WTD? Woman Who Didn’t Stop for Donald Duck In Crosswalk Claims She was Too Scared

Readers — I love that Fort Lee, NJ, sent a eafkkkhfzd
giant duck into traffic on Halloween
to teach drivers to stop for pedestrians. Those who didn’t stop got tickets. It wasn’t really a sting, because cars SHOULD stop for pedestrians.

So here’s the wacky part. (Yes, wackier than dressing up as a duck for your job. I once had to dress up as a martian in a sequinned bathing suit. Work is work.) One of the women ticketed for not stopping claimed, in this interview, that as a woman, the duck scared her. Because of the long, sordid history of duck-on-women violence?

My guess is that the next time she sees a 7-foot duck, she’ll put on her big girl pants. Speaking of which, putting on pants is something Donald might consider doing, too. As for Free-Range Kids…this is my night off. Just had to write about the duck. But truly: Free-Range depends on drivers NOT IGNORING pedestrians.

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54 Responses to WTD? Woman Who Didn’t Stop for Donald Duck In Crosswalk Claims She was Too Scared

  1. Michelle November 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Ha, I saw that yesterday and immediately thought of you. What kind of sheltered life has she been living when she’s terrified by a man in a costume – ON HALLOWEEN – trying to cross the street? I loved the points that Kevin from Lowering the Bar made about how ridiculous it is for the operator of a 3500 pound vehicle to be scared of a pedestrian in a duck suit.

  2. DensityDuck November 16, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    She was probably scared that he might have a spiked corkscrew penis longer than his body. Which is how the duck do.

  3. En Passant November 16, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    One of the women ticketed for not stopping claimed, in this interview, that as a woman, the duck scared her. Because of the long, sordid history of duck-on-women violence?

    Isn’t every schoolchild familiar with:

    A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
    Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
    By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
    He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

    How can those terrified vague fingers push
    The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
    And how can body, laid in that white rush,
    But feel the strange heart beating where it lies? …

    William Butler Yeats, Leda and the Duck

  4. J.T. Wenting November 16, 2014 at 6:19 am #

    the tickets are not appropriate, unless there’s a law saying you should stop for ducks…

  5. BL November 16, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    @Karen Haigh
    “It was a huge duck. It was scary. I’m a woman …”

    She is woman, hear her roar.

    I wonder how she’d react to someone dressed as the bogey man.

  6. SOA November 16, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    That is funny. I might be so shocked to see Donald that I might forget what I am doing and not stop either so I can kinda see her point that maybe she was like too shocked to react. Shock and scared are not the same thing though.

    They better watch out, Disney is so picky about anything relating to their characters they might start suing and sending cease and desist letters to them over this.

  7. Nicole 2 November 16, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    The drivers were awful in the video- we’re not talking rolling stops or a couple people just not seeing the pedestrian, we’re talking virtually every car just driving past at high speeds. I am positive she earned her ticket.

    Stop for pedestrians. It’s not that complicated. I don’t care if they’re in costume or their appearance somehow comes off as scary. You stop and let them pass.

  8. J- November 16, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    That is insane. She should be sentenced to having to wear the duck costume and try to cross the road for 8 hours next Halloween.

  9. E. Simms November 16, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I agree the woman deserves a ticket. But $235? That is just extreme. $25-50 plus a choice of points or drivers’ school would be reasonable.

    Heavy enforcement of traffic laws with reasonable fines would work better in the long run than pulling stunts like this with extreme fines.

  10. Buffy November 16, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    @Nicole 2, the problem with “Stop for pedestrians. It’s not that complicated.” is that the definition of a ‘pedestrian’ IS becoming complicated. In my 280,000 population city, a pedestrian used to be someone IN a crosswalk. Then it was changed to someone who is waiting to cross. Now, a pedestrian is also someone walking on the sidewalk *approaching* the crosswalk. There are no guidelines for that either (such as within 3 feet of the corner). So in our busy downtown, we have multi-lane traffic screeching to a halt when someone is approaching the corner and…nope, they turned, not crossing after all. I believe in pedestrian safety, but, at least in my city, the rules are complicated to interpret. (Not to mention if I stop for a pedestrian waiting to cross, the drivers in the lane next to me might not, so the pedestrian is not going to budge. So we all sit there at an impass.)

  11. Ben November 16, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    @E. Simms: A fine won’t work if it has no financial impact. In fact, with pedestrians’ lives at stake, I find the fine too low.

