Ashley E. Ramos-Hernandez, 6, died last Wednesday after she was struck by a sport utility vehicle during a Raleigh pedestrian accident. The deadly North Carolina traffic incident occurred during the afternoon close to the intersection of Hillock Drive and North Hills as the young girl was crossing the street. The driver that struck Ashley, 83-year-old Geraldine Baron Deitz, has been charged with passing a stopped school bus and misdemeanor by motor vehicle death.
According to Raleigh police, Dietz says she saw a stopped school bus ahead of her and that all of the bus’s markers and signals were not activated. She says she initially stopped for the bus but when it did not turn she kept driving until she heard a “thud.”
Witnesses, however, dispute her account. They say that the 83-year-old driver ignored the fact that the bus’s markers and signals were activated as Ashley and other kids were crossing the street. The fact that Deitz is an elderly senior driver is once again raising the issue of whether older drivers should be allowed to continue to drive without being tested again.
Since 1999, Ashley is the eighth student to die in a North Carolina pedestrian accident because of drivers who passed stopped school buses. Derek Graham of the state’s Department of Public Instruction was quick to point out, however, that all of the drivers did not fall under one specific age range. He also said that in North Carolina, drivers ignore school bus stop-arms about 2,000 times a day.
According to AAA:
• Almost 1/5th of child traffic deaths involving kids under age 15 are pedestrians.
• Most school pedestrian fatalities occur between 3 and 4 pm.
A driver who strikes any pedestrian due to negligence or carelessness can be held liable for North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death.
Child, 6, dies after being struck by car, The News & Observer, August 19, 2009
Back to School Driving Tips, KTVN News, August 24, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Walk this Way, Safe Kids