Lost Driver Makes Wrong Turn Into Bad Neighborhood, Pays for it with His Life

One of MommaHomie’s biggest fears is taking a wrong turn into a bad neighborhood and getting shot & killed.

I say, as long as you stay in your car and don’t try to get in anybody’s way, you’re going to be safe. [Survivor’s Fallacy Alert!]I’ve made wrong turns into some pretty rough parts of St. Louis, and everybody there pretty much ignored me.[/Survivor’s Fallacy]

Are there any verified reports of people who made wrong turns into bad neighborhoods and got killed, simply for being there?

Not exactly what you’re looking for but Yoshihiro Hattori was killed after he walked up to a house in Baton Rouge, but was at the wrong door.

Here’s a case from England in 1996. The story seems to be owned by a pay search engine, but here’s what I could get:

IIRC, there was a family in Los Angeles back in the '90s that made a wrong turn and at least one family member died. Ah, here it is.

So yes, it’s happened, and no, staying in the car doesn’t mean you’ll be safe. That said, a story like this is much more likely to be the exception rather than the rule.

We should all be so lucky that our biggest fear can be easily avoided. Get her a top of the line GPS system for her next birthday.

Barbara Meller Jensen, German tourist murdered after getting lost in Miami, 1993.


Based on the fact that we have needed to go back 15 years and off to another country to find (so far) three examples, (I would place Hattori in a different category), added to the fact that Deb routinely has to drive into rough neighborhoods late at night and has not been harrassed or shot at, (she has even been given help by odd strangers when she got lost in the dark where street signs had been removed), I would say that it is not a huge risk.

This is not to say that there is NO risk of some trouble or that one should not take precautions, only that the level of risk for “making a wrong turn” is much higher in movies than in real life.

Here’s a full article: http://calbears.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19960409/ai_n14052780

I’m with tomndebb, especially as in this case, it appears the ‘wrong turn’ aspect is peripheral, and it’s just a case of wrong place, wrong time.

Not if you live in San Bernardino, CA. One of the lead stories in today’s newspaper was about the rise in murders in SB in the last year, including several that were “expensive car going down the wrong street.” The place is a war zone during the summer.

What a strange “fact” to use. This board, and this thread only a couple of hours old, are hardly a reliable sample.
I was going to cite one where a guy was one block north of the Oakland Children’s Hospital. Thought he was going to be able to go around the block but ran into a dead end and no easy way to turn around. He was surrounded, pulled from his car and beaten to death. Reported many times as “his error was turning into the wrong neighborhood.” They made it sound like his mistake, like driving off a cliff or something. But it should have been reported as a hate crime against Asians. Look up hate crimes and you will find a lot more examples in the same vein.

No offense, but whether or not MommaHomie’s fear is a rational and reasonable one seems irrelevant to answering the factual question.

“Wrong place, wrong time” is possibly more accurate. Take the case of the York, PA 1969 riots. A black man was shot and killed. Then a white police officer was shot and killed. A few days later, a carful of blacks drove into a white neighborhood, and the car stalled. The lady driving the car, Hattie Dickson, lived in York, and whether or not she knew she was in the “wrong neighborhood” isn’t known. A back seat passenger, Lillie Belle Allen, who attempted to take over driving, was shot and killed when she exited the vehicle.

Late summer of 1990, I am calling on a customer, a garageman near the corner of 23rd & Jefferson Streets in Philadelphia. We’re discussing purchase of a state inspection analyzer, and he looks over my shoulder (my back is to the street), and says, “What the hell?”
I turn and there are several Ford vans northbound on 23rd, with their side doors open. Men in chrome yellow tee shirts over body armor are bailing out, and people are running everywhere. It turns out that a number of arrest warrants were being served on residents in the housing projects at that intersection. Blue and white marked cars descend on the area immediately thereafter. A uniformed officer stops, points at my vehicle, a Ford van with a firefighter’s light bar on the roof, and asks, “Who owns that?” I respond, “I do, Officer.” He asks, “What are you doing here?” “I’m a salesman for Allen Testproducts and I was speaking to this gentleman about…” He cuts me off and says, “Get in your truck, and get out of here, now. You’re not sellin’ anything today.” Me: “Yes, Sir.” It was a rough neighborhood, but on any other day, I’d not likely have run into trouble. I’m guessing the good officer was exercising risk reduction by telling me to beat feet, for which I cannot blame him.

I think Tom’s point is valid- the people who are really in danger in the South Bronx or in South Central L.A. are the poor African-Americans who live there year round.

A single Mom who lives in a housing project has good reason to fear getting mugged, raped or killed in her neighborhood. A random white guy who passes through the neighborhood once in a blue moon really doesn’t have much to fear.

Whatever you do, don’t ever let her read The Bonfire of the Vanities!

I agree that this sounds like it was excellent policing, realisitic decision-making based on the situation and on the likely risks. Good on him.

Preach it. My husband used to be a DA in that county- it was horrific.

Then again, I once made the wrong turn getting off the 405 at Rosecrans Ave, and instead of a nice neighborhood near the marina, I was suddenly in one of the worst neighborhoods in LA. Broad daylight, little white girl alone- I was scared to death, but I imagine that no one even noticed me in my little beater Mazda! :slight_smile:

Reginald O. Denny was certainly in the wrong place during the L.A. Riots, but that was an unusual circumstance, and he didn’t die.

I can’t speak for people who live in tough neighborhoods like the Bronx or South L.A. But I taught for many years in a part of Nashville where the repair men from the Board of Education were afraid to go. We just laughed at them.

My room overlooked the projects and I parked directly in front of them when I had a car. When I didn’t have a car, my husband had to leave me on my own at the front door. It was still dark when I arrived at school.

I don’t remember being overly afraid. You do get used to it. I think one person tried to frighten me one time, but he gave up quickly. Another teacher was held up, but that was when we got a new school building away from the projects.

I disagree. First, being a mother has nothing to do with it. And I would add that any person in any neighborhood has good reason to be cautious and take appropriate steps to be as secure as possible. But I don’t think that women on their own have a reason to live in fear.

True, but then we have to weigh the odds of getting killed in the manner MommaHomie fears, versus the odds of getting killed in an accident caused by the driver watching the GPS screen instead of the road.

While a GPS might help prevent you from steering into dead end streets, does it have the ability to plan routes that circumvent rough or crime ridden areas?

Travelling from downtown Chicago south a few years back, our rental’s GPS took us right through what was unquestionably the worst neighborhoods (and miles of them) I’d ever encountered, ones where we received a number of long, angry stares from residents for even being there.

I’m thinkin’ there are likely many instances where just a little advice from a local is far more useful than anything provided by technological means.

I get your point; GPS is good and often accurate, but is it in situations like the OP mentions “foolproof”?