SDCC 2014: The Zombie Walk Hit and Run

One of the biggest stories to come out of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con isn’t about the latest movies, comics, or television shows, but about a hit and run car accident involving this year’s Zombie Walk. Occurring for the last 8 years, the Zombie Walk sees hundreds in makeup and zombified walk through the streets of San Diego.

As The Wrap reported:

A deaf family with small children was inside the vehicle when it slowly rolled through a large crowd of pedestrians, the San Diego Police Department said in a statement given to TheWrap. The incident happened as Zombie Walk participants lined the streets near the corner of 2nd and Island Avenues just after 5:30 p.m., police said. The deaf family was waiting for the Zombie Walk participants to cross the street, so that they could proceed. But after several minutes, “the 48-year-old male driver slowly rolled forward trying to get out of the area,” the SDPD statement said, adding that the man’s children “were afraid of the crowd.” Several people from the crowd of zombies and other pedestrians then “surrounded and began punching the car,” police said. The attack left the vehicle’s windshield shattered. During the chaos, a 64-year-old woman was struck and “sustained serious arm injuries when she fell under the car,” police said. The man’s condition was not known. “The crowd then chased the car on foot as the family drove toward a police officer down the street,” police said. The driver stopped and told police what happened.

In the world where everyone has a camera attached video has surfaced making it pretty clear what was going on. You can see in the video below that the car involved was waiting for the crossing, but became impatient, trying to roll through the crowd. People approach the side of the car to tell them to stop, and when it doesn’t some sit on the hood in hopes that would stop the car from plowing through the crowd. That’s the point the driver guns it through the crowd. It looks like the driver provokes the crowd, not the other way around as claimed.

All the other cars remained patient and were waiting for the crowd. Police caught up with the driver a few blocks down the road, and removed him from the area for his “safety.”

The bigger question is why didn’t the police block each of the roads as the crowd passed through, and then open up the road once they completely passed?


  • Thank you for getting the story right. So many of the media stories blamed the zombies, saying they attacked the car first, which is simply not true. The driver was in a hurry, witnesses saying he yelled that he “had to be somewhere”. I guess he felt his appointment was more important than the lives of pedestrians. The woman injured was not part of the zombie walk. She was a pedestrian crossing the street. There were masses of people around the area due to the convention. Police were everywhere and the police chief was even walking along with the zombies. They did not walk until told they were clear by police. This is the eighth year of the zombie walk at Comic Con. There is no “budget” or funding for this event as it completely fan driven with a core group of volunteers. It is not a corporate event. Extra police (on top of those already there) would not have stopped this hit and run driver intent on forcing his way through the intersection. Anyone who believes it is ok to plow through pedestrians in an intersection with a car (deadly weapon) should not have a license to drive and should be charged and prosecuted as there is simply no excuse for this kind of stupidity. What I can’t figure out is why he would be in that area at all if his pre-teen and teenage children were “afraid” of crowds. We all know how many attending the convention come in costume, from silly to provocative to scary. Rather than plow through the crowds, scaring the kids even more, why not make this a teachable moment, explaining the fun of cosplay? There was nothing for anyone to fear…except idiot drivers.

    • You are a total moron Jeannie!!! The driver was deaf!! He didn’t yell out anything!

      • Interesting fact: not all people who are legally deaf have a total absence of hearing, many of them can lip read, and the overwhelming majority of them are NOT mute. Please, try not to be so ignorant…

      • I am sorry you feel the need to personally attack me James. Anger management classes may help your agression. Hopefully you do not yet have a drivers license and perhaps you should learn to read. I stated “witnesses said”. It was not my observation or opinion. Have a great day!

  • The fact that you can hear a man screaming “attack him” and “flip that car” in the video makes me think it wasn’t all the driver.

    • So if *you* were to be attacked by a hit and run driver, you’d just smile and wave at the guy as he ploughs on through you? You’re clearly a better person than me…

      • If you watch carefully, (There’s a video been released in slow motion that points out factors that is hard to see in the full speed one) But they were yelling flip the car after he honked his horn and slowly rolled forward. Personally, i’m assuming he was partially deaf not fully deaf, and therefore could here “Flip that Car” and the crowd laughing at him, He only floored it when a two men sat on the bonnett of his car and people started tapping the windows. One man on the far right side of the car tried opening the passenger seat window. The man on the bonet then began to attack the windscreen. Now I personally believe that both the driver and the crowd are in the wrong.

        A crowd of over 700 people crossing one street, you have to show some consideration to others, especially when you have taken no measures to prepare your everyday person who isn’t partaking in this walk for these hold ups. Yes the driver shouldn’t have gone through the crowd, but you can’t expect someone to sit there for who knows how long as people “zombie walk” across a single pedestrian crossing, it’s illogical and rude. I also think it’s kinda stupid that even though he began to inch through the crowd people continued to cross the road, I mean Hello? is everyone that stupid?

    • The fact that everyone in the car was deaf makes me think, so what?

