Nova Scotia

Pedestrian in fatal Williams Lake accident remembered as active senior

An 81-year-old woman who died after being hit by a vehicle in the community of Williams Lake is being remembered as a fighter who was active in her community.

81-year-old was on her way to mass at St. Michael's Church

Friends mourn pedestrian

8 years ago
Duration 2:43
Woman, 81, remembered as a fighter who was active in her community.

An 81-year-old woman who died after being hit by a vehicle in the community of Williams Lake is being remembered as a fighter who was active in her community.

Joyce Martell embraces a friend outside the Spryfield legion where the victim of Saturday's car accident was remembered at a dance. (CBC)

The woman was in a crosswalk at the intersection of Williams Lake and Herring Cove roads at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday when she was struck by a car driven by a 71-year-old man. She died in hospital the next day.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was in a marked crosswalk where the lines have faded.

On a regular Monday, the victim would be at the Earl Francis Spryfield Memorial Legion for a dance. On this Monday, her friends gathered to remember.

Joyce Martell knew the victim well.

"I feel sorry for her family, for all of us, there's not a dry eye in there," she said. "We all danced together. We danced every dance. Every dance, we had a real good time."

Martell said the woman was a member of the local Young at Heart Club, playing darts and going to dances.

Friends say the victim was on her way to 4 o'clock mass at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church when she was hit on Saturday. Martell was already inside the church and heard the sirens.

'I had a feeling it was her'

"I had a feeling it was her,” she said. "So I went out and she was in the ambulance."

Martell said she went to the hospital to sit with her friend and hold her hand before she died Sunday evening.

"I think she knew I was there. I know she did. She didn't deserve it," she said. "She'd just gotten over cancer last year. She beat that and she had everything to live for and then this happened."

Grace Caldi knows the intersection well.

A couple of years ago she was hit by a car at the lights at Williams Lake and Purcells Cove roads. Left with a broken leg, she spent 10 days in hospital and months in physiotherapy. Hearing about this most recent accident hit her hard.

"I cried," Caldi said. "I felt really emotional about it because even now it could have been me. I'm a senior. I felt really emotional, across my heart."

Loretta Melanson lives in Captain William Spry Lodge, the same building as the victim. She knew her for the past five years and said she was declared cancer free about six months ago.

"She was always involved in the community, bowling, going to church," Melanson said.

"No matter what she had, the cancer, she never gave up. She always kept going about her business, her daily routine and doing what she had to do. She always kept going."

News of this latest accident didn't come as a surprise to Therese Harnish.

The woman was in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Williams Lake and Herring Cove roads Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a car driven by a 71-year-old man. (CBC)

In July 2012, Harnish was hit at the corner of Williams Lake and Herring Cove roads. She suffered a broken arm and underwent a year and a half of physiotherapy.

Harnish has glaucoma and is visually impaired, but said she can see the red and green lights. She said there are a couple of concerns about the crosswalk at that intersection.

"The green light doesn't stay on long enough when you cross the street. The countdown starts counting down almost right away," she said.

"When you cross the street, part of the crosswalk goes into the bus lane. I wrote to my city councillor with this issue."

'Our hearts are broken'

Harnish said she heard back from the city and was told that the crosswalk was in the budget to be fixed, but nothing has been done yet. She wasn't shocked to hear about Saturday's accident.

"I'm not really surprised actually. It's a dangerous spot," she said.

"When I cross the street, still, I'm a little nervous, looking back and forth. I wonder if the car coming across me is going to hit me again."

Halifax Regional Police say they expect the driver will be charged. Investigators are still deciding what the charges will be.

Martell and the other ladies at the legion had a dance on Monday for their friend.

"Our hearts are broken," she said. "She was a beautiful lady."

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