  12. EricS November 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Wow! That lady needs to get her license revoked. Stupid drivers! It’s a crosswalk, with the lights flashing, and these people didn’t give the right of way. From the video, it looks like they were literally trying to force their way pass the crossing duck. Man, woman, child, or Donald Duck. The laws of the road still apply. Obey them!

    And most people don’t realize this, the only difference between and drunk driver and a scared driver, is one was drinking. But they both make the wrong decisions at the wrong time. There should be something in road tests to get your license, to see how one reacts under pressure, if we truly want to keep the roads safe. I see too many scaredy cat drivers on the road. ie. the ones who slow down to a crawl whenever they drive by a car parked on the side of the road while it’s running. I’m guessing they are afraid it might pull out all of a sudden. Or how about the drivers that wait till the light turns red before making their left, even though there are no cars coming. Or or coming in the opposite direction is so far (and no pedestrians crossing), 4 cars could have made a left already.

    I hope the judge laughs in her face, and charges her for failure to give the right of way, and dangerous driving.

  13. EricS November 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    @Buffy: It’s simple, crosswalk, lights flashing, pedestrian (duck costume or not) trying to cross. Even as that stupid woman said, “if it was a regular person, I would have stopped”. So she clearly understood the traffic law she broke.

    Jaywalking is another story. If the duck had been doing this on a non-designated pedestrian crosswalk, then I would agree, fight the ticket. But it was a crosswalk, with flashing indicator lights. Plain and simple. She broke the law. As did many of those drivers.

    @SOA: You “would be shocked” to see a person dressed as Donald Duck…on Halloween? I guess my train of thought is much different from yours. On Halloween, I expect almost everyone to be wearing a costume. I would have stopped and let him pass. It’s the law. I also would have been very attentive, and non-fearful behind the wheel. You can’t be scared driving. Bad things happen to scared drivers, and the people around them.

  14. Shelly Stow November 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Correction, Passant: Leda and the SWAN.
    And no, assuming you weren’t being facetious, every schoolchild is not familiar with it. Upper level high school and college only. It is a poem about a graphically portrayed sexual encounter that is clearly rape.

  15. gap.runner November 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Someone obviously never read Make Way for Ducklings when she was a kid.

  16. pentamom November 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    “the tickets are not appropriate, unless there’s a law saying you should stop for ducks…”

    I hope you’re joking, because this wasn’t a duck and everyone capable of having a driver’s license would know it wasn’t a duck.

  17. Jill November 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    There should be a law against swans molesting helpless virgins, even if they’re really the god Zeus disguised as a swan. Oh, wait! It’s not real, it’s a story from Greek mythology! I used to love reading about the ancient Greek gods and goddesses when I was a child. I supposed it’s discouraged now, because of all the sex and violence. What a shame.

  18. pentamom November 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    That woman is a real piece of work. It was obviously a human being in a costume trying to cross the street. So point 1, there’s nothing ambiguous about whether you need to stop for a human being who is already in a crosswalk, trying to cross the street. Point 2, what is scarier about a guy in a duck costume than a regular person? People dress up in silly costumes for Halloween, for advertising purposes, for all kinds of things. This is not so bizarre that it should have been scary to anyone over the age of 5. And on the most basic level, even if you are filled with paranoid fears, a person dressed in a ridiculous costume like that is *less able* to harm you in any way (in broad daylight on a busy street, I might add) than a person dressed normally.

  19. lollipoplover November 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    “It was scary. I’m a woman, it scared me.”

    I think her Woman Card should be revoked.

    It’s Donald Duck, not the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And the only reason the officer dressed as Donald Duck was so stupid drivers couldn’t use the excuse that they couldn’t see him in the crosswalk. Her only scare is that she got a ticket.

  20. pentamom November 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Jill, I don’t know what the fashion is for reading Greek myths to younger kids (my kids were homeschooled at younger ages and exposed to them), but in the middle school crowd they’re very popular due to the Percy Jackson books, which are based on the idea that the Greek (and in different series by the same author, Roman and Egyptian) gods are alive and active. Woven through the stories are allusions to all the famous myth stories.

  21. Buffy November 16, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    @Eric S, I already explained why “it’s simple” isn’t necessarily true. If someone is half a block away from the crosswalk, does that count as “approaching”? You tell me since you apparently know it all.

    And what are these flashing lights of which several of you speak of? We don’t have anything of the sort where I live.

  22. Kenny Felder November 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    I will personally pay for pictures of the Martian gig.

