June 16, 2009: Diya Patel, a 4-year-old Stoughton, Massachusetts girl, died early Sunday morning as the result of serious personal injuries after being struck by a car on Wahington Street in Stoughton, Massachusetts on Saturday. The girl was hit on Route 138 while she crossing the street on her scooter. She was in a crosswalk and accompanied by her grandfather and siblings. She was transported to Tufts medical center after a nurse and off duty firefighter at the scene had attempted to revive her by performing CPR on the child.
The driver has been identified as Ilse R. Horn who resides in senior community housing in Canton. The Stoughton police announced today that it would be summoning her to Stoughton District Court on charges of vehicular homicide, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, driving to endanger and failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The RMV revoked her operator’s license today, saying she was a safety threat.
Stoughton Police investigated and were reconstructing the accident. There were no skidmarks and it appears that the 88-year-old driver never saw the girl. The speed limit along that section of Washington Street is 35 mph. Investigators allege that Horn was driving a Toyaota Camry and was not speeding when the child was hit.
This was the third serious accident in the Boston area involving an elderly driver this month, including a 93 year old man who injured 6 pedestrians at a Walmart in Danvers and a 73 year old woman who injured 7 people in a crowd in Plymouth. Senator Brian Joyce, of Milton, is sponsor of a bill in the house, which would require mandatory road testing of anyone over the age of 85. The question is open whether driving tests for the elderly would have saved this little girl, but it appears that stricter requirements may result from this tragic accident. The legislature obviously needs to take a closer look at this issue.