Shock Video: 78-Year-Old Man Hit in Street and Left as Dozens of People Drive or Walk By

There are times when one has to wonder about the future of our species. In the video linked below, Angel Torres, 78, is struck by two cars in the streets of Hartford, Connecticut and left in the street. The video shows a dozen cars passed by without stopping and pedestrians doing nothing to help Torres who is now paralyzed from the neck down. No one even bothered to call 9-11 as they walked away.

The video is a chilling reminder of how disconnected and callous many people can be in the face of suffering. What is astonishing is that people are seen slowing down to get a better view of Torres and then continuing on with rendering the slightest assistance. Two cars merely turn around to avoid his obstruction in the road.

Under the common law, there is a “no duty to rescue” rule that relieves us of liability for not acting to help others. Yet, any notion of decency or morality condemns the onlookers as well as the hit-and-run drivers. I am rarely surprised to see people without any sense of humanity. However, it appears that at any given moments in the streets of Hartford as much as 100% of a couple of dozen people could be devoid of both morals and humanity. I expect Hartford is not unique, but this will remain a stain on that city for years to come for decent people living there.

For the full story and video, click here

24 thoughts on “Shock Video: 78-Year-Old Man Hit in Street and Left as Dozens of People Drive or Walk By”

  1. binx101:

    I’m with you on the dignity but like common sense–it’s not very common. That Naked Ape book makes more sense to me every day.

  2. Not heroic at all… just a natural response to my training .. if I hadn’t had any training I suspect I would have been one of those in the NYC crowd that made the call … or holding my bag, or her purse or the guy telling people not to crowd … or one of the people applauding as we ran away like little kids waving back at them.

    I’m sorry, perhaps I just doesn’t understand. There is a strong possibility that am an imbecile – but I would never pass another human being, a child, a crazy person running down the street, not an old person – not a bum in the street – without first considering if I might help.

    This is not heroic – this is basic human dignity. I’m not a hero,

  3. I do see that four calls were placed to 911. The article states that:

    “Police say four people did call 9-1-1 within a minute of the accident, but no one on the sidewalk immediately rushed into the street to check how Torres was doing.”

    Not exactly Lancelot, but it does restore some faith in the survival of the species.

  4. binx101:

    Your actions were heroic indeed, but does it strike you as significant that both of the lucky man’s rescuers were trained to help and maybe overcame the natural fear of the unknown? Not an excuse, just a question.

    BTW I learned recently that all the work we do to artificially respirate the patient may be for naught, now they emphasize the chest compressions alone (CCR vs CPR).

  5. Years ago, Wall St., directly in front of 120 Wall St. – a man collapses about 10 feet in front of me. I’m a trained corpsman and at the time still a military reservist, although engaged downtown NYC in purely capitalistic activities.

    Male, approx. 60 y/o, build slight/medium, no odors, skin pale, lips darkening – no pulse – seconds later after starting CPR in a crowd of onlookers I’m joined by a young woman – She says “I’ll take one” – She takes over chest compressions – I continued with respiration. Only words for 60 seconds were the sounds of counting … EMT’s arrived – we had just got a pulse and noticed some eye flutter. No words – EMT shows me the Ambu-bag and mask indicating that he’s ready to take over respiration with Oxygen – the other EMT has one hand on my new colleagues shoulder. We’re all smiling.

    Then the tech that relieved me says – “you two saved this guy” we said, “Not us!” and with that we laughed, the young woman and I clasped hands, – retrieved brief case and purse – and ran a block and half down the stairs of a Wall St. watering hole and had a drink at the bar. She was was a trained EMT that volunteered services when she wasn’t lawyering for the same bean counters that I managed a fund.

    My sense of flight only kicked in, when my sense of fright reminded me that what I had already done was my responsibility as a neighbor, and that my exit at that time was to avoid pot shots.

    I’m literally speechless that I’ve read comments here excusing a lack of human dignity. Speechless.

  6. Bob,

    Death Race 2000 is just about it.

    I have to admit that when I heard this took place in Hartford, insurance captial of the US, I did think there might be a connection. Insurance companies have let a lot of people die through denial of coverage or not providing it all. I did wonder if this callus view of human life prevaded the city and was at least in part, responsible for what didn’t happen.

    Thanks for the info on Death Race.


  7. Patty C:

    Obviously pro-otter propaganda. I still like porpoises and dolphins. They’re pretty in the water, funny, and they make that great chattering noise. Otters need to wear a bathing suit to cover up when back- floating.

