Given the media's fascination with urban pathologies, and a slow news weekend, I can't believe the following story hasn't been sensationalized for national consumption.
The woman charged with driving through a crowded Southeast Washington festival this weekend -- injuring dozens -- had been "smoking crack all day long," Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said yesterday, citing witnesses and the woman's statement to police.
The driver, whom police identified as 30-year-old Tonya Bell of Oxon Hill, is charged with aggravated assault while armed. She has felony and misdemeanor arrests dating to at least 1995 and has served time in prison for charges involving cocaine. Bell suffered a sprained ankle Saturday night in an episode Mayor Adrian M. Fenty described as "one of the worst serious traffic accidents" in D.C. history.
At least 40 people, including seven children, were hurt when Bell drove her station wagon through the crowd. In the midst of the mayhem, parents pushed their children aside and tossed empty strollers in her path, hoping to block her. Police on bicycles and motorbikes didn't dare use their weapons with so many people at risk. Instead, they threw two motorized scooters beneath Bell's vehicle, bringing it to a stop.
Bell's expression while driving disturbed witnesses. She appeared to be laughing, they said.
Dozens were treated at the scene, including about 35 people who were taken to eight hospitals. Five people were seriously hurt, officials said, although their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. By late yesterday, most of the injured had been released, officials said.
D.C. Council member Marion Barry said his chief of staff is trying to determine whether Bell works as a temporary employee for Barry's council office. Barry (D-Ward 8) said someone named Tonya Bell has worked in the office for several weeks. "Whether it is the same person or not, I am trying to check it out," Barry said last night. "I've asked my chief of staff to try and find out if this Miss Bell is one of several administrative aides we use from temporary agencies."
Crack. Mangled Bodies. Inner City Tragedy. Possible ties to Marion Barry.
Where is Nancy Grace when you need her?
This story bats for the freakin' cycle, yet it's hardly being covered inside the Beltway, let alone outside. I didn't even hear about the story myself until I picked up yesterday's Post. This happened just a few blocks from where AverageMotherInLaw lives, and while I don't usually frequent these sorts of things, I feel awful for everyone involved.
I know the old saying is, it bleeds, it leads, but I still can't believe that damn near 40 people were mowed over by a crackhead in a Volvo and the national news has nothing to say. Nobody died, which I guess takes some of the sizzle away from the story, but still, I can't help but think that if a methhead plowed through a similar crowd in Kansas City, this would be portrayed as a national disaster. The President would send his best wishes. The Red Cross would be deployed. Sean Hannity would hold one of his ignorant assed Freedom Concerts to raise money for the victims. And there would probably be yet another awful and contrived RKelly tribute in iTunes already.
But of course, who cares about a bunch of Negroes on crack killing other Negroes who probably are too. Black on black violence, no matter how innocent and undeserving the victims, just doesn't carry the same weight.
Not even to black folks.
NBC4 News Video [featuring obligatory ignant eyewitness account]
Driver Used Crack Before Festival Crash, D.C. Police Say [WashPost]