  23. Sherri November 16, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Buffy, I believe the flashing yellow lights that Eric was speaking of are in the video clip of the news story he was commenting on.

  24. Puzzled November 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    I work at a college. There are crosswalks; they have lights. Yet a pedestrian walking up to the crosswalk has the right of way, even before they’ve entered the road, over a car that is traveling towards a green light. This is insane and dangerous. What if the car behind me doesn’t know this? Why are we encouraging students to literally cross against red lights?

    I can’t tell where this duck was, but laws should not incentivize dangerous behaviors by pedestrians.

  25. Puzzled November 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Looking again, it appears the duck is crossing against a red. The duck should be ticketed for jaywalking.

  26. CrazyCatLady November 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Some people will make any excuse to get out of a ticket. Like the woman on FB who was complaining about getting a speeding ticket in front of the police station in my small town. She was from a neighboring town.

    She was going 50mph in a 30mph zone. She claimed that she didn’t know because the roads coming into that road are all 55mph. I couldn’t think of one…but she did have a point. There is ONE road, and she was on it. All the other roads leading to it are 35 mph. The one she was on, changed to 35 two and half miles before where she was caught. She went past at least 4 signs stating that the speed limit was 35, and one, near the police station, where it is 30. I honestly hope that she didn’t get off. I had no sympathy for her.

    This woman is also grasping at straws. She needs to admit that she was distracted and pay the fine. Just like the woman on FB, she was probably singing to her kids or talking to them or something and just not paying attention. Which is a bad thing on a night like Halloween.

  27. CrazyCatLady November 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    On the plus side, everyone in town now has the right to tease her about being afraid of Donald Duck!

  28. CLamb November 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    This happened in Ft. Lee, New Jersey at a traffic light set to flashing yellow. The law in New Jersey is:

    39:4-36. a. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except at crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise regulated by municipal, county, or State regulation, and except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided:

    (1)The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a marked crosswalk, when the pedestrian is upon, or within one lane of, the half of the roadway, upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. As used in this paragraph, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes conveying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

    (2)No pedestrian shall leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield or stop.

    (3)Whenever any vehicle is stopped to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

    (4)Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

    (5)Nothing contained herein shall relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway. Nothing contained herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.

  29. mystic_eye November 16, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    “It wasn’t clear what was going on, he kept walking back to the curb”

    WTF, he should have kept walking into the path of the vehicles that weren’t stopping. What an entitled bitch.

  30. pentamom November 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    “Looking again, it appears the duck is crossing against a red. The duck should be ticketed for jaywalking.”

    In one shot you can see a red light but I’m pretty sure that intersection is some distance down from the crosswalk where the duck was. The actual crosswalk was not at the controlled intersection.

  31. pentamom November 16, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    “@Eric S, I already explained why “it’s simple” isn’t necessarily true. If someone is half a block away from the crosswalk, does that count as “approaching”? You tell me since you apparently know it all.”

    I don’t know what Eric knows, and I don’t know it all, and i don’t know the problems are with the crosswalk laws in your town, but it’s clear from the video that the duck was IN the street at the crosswalk and the cars were not stopping, so there’s no unclarity with this case at all.

  32. Mark West November 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    The lady should have stopped, she didn’t, therefore since she broke the law, you get a ticket. You speed you get a ticket. You run a red light you may get a ticket. The point is if your going to break the law you may get caught and if you get caught there may be consequences. In this case the lady was caught and she therefore had to pay the consequence.

    She is only just trying to find someone or something to blame other than herself. She is an adult and just like kids have to behave a certain way adults must behave appropriately or there will be a consequence.

  33. John November 17, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    Riverside County (California) sheriffs have been using this tactic where drivers were routinely endangering children trying to legally cross in a crosswalk to get to and from school. It was pretty bad. The day this article was written, they busted 13 people in less than an hour.

    According to Sheriff Sgt. Bill Guimont: “Our concern is if they can’t see a 7-foot Gingerbread Man, then how are they going to see their son or daughter that is only 5 feet tall walking through a crosswalk?”


  34. E. Simms November 17, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    @Ben “A fine won’t work if it has no financial impact. In fact, with pedestrians’ lives at stake, I find the fine too low.”

    Are you in the one percent? A $25 to 50 fine would have a financial impact for most people. Especially if they have to pay for drivers’ school to keep their insurance rates from going up.

