T4America Blog

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Protect, don’t prosecute, pedestrians — Raquel Nelson seeking a new trial

The story of Raquel Nelson, the Atlanta mother charged with vehicular homicide when her son was killed while crossing a street with her, continues to make waves in the local and national media. It’s been a galvanizing story, as people across the country were shocked to see a grieving mother convicted and facing jail time for doing something as ordinary as crossing a street. As we said before, this story was easy to relate to, as most Americans either regularly drive on roads like Austell Road — wide, multi-lane high-speed thoroughfares that run through suburban or urbanizing areas — or have the experience of walking in places where your safety and convenience as a pedestrian is an afterthought or wholly ignored.

David Goldberg, T4 America communications director, penned a thoughtful op-ed on the Raquel Nelson story that ran in the Washington Post today.

The prosecution of this grieving mother was shocking. In truth, though, no one should be surprised that tragedies like this are happening every day across America: Transportation officials and local planners routinely create the very conditions that underlie these “accidents” and allow them to persist…

…This is a major issue in inner-ring suburbs across the country, places originally built as auto-only suburbia that now are home to many lower-income families who don’t have access to cars. Neither the public transportation system nor the highway designs work for those who live, work and walk in these areas. People are being punished and killed simply for being pedestrians. Our research shows that thousands of lives could be saved — and millions more lives improved — by retrofitting these dangerous roads, as many communities are trying to do.

In related news, Nelson has officially announced her intention to seek a new trial, which will begin October 25. She talked about her decision with Ann Curry on the Today Show in a second interview. While Nelson is concerned with clearing her own name, she knows that others face the same situation every day.

“It’s for myself, my children, single mothers, anybody who has to take public transportation and had to be in a scary situation like that,” she told Today.

We’re still gathering signatures to join with the others petitioning Gov. Nathan Deal and the Cobb County authorities to pardon her and clear her of the previous charges without having to go through another trial. Add your name and spread the word.

Watch the full video below:


  1. TSIndiana

    13 years ago

    Apparently the author of the Grist article does not follow or read the comments. 

    A man signed in as Michael Moulton and one as BrightMind, are outright lying about the incident.  I followed the link that Moulton posted, asked him nicely to investigate his “facts” and those put forth by Brightmind. 

    I was attacked with profanity and Brightmind threatened to “destroy” me on Facebook with verbal profanity and name calling.  He made more than one attempt.  Heres one post copy, it’s the only one that print policy will not remove due to profanity:

    Levi SmithUh…yeah bro. That would be me. When you snap and start murdering people because nobody cares about random strangers on the internet, that’s who you should go after. I mean, me….is who you should go after. Which is who you described.
    This man is not only an idiot, he is threatening to “snap and start murdering people on the internet”.  I guess it’s much easier to not read comments and links for a journalist than see the growing sickness behind them.  God help us. Learn from London. 

  2. Jennifer arellano

    12 years ago

    i lke it is so sad what they are doing to her…………..she has suffered enough …………..

  3. Jennarellano13

    12 years ago

    My heart and prayers go out to her……………………………..