  8. Do these onlookers have a duty to assist?

    Are individuals afraid of being sued? Detained? Or just inconvenienced?

    Is it any wonder that citizens in Thailand were seen assisting their fellow man after the tsunami, while the world was repulsed of images of corruption, incompetence, and abuse by citizens in New Orleans after the hurricane?

    I can’t explain this video, but am not surprised by what happened here.

  9. I’d venture the simpler, more likely answer would be most people, rather than taking control and leading, would have, mistakenly, assumed “somebody” must have already called for an ambulance and there is no need to jam up 9-1-1 with multiple ‘unnecessary’ calls.

    Or if might also be that some people do perceive a possible unknown threat associated with getting involved, on any level, because of horror stories they’ve heard and a feeling, albeit selfish, of
    ‘Who needs that’?

    Tough call these days.

    So as not to flounder, here, I wish to state my sole porpoise in posting, JT and mespo, was simply to avoid a whale of misunderstanding and otter disappointment while promoting new schools of thought…;)

    “But why would bottlenoses kill porpoises? Since harbor porpoises are roughly the same size as baby dolphins, Scottish researchers speculate that dolphins may practice their infant-killing techniques on porpoises…”

    Dolphins: Flipper or Killer? – evidence of infanticide among bottlenose dolphins
    Science World, Oct 18, 1999 by Melissa Stewart

    New research reveals a dark side of the mammal.

    In the summer of 1997, a dead baby bottlenose dolphin washed onto a Virginia beach. Its body was badly bruised; it had broken ribs and a punctured lung. One telltale clue gave scientists a grim surprise: bite marks that matched the exact pattern of the teeth of an adult bottlenose. Researchers concluded an adult dolphin had murdered a young baby or calf, a practice known in nature as infanticide.

    “This is a dramatic change from the way people think of dolphins,” says Dale J. Dunn, a veterinarian pathologist, a specialist in animal diseases. No kidding. When most people think of dolphins, they think Flipper, not Killer. Since ancient Greece, dolphins have been celebrated in art and myth as frolicking creatures that protect shipwrecked sailors from ocean predators. Today, delighted fans still cheer dolphin antics in aquariums and marine parks, and swimming alongside captive dolphins in places like the Florida Keys has boomed into a tourist craze.

    Now scientists are amassing startling evidence that suggests the beloved animals have a violent side as well. Dolphins seem to be killing porpoises, a related sea mammal, and baby dolphins in droves, wielding their long snouts as clubs and their jagged teeth to slash their victims to death. Can it be that dolphin behavior simply resembles that of most large animals, who are capable of being playful or violent by turns?


    By the end of summer 1997, scientists in Virginia had discovered seven more dead dolphin calves that washed ashore with teeth marks, bruises, and damaged internal organs. “We immediately looked for other scientists researching dolphin deaths,” Dunn says. “That’s when we heard about researchers in Scotland.”

    Scottish scientists started studying dolphins in 1990 after an increase of dead beached dolphins in northeast Scotland. At first they guessed that ongoing viral epidemics or fishing nets might be the culprit. Then in 1994 researchers discovered a porpoise washed ashore with bloody tooth marks that matched the teeth of an adult bottlenose.

    When they took a closer look at the bodies of 105 porpoises recovered between 1991 to 1993, researchers realized 42 had been killed by bottlenose dolphins. Bottlenoses often swim close to shore rather than in mid-ocean, so this species (one of 26 identified dolphin species) was implicated in eyewitness accounts of dolphin attacks.

    In one case, witnesses report a group of bottlenoses ramming a sole harbor porpoise with their heads and long snouts, sending it flying into the air. After more than 30 minutes of abuse, the beaten porpoise sank into the water.

    “The animals I’ve been studying for 10 years are killing these porpoises!” says Ben Wilson, a dolphin expert at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, who was shocked by his team’s discovery. Dolphins and porpoises are both marine mammals, or warm-blooded animals that nurse their young on milk. The two mammals belong to the same order called cetaceans (si-TAY-shins). But they eat different fishes and don’t usually compete for food (see food web, p. 10). So Wilson and his team are baffled by the apparently senseless porpoise murders.


    Researchers have known for decades that dolphins, like many animals, can behave aggressively. Male dolphins often compete for mates and food. They lunge at one another, slap their tails (or flukes), snap their jaws, and even bite. Scientists have also occasionally observed males threatening or fighting with females and calves, but aren’t sure what such behavior means.

