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South Boston woman charged for death of toddler in a stroller in 2018 chain-reaction crash

Colin McGrath

Charlene Casey, 64, is scheduled for arraignment today on a charge of motor-vehicle homicide, which the Suffolk County District Attorney's office says led to a crash that killed Colin McGrath, 22 months, as he sat in a stroller while his 4-year-old sister and their caretaker walked on an L Street sidewalk on July 25, 2018.

According to the DA's office:

Prosecutors allege that the defendant was operating a Toyota Prius on East Sixth Street at approximately 3:31 p.m. on the date of the crash. She stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of East Sixth and L streets, where a driver in the southbound lane of L Street stopped and waved her through the intersection. The defendant had an unobstructed view of the northbound travel lane on L Street, because no cars were parking along that side of the roadway for street cleaning.

The defendant was legally required to yield the right of way to traffic on L Street but failed to do so before accelerating into the intersection. As she accelerated through the intersection she struck a van traveling northbound on L Street. The van’s steering was damaged in the crash, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. As a result, the van struck Colin, his sister and their adult caretaker, all of whom were on the sidewalk of L Street.

The driver of the van and others in the area rushed to help the crash victims until Boston Police and Boston EMS arrived at the scene. Colin was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. Colin’s sister suffered broken bones and other injuries, included a lacerated liver. The adult caretaker who was accompanying the children was not seriously injured.

An investigation into the fatal crash concluded that the defendant was legally obligated to yield the right of way to vehicles traveling on L Street but failed to do so.

A Suffolk County grand jury indicted Casey on Nov. 25.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

What took so long?

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Voting closed 28

Folks, never stop and wave someone through a stop sign like that when you are supposed to proceed. You mean well, we all do. But don't do it. Stop signs are there for a reason. For those not familiar with the area, motorists on E 6th have a stop sign and those on L St do not at the intersection. The motorist on L St stopped to let the person at the stop sign on E 6th through and shouldn't have. Motorist on E 6th should not have gone regardless, knowing there was traffic coming in the other direction. This is an extreme and heartbreaking example but this is what can happen if you do stuff like that. God bless this family.

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Voting closed 60

Similarly, don't stop for me as a pedestrian if you have a green light. You just make it dangerous for me and everyone else driving. Don't slow down for someone trying to enter onto a main road either, that just indicates you might be letting them in causing a dangerous situation, or what's more annoying, now you've closed the gap behind you that I could have pulled out into.

Good intentions, terrible results.

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Voting closed 3

There's even a term for it, the "wave of death". Don't do it. And ignore it if someone with the right of way tries to wave you through.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wave%20of%20death

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Voting closed 12

... is hard not to make. Someone waves you on. You trust their judgement and you want to be polite. But it’s your mistake in the end.

Twice yesterday drivers deliberately ran red lights and tried to scare me out of the crosswalk. It’s almost a daily occurrence for many pedestrians.
Bending rules to suit you can make you a killer.

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Voting closed 39

Sure, the pylons blocking parking spots make L street intersections slightly less treacherous, but who is preventing those from all being 4-way stops like everything other intersection in the area that isn't L street?

As much as it sounds like this lady made a big mistake and didn't check the other lane, as someone who lives on 6th street and pulls onto L regularly you simply have to pull out and hope someone stops to let you go (as happened with the person in the southbound lane). There is simply no safe way to pull onto L from an east-west direction.

So, why can't we just make these 4-way stops? Are the commuters cutting through Southie to blame? I can't imagine anyone who actually lives there would mind avoiding an everyday life or death situation at the cost of a few seconds to stop?

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Voting closed 23

There's one in Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park. The number and nature of crashes there suggest Bostonians don't know how to deal with four-way stops any more than any other kind of intersection.

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Voting closed 15

Well, there are 10s if not 100s of 4-way stops in that exact area of Boston that work perfectly fine. Granted, it's not always two-way traffic in each direction, but by 4-way I mean that anyone approaching the intersection must pause before proceeding through it.

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Voting closed 2

I'm sorry, but as somebody who actually lives in this area (and who drives through the Stony Brook intersection regularly) just, no. A four-way stop is two two-way roads coming together at an intersection where all four lanes have to stop. We're not talking about two one-way streets coming together or a T intersection or anything else (there's a reason they have "four" in the name).

True four-way intersections are common in other parts of the country, but not here, and Bostonians on the whole just don't know how to deal with them.

In general, the forest four-way actually works - most people can figure it out. The fact that there are so many bad crashes there, however, suggests at least some of us cannot or don't want to.

If you really want to see the true horror of Boston four-way stops, though, head into Dedham and drive from where the Sears used to be to the Stop & Shop. You'll go through two four-ways in short order and it's a bit nerve wracking at the best of times.

