Gaithersburg Woman Struck and Killed by a Car as She Crossed the Street

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.


Early Monday morning, a Gaithersburg woman, Muivembet Gelaw, was crossing the street at the intersection of South Frederick Avenue and South Westland Drive when she was hit by a car driven by Rodolfo Guillen. Ms. Gelaw was walking to a bus stop with her daughter to go to church. Unlike many drivers who hit pedestrians and keep driving, this driver remained at the scene. Sadly, Ms. Gelaw did not survive the accident.

A majority of pedestrian-involved accidents occur when people are crossing a street without a crosswalk. However, the location of this accident is a major intersection with crosswalks and traffic-control signals for pedestrians. Currently, police do not know if Ms. Gelaw was crossing with the signal or against the signal, but they are investigating to find out that information. Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed this accident to come forward because many details remain unknown at this time.

Unfortunately, thousands of pedestrians are killed each year in accidents and actually the numbers have been increasing nationwide in recent years. 2010 data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) placed Maryland as the seventh most dangerous state for pedestrians with 1.75 fatalities per 100,000 residents. However, the most recent statistics do not have Maryland ranked in the top ten for worst states for pedestrians. According to the NHTSA, nearly 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths occur in urban environments, at intersections, during the nighttime.

In a Maryland pedestrian accident case, it must be determined whether the pedestrian was lawfully crossing the street at the time of the crash. In other words, was the pedestrian crossing the street against the signal, crossing outside the crosswalk, or texting while crossing, or was the pedestrian crossing with the “walk” signal and inside the crosswalk. Because Maryland is a contributory negligence state, if the victim pedestrian is negligent in any way, they cannot recover in a civil lawsuit.
If you or a family member has been injured or killed by a driver as a pedestrian and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Rockville or throughout Maryland or visit us online at