    But why would bottlenoses kill porpoises? Since harbor porpoises are roughly the same size as baby dolphins, Scottish researchers speculate that dolphins may practice their infant-killing techniques on porpoises. Infanticide is not uncommon in nature, especially among mammals. When food supplies dwindle, a mother gerbil, for example, may eat the weakest of her babies to ensure she has enough energy to produce food for her other infants. Scientists theorize that bottlenose dolphins may have more in common with these “cannibal animals” (see sidebar, right) than was previously thought.

    Dolphins may be trying to destroy potential rivals, or may hope to free up females for mating. Female dolphins nurse their young for three or four years, Dunn explains. During that time females aren’t interested in males. But when a calf is prematurely killed, a female becomes ready to mate again, perhaps with the father’s rival.

    Dolphin killers may also be driven by anger or aggression. If that’s true, they could share common characteristics with human murderers. Like humans, dolphins don’t eat their victims. Could dolphins possibly be killing for sport? No one knows for sure, but marine scientists hope to find out.

    Killer whales, called orcas, also belong to the order of cetaceans and to the dolphin family of delphinidae (del-FIN-i-day). “Killer whales are just big dolphins,” says Daniel Odell, a research biologist at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. “If orcas are ferocious killer sea mammals, it shouldn’t be so surprising that dolphins are, too.”

  10. These matters are confusing – they are confounding in a society that is still trying to figure out how they came to be – with some arguing that science is the work of the Satan – and that preemptive war is the will of God.

    That being said – I’m standing clearly on the side of the argument that says even the most queasy invertebrate could drop a dime to 911 in all of 10 seconds.

  11. I’m a little reminded of the brave people who would rush a gunman who burst into the room. Until, you know, a gunman bursts into the room.

    I dont know why people didn’t call. Perhaps they feared that the 911 operator would pressure them to stay and help (how?) instead of moving on. I’m not defending them, just wondering aloud if our current 911 procedures might be subtly discouraging people from getting involved with quick “hey, you should take a look at this!” messages.

    BTW I have been in one of these situations. I was walking to lunch and suddenly several people erupted from the door of a store immediately behind me. My immediate reaction was tempered by the realization that “him pulling her” probably means a domestic dispute, something even cops fear to step into since the “victim” will often turn on her would-be “rescuer”. I could unwittingly escalate the situation.

    After a few endless seconds I realized it was actually “her (and a coworker) pulling him (a shoplifter)”, but at about the same time he broke free and there wasn’t really much I could do. Not even be an eyewitness — I hadn’t witnessed any crime personally and the store’s security cameras would give a better description than I ever could.

    So… but these people had plenty of time to think. It wasn’t a situation where you have to take in the scene and act within seconds. So why did -nobody- call 911, or block traffic, or whatever?

  12. I am not surprised to hear about your actions or unfortunately the response of the bystanders. I had a similar situation when I assisted a heart attack victim in a store. Yet, I have always found porpoises to be pretty self-centered and a bit cold. Beside, they can’t float on their backs.

  13. JT:

    I just have been in similar circumstances and have seen the reaction of parents with kids, little old ladies, and even the security personnel. I saw a guy go down at a ballgame and since I have some CPR training I went over to help. I asked some folks around to call 911 while I checked the pulse and they just stood there. I had to literally grab some kid and tell him to go get security which took about 5 minutes though it seemed like an hour. Lots of onlookers and no helpers. The guy was a diabetic and things worked out ok, but it was scary (for me too). That’s why I think it more genetic than callousness, but I wouldn’t rule that out either. By the way, personally I like porpoises.

  14. Mespo:

    You are far more generous than I on this one. The fact that no one called 9-11 would seem to support a darker view. There is one woman on the left who actually takes steps toward him and then walks away. Yet, neither she nor anyone else called for aid if they were unwilling or unable to render aid.

    I am remarkably steamed about this video, which confirms my view that the sea otter remains the most advanced species on Earth.

  15. In my experience, most people, when confronted by extraordinary circumstances, hesitate as they decide what to do. We are not trained to deal with this type of emergency, and all too often the fear of the unknown like AID’s exposure, concern about being set up for crime, etc. take over and prevent our acting in aid of others. I think it more genetic that callousness, and that may be why the law imposes no liability for such non-action. That does not explain the failure to call for help for the poor soul and that truly is callous. It may be that some people did call from the safety of their cars, but I guess we won’t know that for sure.

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