      • Whether the people in the vehicle were deaf or not it does not chance the fact that the screaming began before the car began moving, while the driver was simply honking. In my eyes the screaming was what instigated the people who attacked the car. People who jumped on the hood and shattered the windshield of the car. No one involved in the situation responded properly but the driver of the vehicle should not be the person who is verbally attacked when bystanders were screaming out to attack them for honking their horn.

    • The best part of that link:
      Although his department is not charged with investigating this incident – that’s being done by the Traffic Division – White emphasized that “the pedestrians that were crossing the street legally have the right of way. For vehicle code and common sense, you cannot use a car to move people out of the way. Never ever can you use a deadly weapon to make a path across a crowd of people. When you are in a busy congested area, you must wait. I do not want to condone people’s impatience in justifying a car to go through a crowd of people.”

  • I’d like to know what the pedicab guy said to them through the back window. It sounds like there were scared kids in the car. If the walkers would have let him go through instead of yelling at him and jumping on his car this would have been avoided.

    • It does look like he was inching forward and the crowd surrounded his car and jumped on his hood, rather than letting the car through.

      I can see how he would get scared by the crowd. I don’t know San Diego and how possible or plausible it would be for him in that area without knowing there would be crowds from Comic Con.

      But there’s not really any excuse for gunning your car through a crowd of people.

      It seems like it was an unfortunate incident all the way around.

    • Why should the walkers have to let him through? I’m not sure about traffic regulations in San Diego, but in most countries you are required to yield to processions, parades or any obstruction crossing your path at a junction. Even if he *did* have right of way, that’s no excuse for attempting to drive *through* a crowd of people, even if he did start slowly.

      • That’s correct. Pedestrians DO have the right of way and trump all car rights. Sad thing is, people in a mob never stop for cars and the traffic gets backed up. Literally you could sit there for 10 minutes and not go anywhere. There’s not a good solution, you can’t have a cop on every corner, and people are selfish and will just keep walking and never cause a traffic break. I think the best bet is to slowly inch forward and maybe wave out the window. Honking will only make things worse. Either way, running over people should be your last choice. Unless a medical emergency, I doubt your destination is more important than someones health or life. Last year someone was killed by a car at the same event.

        • No… You turn around, and find some other way to go. “Pedestrians DO have the right of way and trump all car rights.” So, that includes the right to “slowly inch forward and maybe wave out the window”.

          Suck it up! Cars own 90% of every road, parking spots are the #1 use of public space in every city. Having a car gives you free right to store all of your crap securely, close to where you are, and safe from rain, theft, and from cops blowing up your backpack as a “suspicious package”.

          Stop defending the “right” of this guy to move his vehicle down this one particular road at this one particular time, when dozens of alternatives were available.

          • The actual “Zombie Walk” procession had passed that intersection at the time of this incident. During the Zombie Walk there were police at each intersection stopping traffic while the procession of Zombie Walkers crossed. Zombie Walkers in the procession followed all direction from the police department who accompanied the group.
            The folks in the intersection at the time this guy was trying to cross were a combination of Comic Con attendees, cosplayers (some with zombie make up, perhaps some zombie stragglers not joining the official walk) and regular pedestrians, according to the latest police reports.
            There is no reason for anyone in a car to “challenge” pedestrians. Using a car as a bully tool to hurry along people crossing a street is illegal. The whole downtown Gaslamp area was crowded with pedestrians, mostly due to the massive convention, but also because that area is always busy with pedestrians. The driver was just being selfish and inpatient…road rage incidents like this happen all of the time, unfortunately.

  • Hey, Brett… This is the exact opposite of an “car accident”. Regardless of whether you feel it was attempted murder, or just a dude trying to get through, I think we can agree that this was an intentional act.

    Please update the article to say “collision”, “impact” or at least “incident”, and avoid using terminology that judges the driver blameless before any investigation has concluded one way or the other.

  • I read the comments before I watched the video. Someone in the comments says that the yelling started before the car moved, it didn’t, they were ignoring the cars, until he started to slowly move into the crowd, was he hoping they’d scatter for him? Being legally deaf does not give you right of way, and if his children are scared he could have put the Windows up, or reversed a few metres back, stopped the car, and gotten his children out of the car. Owning a car means you own a deadly weapon. Break the law of the road you are essentially brandishing that weapon at anyone vulnerable. And I drive, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m on about.

    Also lastly, this procession has been on going each year for 8 years, how on earth can you NOT know that a procession like this it’s going on, or at least that within the surrounding area that comic con is occurring and to avoid that area? It would have been on any updated Sat nav to avoid the area due to congestion. I know I’m making judgements, but I find it hard to believe Someone wouldn’t know this was happening, because if he lived in the city, he would have noticed it happen every year, and if he didn’t the logical thing to do would be to check your local traffic report.

    I just feel that there is no scenario where this guy is in the right or even slightly justified.

  • I think that guy should be arrested and tried for attempted second-degree murder.

  • …And there was no way that the driver couldn’t back up and take another street? just sayin.
    I’m sure that since the zombie walk was such a large event he would have already known it was to happen that day, via Newspaper or TV news, and taken another route.
    I just think this whole incident was equally the zombies and the driver. The participants should not have messed with his car and the driver should have done the adult thing to either go a different way, or wait there. he had no right to plow through a crowd of people.