‘It’s an insult to us that a $175 dollar ticket … is the penalty for killing a child in the crosswalk’

SEATTLE — The pain is still raw for the parents of 19-year old Caleb Shoop, who lost his life in a Kenmore crosswalk. They continue to see new flowers and cards at the memorial next to the crosswalk for the young man who dreamed of being a fireman and helping others.

“We’re honored that it’s never finished and people haven’t forgotten him,” said Tammy Shoop. “There’s always something left here for us.”

Back in March, Caleb was on his bike getting ready to cross a busy 61st Ave NE. Two cars stopped for him to cross, but a third truck didn’t. The impact killed him.

Now his family is finding out that the truck driver won’t face charges, but rather a ticket for $175 dollars.

“It’s an insult to us that a $175 dollar ticket is what the city and state feels is the penalty for killing a child in the crosswalk,” said Shoop

When we asked the King County Prosecutor’s office about the case, they told us, “A charge of vehicular homicide could not be filed because there was no evidence that the truck driver was speeding and there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs.”

“I expect a $175 dollar ticket if I run a stop sign or fail to feed the meter, but if I kill somebody I’m surprised that’s all there is,” said Ben Shoop, Caleb’s father.

There is something called the “Vulnerable User Law,” passed recently in the legislature that can make punishments more severe for drivers who hit pedestrians or bicyclists.

Attorney John Duggan, who specializes in cyclists cases, said the law could have been used in the Caleb Shoop case

“My experience tells me that most police officers and prosecutors are unaware of the law and therefore don’t use it,” Duggan said.

The loss of Caleb and the deaths of 2 other pedestrians in Kenmore over the last year has sparked change. The busy 4 lane road where Caleb was killed was dropped to two lanes, and there are more warning signs around crosswalks. Many around the area still feel they are not safe.

Tammy and Ben Shoop still stop at the memorial next to where Caleb was killed about 3 times a week. They go for comfort, but also with hope that drivers see a message.

“I know that people look at the cross,” said Tammy. “Hopefully, it makes them think twice about crosswalks and reminds them that deaths do occur.”

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6 comments

  • Katrina Rose

    Town Hall Meeting
    by the City of Kenmore Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Ad Hoc Citizen Committee
    Tuesday, June 24th, at 7 PM

    7:00 PM—Presentation by the Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Ad Hoc Citizen Committee
    7:15 PM—Open mic (length of open mic depends on # in attendance and # that wish to speak)
    7:30-9:00 PM—Informal conversations with the Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Ad Hoc Citizen Committee

  • Ted

    It’s time for real talk,….about how to protect yourself,….because in the end stupid people are aloud to drive big trucks,….with bad brakes,…and bald tires,….and ahhhh,..forget it,…wear armor…..!!!

  • Phil

    There is more to this than meets the eye, too many details left out. Now to try to clear a few things up:
    19 is an adult, not a child. And if he was getting ready to cross then how was he hit in the middle of the road? Logic and common sense dictate not to cross unless its safe to do so, anyone with half a brain knows not to cross if there is a vehicle that close still moving at any velocity. where was the truck positioned in the intersection and where was the MAN on the bicycle? Was there a stop sign and if so which directions? Who actually had legal right of way? why didn't the truck stop, did he not see the bike, were there any trees, did the other vehicles block his sight, did the bike dart out in front of a moving vehicle [most likely from the sounds of it]. Was the driver of the truck on his phone, did the breaks fail, was it on purpose? Without knowing the totality of the circumstances it is rather foolish to jump to conclusions, I expect better "reporting" than this.

    • Isaiah

      I agree completely if this is a regular thing in Kenmore now then it makes more sense to go to the city and change the cross walks. Kirkland did it and significantly reduced the problem with flashing lights and better sighs, fact is the driver wasn't speeding and wasn't on drugs, it was an accident. This is not a child, this is a 19 year old adult, he shouldn't be gone now but partially by his own fault.

      • Isaiah

        Funny thing about this statement:
        “I expect a $175 dollar ticket if I run a stop sign or fail to feed the meter, but if I kill somebody I’m surprised that’s all there is,” said Ben Shoop, Caleb’s father
        Is that the driver of the truck did nothing more illegal than those things Caleb's father named yet deserves a worse punishment because a pedestrian was in wrong place at the wrong time and they obviously didn't see each other. The driver has to live with the memory the rest of their life for not seeing Caleb soon enough, had caleb looked before stepping from behind the second car this may not have happen. You have to take responsibility for your own safety as an adult because others may not see you or may not be paying enough attention. Condolences to all but this isn't a situation for blaming others but a call to improve safety in this great city.


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