  35. SOA November 17, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    Eric-Yeah adults don’t dress up much around here. And they definitely don’t dress up in the full head type costume featured here. So yeah, even on Halloween it is not something I have ever seen before or am used to seeing. The only exception is sometimes I see adults dressed up standing outside those check advance places in a gorilla suit but they stay out of the road.

    again I said I might be surprised to see it. Did not say it was a certainty. Only way to really tell is send that duck to my neighborhood.

  36. HM November 17, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    Here’s a Google Street VIew shot of what this woman would have seen (sans duck). It adds a lot of context.


    Sorry, but other than the “I’m a woman” lame excuse, she’s in the right. The bizarre duck is at a crosswalk with a traffic light that is giving cars the right of way… all those people have a green light. He’s not supposed to be crossing the street until he has a green light, and any adult or child would know that in this context. Out of place “pedestrians” near a major thoroughfare, to me anyway, usually means “person asking for money”… though I’ve never seen one in a duck suit.

    This is not a “marked crosswalk” as defined by NJ state law.


    It is a full-blown, traffic light enabled big intersection, and people on this road are about to get on the GW Bridge… not taking a leisurely drive though crosswalk-labelled roads. This is about as urban as it gets. If the NYPD had duck-cop at an entrance to the FDR, I think more people would have understood the ridiculous nature of the sting operation.

    If I saw this duck walking out into 30 mph traffic against a “Don’t Walk” sign, I would have blown my horn, too. This is fear-mongering, “streets are dangerous” pseudo event that local news was happy to “report”. It’s also a BS revenue generating scam cooked up by the Fort Lee PD… I guess since closing lanes for Christie is out, they have plenty of time to come up with other schemes to harass the public.

  37. Michelle November 17, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    HM, I admit that I am finding some of the comments here confusing — if I lived under the laws that Buffy mentions, I wouldn’t know when I should stop. And if I were approaching an intersection with a green light and someone standing on the curb, I would assume they were waiting for the light to turn so they could safely cross.

    HOWEVER, the video clearly states that the lights at this intersection were NOT green, they were FLASHING YELLOW. Flashing yellow always means “watch out — prepare to yield.” Here they are usually found in front of fire stations, where a fire truck may suddenly emerge and attempt to enter traffic. Secondly, the woman claims that the man in the duck suit kept stepping out into traffic and then going back. She thought he was a “crazy person.” And she never considered that a “crazy person” who kept stepping into the street may suddenly run out in front of her car?? Stopping was obviously the only safe and legal option, but she chose to blow past instead.

  38. brian November 17, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    As a resident of a nearby town, in NJ they are cracking down on cars not stopping for people in crosswalks. If a person is in the crosswalk or waiting to cross you have to stop. That is the law.

    Many local towns are running stings using plainclothes cops as decoys. Fort Lee added a twist with the duck to make it more obvious and to make it so that the drivers had to admit they didnt see a 6 foot duck. Its not like they missed a person who blended in. This was a 6 foot duck!

    This was not an intersection with a stop light. It was a flashing light which means the crosswalk rule still applies.

  39. J- November 17, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    To all the people defending the woman for not stopping because it wasn’t a legal crosswalk under the right conditions:

    Do you also not stop when a ball bounces out into the street? Do you just keep going when little kid on a bike swerves from the edge to the center of the road?

    The point is: when a human being (even one in a duck costume) walks into traffic, as a driver, YOU STOP. There is no affirmative defense in striking a pedestrian with a car.

    This is not a legitimate defense strategy: “Your honor, yes I saw the man walk out into the street, but he wasn’t at a designated cross walk so I just keep going, it’s all his fault I ran him over.”

    Besides, this was HALLOWEEN. Kids run across the street all the time, in costume, black costumes, dressed as Ninjas and Power Rangers, in the dark. If these people are going to swerve around Donald Duck, what makes anybody think that they are going to stop, let alone slow down, for some 8 year old in a Elsa costume.

    99% of the time I am anti cop and anti police trickery. But in this case, I applaud the police, and their tactics, and want these people nailed to the wall. If you see a person in traffic, come to a stop. Is that so hard?

  40. Puzzled November 17, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    J – of course you should stop when a pedestrian ignores the rules of traffic – just as you should stop when a car blows through a red while you have a green. But it wouldn’t be a good idea for the police to hold a string operation by taking bizarre looking vans and flying through red lights, then giving out tickets for reckless driving.

  41. Neil M. November 17, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    This is the funniest thing I have seen all day. Maybe the judge will accept her “it was a duck” excuse…assuming it’s the judges first *minute* on the bench.

