Witnesses to Great Barrington pedestrian crash report driver didn't stop


GREAT BARRINGTON >> Witnesses reported the driver of the black sedan that struck four pedestrians on Main Street did not stop or slow down as the accident happened on Friday morning.

"I don't think she even slowed down," said Luke Germain, of Stockbridge. Germain is the owner of Tune Street, a music and electronics store. He was en route to work when he saw the accident at about 10:49 a.m. Police have not identified the 87-year-old female driver from Canaan, Conn. She has been charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Germain did not have an estimate for the driver's speed, but another witness who asked not to be identified because "I'm not a cop," said it seemed to him as though the driver was doing 25-30 miles per hour, The speed limit on the street is 20 miles per hour. In addition, drivers are reminded by a sign to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Police Chief William R. Walsh said the woman was released on her own recognizance. She will be summonsed at a later date to Southern Berkshire District Court.

The four victims were not identified. They were two women, an 11-month-old girl in a stroller and a 3-year-old girl. The woman pushing the stroller was also holding the 3-year-old's hand, said Germain. The second woman was slightly behind the first, he said.

The car came up on the inside southbound lane, said Germain, and struck the rear woman flush in the side. She rolled up onto the hood of the vehicle. At about the same time, the vehicle struck the woman and 3-year-old, as well as the stroller.

"They kind of got sideswiped," he said of the three.

All four were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield with what police described as "non-life-threatening" injuries. There was no word on their condition on Saturday.

The car continued on another 50 or so feet, said Germain, with the rear-most woman still on the hood. As it neared his vehicle, he opened the door and jumped out.

"I think the only reason she stopped was because my door opened into her lane," he said.

When the vehicle stopped, the woman who had been struck head-on rolled off the hood onto the street.

Wanda Cram, an employee at T.P. Saddleblanket at the corner of Main and Railroad streets, said she was working Friday morning when she heard "yelling and hollering. At first I thought it was something good. But I looked out and saw all these people in the street and the cars stopped."

Cram and another employee, Susie Butkus brought out blankets for the victims and the driver. Cram, covered the driver with a blanket and helped to a nearby bench.

"I got her a drink of water," said Cram. "She was pretty shaken up."

Germain said that when the woman stopped her car, "she got out and started walking south. I jumped in front of her and said, 'No, no, no, ma'am. You have to stay. You can't leave.' She stopped, but she didn't say a word."

Germain said he was "incredibly impressed" with the response from passersby.

"People just came from everywhere, with blankets and water," he said. "It makes you feel so good to be in a community like this."

An off-duty EMT arrived the stabilize the victims. Germain said But he said, ambulances and the Great Barrington Police responded quickly, within minutes.

Recalling Friday morning, said Germain, "was tough. I keep seeing that stroller in the road."

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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