After a years-long effort, Cobb County prosectors dropped the vehicular homicide charge brought against Raquel Nelson, the grieving mom who lost her son after the pair were hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street. More than 160,000 people signed this petition asking the Cobb County Court to drop the charge, amplifying the voices of support for Raquel and her family, and ultimately leading to her retrial.
Eliza Harris, who started the petition says:
"I'm thrilled and relieved to learn that Raquel's fight for justice is finally over. I started this petition because I was appalled at the lack of compassion of the prosecutors and because, as someone who works in transportation, I knew the factors resulting in her son's tragic death were well beyond her control. I'm heartened that so many of you were willing to stand with me and tell the Cobb County justice system that prosecuting the victim is unacceptable and to tell Raquel that we believed in her and we have her back. She was also standing up for all the victims who have been blamed for tragedies, perpetrated by a system designed to fail anyone not in a car.
"Now that Raquel is safe, we have to remember, as she so frequently reminded us, who this is really about. Her son A.J. is lost to this world and unlike Raquel's prosecution that cannot be reversed. Over four thousand pedestrians die each year in crashes with cars. Another 70,000 are injured. Many of these crashes could be prevented by common sense changes to how we design our roads. I'm encouraged to hear that Georgia DOT is re-evaluating the bus stop where this tragedy took place and I hope that they will increase their attention to pedestrian safety statewide. They were ranked 10th worst state for pedestrians by Transportation for America in 2011.
I'm glad to hear that Raquel is interested in continuing to stand up for the right of her fellow citizens to engage in the simplest of activities, crossing the street, without risking their safety or freedom. I would encourage everyone to consider joining or following one of organizations fighting on a daily basis to make our streets safer such as the Alliance for Biking and Walking, The Congress for the New Urbanism, Transportation for America or a local bike/walk organization in your community like the metro Atlanta nonprofit, PEDS, that supported Raquel in her struggle. The fight for justice is over, but the fight for safe streets goes on. "