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'I never saw her. I heard the screams': Citation upheld for stroller-pushing woman struck by snowplow

MINOT, N.D.—"I never saw her. I heard the screams."

That was the testimony of a city of Minot equipment operator whose snowplow struck a baby stroller being pushed by a Minot woman. The stroller was knocked over but the 18-month-old inside it and the mother pushing it were not injured.

The accident occurred early afternoon March 3. The Minot police officer who responded to the call issued a citation to the snowplow operator for "care required" and cited the mother pushing the baby stroller for "pedestrian to use sidewalk."

The mother challenged the charge in Minot Municipal Court Thursday. She told Judge Mark Rasmuson that she had been at the YMCA and was walking north with the intention of returning to her nearby apartment on the opposite side of the street.

The woman testified there was snow on the sidewalk on the east side of the treet, so much that she "couldn't drag the stroller" through it. She said she had hoped to cross a traffic heavy street, but before she reached that intersection, she was struck.

Two blades were being used to clean the street of snow at the time of the incident. The second snowplow that was involved in the accident.

Minot's Code of Ordinances mirrors state Century Code regarding pedestrians using a roadway. There are three provisions to the statute. The first is that pedestrians must use the sidewalk if provided and it is practicable to do so. Second, if no sidewalk is available a pedestrian can walk on the shoulder of a roadway. Third, if neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available the pedestrian "shall walk only on the left side of the roadway."

The city conceded there was no contesting the first two provisions of the ordinance in this instance, but charged that the mother was pushing her baby stroller on the wrong side of the road, that she should have been walking against the flow of traffic and not with it.

In issuing his ruling Judge Rasmuson noted that it was an "unusual case" and that "I find guilt for failure to walk facing traffic."

The woman was assessed a $20 fine.