Santa Rosa reader Tina Janulaw shared this recent incident, one that was inspired by kindness but almost ended badly. Did she do the wrong thing?

“Last week  I was driving north on Yulupa Avenue past the shopping center where Whole Foods and Petco are located and I noticed a girl and her small dog on the other side of the road waiting to cross the four lanes of traffic,” she wrote. “I was in the middle northbound lane and noticed that there was no southbound traffic at that moment. So I decided to stop to let her get across while those lanes were open.

“To my horror, as soon as she got in front of my car a large vehicle rapidly approached in the northbound lane to my right, on a collision course with the girl and her dog. Luckily a woman on the sidewalk waved her arms and screamed at the vehicle and it stopped just in time. It was so close that it took me a while to be calm enough to drive again.

“Should I not have stopped for her since I was on the other side of the road?”

Unless the woman was already walking across the street when Janulaw stopped, it was the wrong thing to do, says Officer Jon Sloat, the local CHP spokesman. Janulaw may have meant well, but “she made it unsafe for the pedestrian,” he said.

She also made it unsafe for herself and others on that road that day. First, most drivers don’t expect a car to be stopped in the middle of the lane. Second, Janulaw’s car hid the pedestrian from view and kept the woman from seeing any cars approaching on the right.

Good intentions, wrong choice but, in this case, no harm done.


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