A California woman claims she mowed down two pedestrians in a crosswalk because light from a solar eclipse left her unable to see.
A 40-year-old woman and her 10-year-old daughter were struck while legally crossing Grand Avenue in South San Francisco at approximately 7:10 p.m. Both were taken to an area hospital, where the 10-year-old was treated for a broken arm.
Even on non-eclipse evenings, glare from sunsets can be difficult for westbound drivers on Grand. Signs are posted along the route warning drivers, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
The solar-eclipse defense “probably won’t fly,” police sergeant Bruce McPhillips tells the newspaper. Why? The 26-year-old driver of the Audi sedan may be right, in one sense, that she was preoccupied with the unusual solar event: Eyewitnesses tell authorities that she was taking pictures of the eclipse on her iPhone at the time of the accident, and not paying attention to the road.
A lawyer not involved in the case said the solar-eclipse excuse might be the first of its kind in legal circles, but does not think it will gain traction should the victims decide to sue.
“The Audi driver was obviously not paying attention to where she was going, or paying attention to what she was doing,” said attorney Michael Smith. “This is the element of negligence involved in this case, and she needs to be responsible for her careless driving harming someone.”