August 29, 2005
An elderly woman is now dead this evening after being hit by a car while attempting to cross Barracks Road.
It was along Barracks Road just west of Barracks Road Shopping center around 11:45 a.m. that 91-year-old Mary Becker crossed the road as she had done many times before. Joey O'Brien works at the Exxon nearby and heard what happened next.
"We heard a loud noise like something was just smashing across the ground, when I glanced up I noticed that she wasn't around anymore," said O'Brien.
Witnesses say the elderly woman usually crossed at the stoplight up the street but instead chose to cross in front of the 7-11 gas station. According to police she was almost to the other side when she was struck by a woman driving a minivan
"[The driver] looked very,very upset...I can't even imagine how she feels," said O'Brien.
Becker later died at the hospital. Although she didn't cross at the stoplight, police say she did nothing wrong.
"The area that she crossed [near the 7-11] is a safer area to cross; it goes from one sidewalk to another, and that's what we would prefer anyone to [do]," said Sgt. Mike Farruggio of the Charlottesville Police Dept.
O'Brien said over the past six months, he's witnessed several accidents along the heavily congested road. And despite the danger, it's not uncommon for bikers and walkers to cross. O'Brien believes more precautionary measures are needed.
"There's no crosswalks over there, so maybe that would be something [that needs] to be thought about in the future," said O'Brien.
A preliminary investigation revealed the driver was not speeding at the time. So far, no charges have been filed.