Witnesses Ignore Seriously Injured Hit-and-Run Victim

June 12, 2008 05:35 PM
by Isabel Cowles
After being struck by a car, Angel Arce Torres lay seriously injured in the street, while none of the pedestrians and drivers who witnessed the accident came directly to his aid.

30-Second Summary

Angel Arce Torres was hit by a car on May 30 while crossing the street in Hartford, Conn. Many pedestrians and drivers witnessed the event, though no one came directly to his aid.

Hartford police have subsequently released a video of the accident, hoping that the tape will lead to information and an eventual arrest.

Torres’ son hopes to shame the hit-and-run driver into a confession: “The people who did this to my father: Come forward. Don't be a coward. Come forward. Face the consequences. Turn yourself in,” he told the Hartford Courant after the accident.

Hartford residents have been shocked that no one came to Mr. Torres’ aid as he lay injured in the street. Although several called 911, no witness directly took action.

The Hartford police chief commented, “At the end of the day we've got to look at ourselves and understand that our moral values have now changed. We have no regard for each other.”

But some human behaviorists and psychologists say that human beings are inclined to be unresponsive when accidents occur in front of large groups. One psychologist explained, "If no one rushes to the scene, people assume the others know more than they do."

Headline Link: ‘Tragic News for Elderly Hit-and-Run Victim’

Background: Witnesses unresponsive to hit and run

Reactions: Citizens and police respond

Opinion and Analysis: The ‘bystander effect’

Related Topics: Kitty Genovese and ‘mean world syndrome’

Human beings hardwired not to respond
Is TV behind witness inaction?  

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