USUALLY THERE isn't a news photographer right there when it happens, and usually a police officer isn't right there to see someone hit. But on Monday morning, when Jeff Campbell of Washington was in a crosswalk at 15th and K Streets NW, he was hit by a car; Post photographer Larry Morris got a photo of Mr. Campbell being aided by ambulance attendants. The caption in Tuesday's newspaper noted that police were on hand to charge the driver with going through a red light. Mr. Campbell survived, but was listed in George Washington Hospital with a broken pelvis and internal bleeding.
Were this an isolated instance, the photo might not have made our pages. We don't know whether the citation of this particular driver will hold up, but many area residents have been finding out firsthand that red-light runners are a serious threat to life in the region. How many times a week do you see a motorist bull right through a red light -- not a yellow one, not one in mid-switch, but a bright red light -- and nearly hit a pedestrian or a car going on green?
You probably have your own favorite intersection, but those who may not have watched the motorized would-be killers around town could start right where Mr. Campbell got hit. Yesterday, for example, we barely arrived at that corner before a red-runner roared through a crosswalk, perilously close to three pedestrians who clearly had the "WALK" light. One gasp was audible, and one comment unprintable. The car, we should add, wound up at the next intersection behind properly stopped cars -- having gained no time at all.
Perhaps more police officers will take a moment or two to bag a red-light runner today and follow through with whatever it takes to sock that driver with a $75 fine and two points on his driver's license. People need some tangible evidence that police are cracking down. Only then might there be a chance that a spreading bad habit might subside. When a driver doesn't see red, a police officer should.