But he wasn’t driving the car and there is simply no credible evidence that there was any criminal intent on the part of his driver. We’re all relieved that you weren’t injured, but we can’t really accuse someone of a crime when one was probably not committed.

      Sep 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Re reaction to No 3: Interesting that you get 9 “thumbs down” for pointing out that the video QUEERTY provided included a statement that McCain was not driving the car in question. It looks like some readers don’t like having the truth pointed out to them as QUEERTY goes along by suppressing factual comments germane to any sensible discussion of the incident. Is the goal to make the site kind of useless for any reasonable discussion?

      Hint to QUEERTY: don’t hide comments unless the user asks you to hide them through a preference setting that the site can remember for people who log in.

      Sep 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Re No. 16 · carrie “Considering his security staff tackled a protester the same night (and McCain didn’t even stop to ensure that the woman who was tackled was okay), I seriously have no problems whatsoever believing that this indeed did happen.”

      ,,, the incident probably happened but saying “McCain didn’t even stop” ignores the fact that he wasn’t driving the car and may not have paid attention to what was going on outside (he could eveb have been dozing off) – it was the driver’s responsibility to stop, but the driver might not have known that the car hit a pedestrian (apparently at such low speeds as to not cause an injury, in which case there might not have been a “thud” to indicate that something had been hit). Typically a driver would not get in trouble in such cases – assuming no injuries, no property damage, and no knowledge of an accident.

      Sep 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      First of all, the driver is an employee of McCain and wasn’t there on her own volition but on the orders of her boss, so exculpating McCain without investigation is not called for.

      Whether the driver caused injury or not, she broke the law by leaving the scene. The driver probably made eye contact with the victim, and claiming she didn’t see her is not credible. The police did not interview and determine the intent of the driver because the car drove off. That’s the job of the police to investigate, not the victim or complainant. The police refused to do their job and should be reported.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 4:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anson Reign
      Anson Reign

      @B: Since you refer to the driver of the car as a “he”, even though Luisa (your pedestrian) says the driver was a she (more than once) you obviously weren’t paying enough attention to many any comments. Especially not this one.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 5:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anson Reign
      Anson Reign

      I’m just so confused about how many of you are making an issue of the whole “30 seconds” thing. If it took someone thirty seconds to hit you, would that make it okay? I mean, really… the area was full of policemen. If they needed someone to move they could have moved them, or asked them to move. Pushing someone of the way with your VEHICLE is not the same as asking someone to step aside. That’s hitting someone with a car – to hell who is driving it or in the damn car at the time. It is hitting someone with a car. If I pushed someone “out of the way” with my car, whether I’d taken 5 seconds or thirty seconds of my day to do the deed, I guarantee you I’d be in tent city right now. Wake up, Arizona. Bunch of stupid friggen morons.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 5:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 21 · Anson Reign wrote, “@B: Since you refer to the driver of the car as a “he”, even though Luisa (your pedestrian) says the driver was a she (more than once) you obviously weren’t paying enough attention to many any comments.”

      What the hell are you babbling about? In No 17, I wrote, “It really sounds like it was unintentional, and the driver might not even have realized that she hit you.” At one point, I quoted an example from a bar-exam web site, which used “he” but it was for a hypothetical but relevant situation. Like others, you are jumping to conclusions without actually reading what was said. BTW, can’t seem to find any example where I used “he” to refer to McCain’s driver anywhere, and not in the now-hidden comment you linked to (the use of “he” in that one referred to McCain, not the driver). Usually, I used the phrase “the driver” which is gender-neutral.

      Do you have a reading problem or are you dissembling because you don’t like the obvious being pointed out – that driver distraction is a more likely cause of the accident than criminal intent?

      Sep 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 20 · Kev C wrote, “First of all, the driver is an employee of McCain and wasn’t there on her own volition but on the orders of her boss, so exculpating McCain without investigation is not called for.”

      Sign. Ever hear of the quaint U.S. custom of “innocent until proven guilty”? Without evidence that McCain ordered the driver to run down a pedestrian, there is simply no reason to investigate McCain.

      Kev C also wrote, “Whether the driver caused injury or not, she broke the law by leaving the scene. The driver probably made eye contact with the victim, and claiming she didn’t see her is not credible.”

      In No. 17, I provided a link http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/00661.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS that has the relevant Arizona law – that law applies only if there is an injury, no matter how minor. If a driver creeps forward and gently bumps into a pedestrian without causing any injury or property damage, no matter how minor, the “leaving the scene” law does not apply. The bar exam link I gave you stated that such laws typically require intent – if the driver had no idea that an accident had occurred (this has to be believable), the driver would not have committed a crime. E.g., if some kid with a tiny radio-controlled toy car lets the car run out on the road, you don’t see the toy, and drive over it not feeling or hearing anything, they won’t arrest you or send you to jail for leaving the scene of an accident.