  42. Alexander November 17, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    It seems pretty clear to me that she wasn’t really scared of the duck. She just needed some excuse to get out of the $200+ ticket and points on her license. So she said that she was afraid that the duck was a possible lunatic.

    So this is not a sign of a society driven mad by non existent fears. This is just a woman trying to get out of a traffic ticket.

  43. J- November 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm #


    I don’t think your scenario is quite the same. Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, even when what they are doing is wrong. Why? Because 3500 lbs of car beats muscle and bone every time.

    Also, on any other day of the year, I might be inclined to say that a police sting like that went too far. But it was Halloween. If there is one day a year that a grown man can wear a costume and cross the street is should be that day. That so many people clearly swerved around a man in a costume on Halloween shows that a lot of people need to reevaluate their driving habits.

  44. Nicole 2 November 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    @Buffy did you watch the video? The Duck is at the crosswalk. If someone is standing at the crosswalk you should stop so they can cross. That goes for anywhere.

  45. pentamom November 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    J — not quite. If a person just walks out into traffic where there is no crosswalk and you do not have time to stop, you are not automatically guilty of anything for hitting him.

    However, you’re right insofar as anywhere there is a marked crosswalk, and if you did have adequate stopping distance, you can’t just say, well, he was in the road and I didn’t have to stop so I ran him down. You have to stop if possible, if someone walks into the path of your automobile.

  46. pentamom November 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    If there’s a law that actually says that you have to stop any time anyone steps into any crosswalk anywhere, regardless of whether it’s with or against the light, that’s probably a dumb law.

    However, it’s still absurd that this woman is claiming the duck suit gave her a legitimate reason for not stopping, given that *she claims she would have stopped for a normal person.* I doubt this woman has any fear of people dressed in duck suits whatsoever, she’s just trying to get out of her ticket. And she will get nowhere with any judge, I am sure.

  47. Peter November 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    “It was a huge duck. It was scary. I’m a man …”

    “…so I ran the damn thing over. Twice. Then I grabbed my shotgun and put it out of it’s misery. If I see a giant duck, I’m gonna blow it away. The last thing we need around this neighborhood are giant ducks scaring the womenfolk. They’re bad enough drivers as it.”

    Sexism is wrong. Unless it works for us.

  48. Puzzled November 18, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    J – I agree that the correct action is, obviously, to not hit pedestrians. That’s not the question. The question is what’s a reasonable type of sting to run (if the answer weren’t “none.”) I’m not maintaining that drivers shouldn’t stop for pedestrians, I’m maintaining that using a pedestrian doing something illegal and unsafe is not a good sting operation.

  49. Buffy November 18, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Nicole 2, did you read my post, in which I explained that in my city stopping for pedestrians has become more complicated than “it’s simple, just stop” when the law changed to include those approaching the corner, with no definition of how far away the pedestrian has to be to be considered ‘approaching’? But okay. I’m wrong.

  50. Papilio November 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    I’m late to the party (internet problems…), but I totally second Kenny’s request for photos* of the martian gig – it sounds hilarious! 😀 Was it a Star Wars convention or something?

    *If that makes me a photo predator, so be it 😛

  51. MOBK November 19, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    For those saying “it’s too complicated” knowing when to stop.

    1) Ignorance of the law is not typically a viable defense.

    2) A human being is crossing in front of your speeding chunk of metal. If you are truly ignorant of the law might it not be smart to err on the side of stopping vs attempting to maintain speed by swerving around them.

    Also a $230 fine for failing to stop doesn’t seem particularly excessive. Where I live most moving violations have fines from 120 to 250$

  52. Ben November 19, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    @pentamom If you don’t have adequate distance to stop for someone crossing a crosswalk, you approach with a speed that was too high.

    You’re supposed to slow down near crosswalks so you can see if anyone is coming.

  53. pentamom November 24, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    “@pentamom If you don’t have adequate distance to stop for someone crossing a crosswalk, you approach with a speed that was too high.”

    So if a little kid runs out into the street directly in front of your moving car at a green light, it’s your fault because the stopping distance at 15 mph is more than 6 feet? And you’re expected to be going a speed at every crosswalk so slow that no matter whether the light is green or how fast someone unexpectedly runs in front of you, you won’t hit them if there’s a crosswalk there, even if they have a “don’t walk” sign?

    Sorry, not buying it.

  54. pentamom November 24, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Buffy, it may be more complicated in your city but this was clearly none of that, so I’m not seeing the relevance. The duck was in the crosswalk, there was no ambiguity and nothing complicated.