Probation for woman who struck four in Great Barrington crosswalk


GREAT BARRINGTON — A Connecticut woman who plowed into four pedestrians — including an 11-month-old baby — as they crossed Main Street last May has been fined and sentenced to probation.

Adina Simonson, 88, of Canaan, submitted to sufficient facts for a plea of guilty to one count of negligent operation of a motor vehicle. A charge of failure to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk was filed.

Simonson was driving south on Main Street about 10:40 a.m. May 29 when she struck the pedestrians in front of several stunned onlookers. The victims included three Stockbridge residents — a 33-year-old woman, a 3-year-old and the baby — and a 64-year-old woman from Idaho.

One of the adults was carried about 50 yards down the street on Simonson's hood.

The victims were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where they were treated for injuries such as broken bones and road rash.

In an interview following the accident, Simonson told police "she was driving along and she just started hitting people," according to Assistant District Attorney Katy Innes, adding that Simonson did not stop immediately.

Innes said that while the victims realized that Simonson did not intend to hurt them, "they are still dealing with the shock of it."

The victims acknowledged they did not want to see Simonson go to jail, but they also did not want to see her on the road again.

Attorney Lee Flournoy, representing Simonson, said her client was "as sharp as a tack."

Prior to the May accident, Flournoy said, Simonson "had never had a problem" driving her car. The accident in May "was like a thunderbolt," she said.

Flournoy said her client was upset that the accident happened, and immediately turned in her license.

"It was a tragedy for everyone," she said.

Simonson did not speak at Thursday's hearing.

Following the accident, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, at the behest of the Great Barrington Police Department, revoked Simonson's right to drive in Massachusetts, Innes said.

Flournoy disagreed with a contention by Innes that the crosswalk at the intersection of Main and Railroad streets was well-marked.

"It was not," she said, though she conceded that the point was moot.

The town has since painted the crosswalks to be more visible.

Southern Berkshire District Court Judge Paul Vrabel placed Simonson on probation until June 29, 2017. He also assessed Simonson a $50 victim witness fee and a $50 per month probation fee.

Innes requested that Vrabel condition his findings by ruling that Simonson never be able to reapply for a license, and condition with which Vrabel agreed.

Flournoy said her client "had no intention of ever driving again."

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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