      With respect to your “eye contact” statement, that is mere speculation. Look at the video – you’ll see cars going at a fairly good clip on the roadway. Usually drivers are looking to the left at that point for on-coming traffic, after inching up as far forwards as is safe to get a good view of the road (this is common driver behavior). So it is quite believable that the driver didn’t notice a pedestrian who was fortunately not injured: the most likely explanation is simply driver distraction, in this case looking for traffic. If Luisa was hit by the right side of the car, the driver might have looked there and didn’t see anyone, with Luisa moving in front as the driver looked left for traffic. All it then takes for an accident is for the driver to fail to look right again.

      I once had something like that happen to me – I was walking a bicycle across a crosswalk to an island and a driver was stopped there at a stop sign, looking for traffic merging from his left. When the traffic cleared, he started to move without looking ahead first, and hit me and my bicycle, mostly the bicycle, which damaged the rear wheel but with no injury to me – speeds were very low.

      Nobody is claiming the driver didn’t screw up, but it looks like an accident, not an assault.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @B: McCain’s driver was coming up a driveway over a sidewalk. Louisa was on the sidewalk in front of the car and made eye-contact.

      If you hit someone with your car, you’re supposed to stop. That’s the law. Running from the scene indicates guilty intent. It’s reasonable to assert that the driver intended to hit the pedestrian because she fled the scene!

      Was she aware that she hit someone?
      Probably.
      But she still fled the scene?
      Yes.
      That looks like guilt to me. Better investigate.
      Did they investigate?
      No.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 25 · Kev C wrote, “@B: McCain’s driver was coming up a driveway over a sidewalk. Louisa was on the sidewalk in front of the car and made eye-contact.”

      Not true – Luisa said nothing about eye contact on her comments above and in the video she said nothing about the driver regarding eye contact (even when explicitly asked by a reporter) but stated that she did not make eye contact with McCain. She may have been in front of the vehicle (she didn’t say if she was in the middle or a bit to the side) but didn’t say when she got there. She did claim that the vehicle had been stopped inches from her before it started to move. It is completely consistent with a driver looking left for on-coming traffic and entering the roadway one traffic is clear. Quite a few drivers don’t double check to see if someone is in front of the vehicle – a common mistake – but when they hit someone as a result, usually at low speed, its not intentional, just clueless driving.

      You also said, “If you hit someone with your car, you’re supposed to stop. That’s the law. Running from the scene indicates guilty intent. It’s reasonable to assert that the driver intended to hit the pedestrian because she fled the scene!”

      Not true either (leaving the scene does not indicate intent), but it does not indicate anything in the very rare case that the driver did not know there was an accident, in which case leaving the scene would generally not be a crime (read the URL from a bar exam web site I provided above). This may be one of those rare cases. Also, the relevant Arizona law does not require one to stop if there was no injury whatsoever nor any property damage (I cited that above too, providing a link). There are a number of reasons drivers leave the scene of an accident – panic, trying to avoid a DUI conviction, worries about insurance rate increases, etc. Purposely running someone down is a very far down on the list.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @B: The driver was a professional driver paid to chauffeur a VIP. But the scenerio you described is of a clueless driver who probably shouldn’t be driving. It’s more likely that she used her car to deliberately push the pedestrian out of the way at a low speed. It’s also reasonable to assume that she was ordered to do this by her boss.

      Sep 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 27 · Kev C came up with a conspiracy theory by saying, “@B: The driver was a professional driver paid to chauffeur a VIP. But the scenerio you described is of a clueless driver who probably shouldn’t be driving. It’s more likely that she used her car to deliberately push the pedestrian out of the way at a low speed. It’s also reasonable to assume that she was ordered to do this by her boss.”

      No professional driver is going to risk losing a license and jail term by intentionally running into someone, and could make a fortune on a book/movie deal of asked by simply spilling the beans, particularly if fired over it. Even McCain (who graduated at near the bottom of his class) isn’t so daft as to make such an idiotic request.

      But aside from that, you have no idea if this was a professional driver (a chauffeur) or not, and the answer is probably “not”. It was probably someone from McCain’s office, who would be with McCain anyway, who drove so that McCain could chat on the phone, think about his next engagement, talk with another aide in the vehicle (if any), doze off, etc. How do you think it would look to constituents if they found that their senator/representative/whatever had a paid chauffeur on retainer sitting around most of the time twiddling his/her thumbs because his employer was usually out of town? Of course, you could hire a chauffeur for the day, but that has other downsides.

      Go to one of your representative’s constituent meetings – typically several aides go along, so it isn’t surprising that they might share a vehicle (with the added advantage that, if running length, the politician can get out at the door while an aide finds a place to park). Do you think McCain would want some random professional driver listening to discussions between McCain and his staff (even if they are only going over the issues likely to come up and the canned responses he’ll have for those). That could make a really juicy story if it leaked out. So the driver better be someone he can trust politically, which means someone on his staff, and he is’t going to have a full time driver on his staff in Arizona when he spends a lot of his time in Washington.

      So, your claim about a professional driver is simply not credible without proof – employment records, and I really doubt if McCain advertises the details of who works on his staff and who does what.

      Sep 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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