Deaf Family Hits Woman Trying To Escape Zombie Attack of the Car in San Diego

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 7.52.07 AMThere is a case out of San Diego that raises some of the same issues as the infamous biker attack on a family in a van in New York city last year. In this case it was zombies. Various people dressed up outside Comic Con for a “Zombie Walk” where they walked like brain-dead undead down the street. To prove the first criteria, various members attacked a car of a family with children. The entire family was deaf. Despite their pleas, these people pounded on the car and one jumped on the hood and broke the windshield. The family then tried to pull away and struck a 64-year-old woman in the crowd.

The incident raises some interesting tort and criminal issues. For the moron on the car and those pounding on it, there should be criminal charges from assault to criminal damage. One interesting charge could be the terrorism provision used against some racists (and controversial from free speech perspectives), but given the attack on the car (as private property) it could be viewed as terrorizing even when dressed in a costume:

Any person who engages in a pattern of conduct for the purpose
of terrorizing the owner or occupant of private property or in
reckless disregard of terrorizing the owner or occupant of that
private property, by placing or displaying a sign, mark, symbol,
emblem, or other physical impression, including, but not limited to,
a Nazi swastika, on the private property of another on two or more
occasions, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision
(h) of Section 1170 for 16 months or two or three years, by a fine
not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and
imprisonment, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one
year, by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by
both the fine and imprisonment. A violation of this subdivision shall
not constitute felonious conduct for purposes of Section 186.22.

Obviously, these people could also be sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, battery, and other torts.

The family’s legal status also raises tough questions. The family was technically fleeing and will argue that they were engaged in classic self-defense after the man jumped on their hood and broke their window. Injuries caused by emergency situations can be excused. Even mistaken self-defense can be privileged in torts. The family can argue that they were terrified and trying to protect their children in the assault. The defense is a lack of intent and justified fear. Even under a negligence theory, many jurors would likely view their actions as reasonable under the circumstances — assuming that these circumstances are proven.

Source: TMZ

26 thoughts on “Deaf Family Hits Woman Trying To Escape Zombie Attack of the Car in San Diego”

  1. As others have said, the video really does not seem to support Professor Turley’s description of the events. It seems to me quite clear that the driver became impatient and tried to push through the crowd, and the crowd only began reacting angrily after members of the crowd had attempted to tell the driver to stop in a more level headed manner. Not that she’d be admitted as an expert witness or anything, but my mom is a retired special education teacher for the hearing impaired, and she said that the family being deaf should not have caused them to react in this way. Deaf people are quite used to being deaf and having people attempt to communicate with them, and they can tell when pedestrians are trying to tell them to stop.

  2. I have a different opinion on this based upon my observation of the video provided by Simms.

    1) The Honda in question is stopped past the white stop line at a corner intersection under the authority of a stop sign. Pedestrians would have right of way at this intersection.

    2) The Honda begins inching forward. Several individuals then walk up to the driver side of the vehicle and begin talking to the driver. Some knock on the window and one knocks on the side of the vehicle. I presume they are telling the driver to stop going forward while people are crossing the street.

    3) A few more individuals come forward as they have noticed the driver’s actions also.

    4) One man wearing a blue shirt walks forward and sits on the front hood of the Honda, presumably to make his point for the car to stop for the pedestrians.

    5) The vehicle the rolls forward, pushing several persons off to the side and accelerates.

    6) An elderly woman is tossed to the ground as is a few others.

    7) The man in the blue shirt during this turns around after being twisted by the force of the Honda moving forward and he then strikes downward toward the front windshield. I am not certain if he strikes the windshield but if he hit the windshield in the upper corner this could cause the window to crack. The upper corners of car windows are their Achilles Heal and they break from that point easier.

    8) Based on what I saw my opinion is no reasonable person would have taken the actions of the Honda’s driver and should have waited patiently for the crowd to open for him to safely drive away. Instead, he defied the crowd in a reckless manner, with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.

    In my opinion, depending on this state’s traffic laws, it could be asserted there is probable cause to charge the driver for Vehicular Assault and Felony Hit and Run. If the driver somehow felt threatened by the persons around him, which I don’t see any evidence a reasonable person could arrive at this conclusion, he should have backed up as there was nobody else behind him. Running through a crowd of pedestrians is not defensible.


    Here’s a more comprehensive video. The guy in the car was definitely being a jerk to begin with. However, he didn’t accelerate until people started piling on top of his car. Unfortunately, an innocent woman was badly hurt when two jerks collided.

    No offense, but Jonathan’s description was pretty exaggerated.

  4. @Bill H “He edged into the crowd, bumping the walkers and physically pushing them aside with his moving car. They reacted angrily by pounding on his car and, in one case, by jumping onto it.

    In my opionin, the fact that the family in the car was deaf is irrelevant, the reaction of the crowd was entirely justified and Jonathan owes an apology to the City of San Diego.”

    You think that violently assaulting a family with small children was justified? If your description of events is true, was it somehow impossible for the “Zombies” to simply move out of the way of the slow moving car, take down the license plate number and alert one of the multiple police officers in the area?

  5. Not only would this make a wonderful bar exam scenario, but even as we speak, somewhere in California a fledgling screenwriter is drafting a treatment for a straight to video film about a group of zombies who terrorize the rural campus of a school for the deaf.


    This is what I found in the SD local news. It appears he tried to roll or inch forward into the crowd. He either didn’t want to wait anymore or the kids were scared. The crowd objected and people sat on the car.

    It looks like they need to investigate to find out what exactly happened. It might be something in the middle of both stories.

    The poor woman who was hit.

  7. Touched on by Michaelb, but to elaborate a bit. The car was at a cross street, waiting for the “Zombie Walk” to pass. The crowd following the walk did not clear fast enough to suit the driver of the car and he got tired of waiting. He edged into the crowd, bumping the walkers and physically pushing them aside with his moving car. They reacted angrily by pounding on his car and, in one case, by jumping onto it.

    In my opionin, the fact that the family in the car was deaf is irrelevant, the reaction of the crowd was entirely justified and Jonathan owes an apology to the City of San Diego.

    1. I realize that pounding on cars and jumping on them and breaking the window is the New York way or Chicago way, but it is not the California way, except for Watts.

  8. I agree with Michaelb.
    The Zombies were just minding their own business, as zombies generally will do, until their attention is brought to fresh brains.
    The deaf family should have just laid low until the hoarde passed on by.

  9. Many residents of San Diego are fed up w/ the ComicCon nonsense. They take their vacation out of town when it is ongoing. Should make for an interesting lawsuit. Hopefully the zombies have homeowners insurance.

  10. Not discussed here was the car slowly drove into the zombie crowd in a cross walk when the zombies reacted. The zombies had the right of way. The car then accelerated through the crowd. We only have the family’s story that the windshield was broken before the escape. Also it should be pointed out that the side rear window was open. Typically that would not indicate fear for your life.

  11. I have a “Zombie Escape Plan” complete with escape kit. I can see how these people would want to escape. If people broke my windshield I would floor it. I am fearing for my life. And in this case I am protecting my family as well.

  12. That would be a quickly escalating situation. Once they broke the windsheild, I’m sure pure adrenalin took over. Be interesting to see what happens. Also interesting if they did that to the wrong vehicle and some burly dude got out and started kicking the crap out of the “zombies.”

  13. This whole “Zombie” stuff is peopled by major d**kheads. I’m sure George Romero regrets that he has anything to with this phenomenon. Over and out.

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