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Pedestrian accident prompts discussion about intersection issues

Karns & Kerrison

Anyone in Rhode Island who has been to the U.S District Courthouse or the federal building in the state capital may be familiar with Kennedy Plaza. The intersection between the buildings is characterized as a "hot spot" where the probability of a pedestrian accident is high. The recent death of a beloved federal security officer prompted the Chief Judge to request discussions to begin regarding the restructure of the plaza to prevent future accidents.

A Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) bus ran down the security officer. He was in a crosswalk at the time. He survived the crash and was taken to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries. Sadly, he succumbed to those injuries later that night.

The safety of pedestrians in the area is a topic that appears to have been on the agenda of many offices for quite some time. Supposedly, plans are in the works to restructure Kennedy Plaza to make it more friendly to and safe for pedestrians. This requires the reduction of RIPTA bus traffic in the area, which is currently where the transit hub is located. It is unknown how long it will take to make any changes to the area.

Of course, any changes come too late to save the life of the federal security officer who seemed to brighten the day of everyone with which he came into contact. His family may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act in connection with this terrible pedestrian accident, but they may also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties deemed responsible for his death. An award of damages in a civil action could result in financial restitution for funeral and burial costs and other monetary losses recognized by our laws.

Source:, "Chief US District judge calls for improved safety at Kennedy Plaza after officer killed by bus", Michelle R. Smith, May 30, 2014


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