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Voting closed 3

As someone who lives near a four-way stop, I can assure people that Bostonians are not actually fond of slowing down or stopping even for a second - and especially, people don't like to stop if they don't see headlights (which makes for lots of "fun" games of "is this person actually going to stop or not" if you're a pedestrian or cyclist going through a 4-way stop).

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Voting closed 11

There are other tragedies just waiting to happen with concurrent lights. This is something that is going to kill someone and nobody is going to do anything about them until it happens. If there's a walk sign and a green light for a driver to turn right eventually the inevitable will happen.

Here is actual advice from the Cambridge Traffic and Parking website...

https://www.cambridgema.gov/traffic/engineeringplanning/trafficsignals/c...

Read this nonsense...

A Head Start

Recognizing that turning vehicles can put pedestrians at a disadvantage, Cambridge intersections give pedestrians a head start. Engineers call this a Leading Pedestrian Interval, or LPI. Our LPIs are a minimum or 3 seconds and are longer for larger intersections. While this may not sound like much, it is plenty of time for pedestrians to walk several feet into the crosswalk and establish control of the space. By the time the first turning car reacts to the green light, several pedestrians are well within view, giving the driver adequate time to react and stop before finishing the turn.

What?

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Voting closed 19

Cambridge, a few years ago. I had one of those, um, LPIs and proceeded to walk across the crosswalk. When I was right in the middle, with no where to go but up, the pick up truck turning left, on the green, almost hit me. I had to throw myself away from his truck's grill, just inches away from my body, to land on the side of the road. His answer when the cops arrived "he did not see me". He just was going too fast, as my witness confirmed, and did not even think to check to see if I had "control of my space".

I was extremely lucky; still don't know how I did not get hit. I did suffer with a pretty bad bruise on my upper thigh for a long time.

Adding insult to injury, the cops would not even cite him.

Get rid of concurrent signalling and save lives.

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Voting closed 19

Generally concurrent signaling is used to help mitigate jaywalking. If you have a long light and make peds wait too long, they’ll just walk against the signal.

Concurrent signaling with LPIs is meant to give everyone a signal, and ensure pedestrians are clearly in the intersection before cars start moving. However it does mean cars need to look and slow down, which is our biggest challenge around here.

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Voting closed 15

However it does mean cars need to look and slow down, which is our biggest challenge around here.

Exactly.

Concurrent signaling is the standard almost everywhere I've ever been, but Massholes just can't get the hang of that "look and slow down" business.

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Voting closed 18

And it was not always a standard, Scratchie. Long ago and far away, I remember stopping the traffic when I had the walk light.

Again, I do not want to place the onus on drivers to do the right thing. Time to change the standard.

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Voting closed 7

A problem with concurrent signaling in crowded areas is that you can never make a right turn.

When your light is green, the pedestrians going in the same direction as you are driving, also have a walk light, and so the crosswalk parallel to your direction of travel (across which you would turn if you made the right turn) is full of pedestrians and you cannot legally or safely turn. When your light is red, the cross street is full of traffic and you cannot legally or safely turn.

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Voting closed 8

They seem to manage in Manhattan.

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Voting closed 8

They kill a lot of pedestrians in Manhattan. And as a pedestrian you also have to constantly deal with cars trying to nose into your space. It is not a great solution.

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Voting closed 12

Tens or hundreds of people get to use a small sliver of roadway forcing five drivers to wait.

Sadness. Better cry to Marty - he will have them reduce the walk lights even more than the "able bodied person has to sprint" level that they already are!

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Voting closed 2

Generally concurrent signaling is used to help mitigate jaywalking.

A more effective way to reduce unsafe crossing would be to correct those incorrectly programmed signals that show "Don't walk" to pedestrians during portions of the signal cycle during which no vehicle traffic can legally proceed. For example, a one-way street enters an intersection and has a "no turn on red" sign. While the traffic light controlling traffic on the one-way street is red, there's absolutely no reason for the pedestrian signal governing the crosswalk to display "don't walk," and yet I see this consistently, all over downtown.

It's difficult to tell the difference between "Don't walk" that is displayed because there is crossing vehicle traffic, and "Don't walk" that is displayed because the signal is incorrectly programmed, and so the city is training pedestrians that "don't walk" only means something some of the time.

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Voting closed 23

Dedham has just decided to get rid of concurrent signaling in the town square.

And there is a reason for that. And that reason is pedestrian safety.

What happened to me is not beyond the norm, unfortunately. Many pedestrians have been getting hit lately, around the city, and I am sure that some of those are due to concurrent signaling.

Any one death or injury due to concurrent signaling is too many, no?

I prefer not to place the onus on the drivers to always due the right thing. Much easier and safer for me as a walker to at least give them a red light.

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Voting closed 14

You can see in this in action nearly every cycle of every light up and down Boylston st. Like clockwork pedestrians crossing get honked at and often almost run drown by drivers who see a green light and assume everyone else is wrong for crossing. I've said this plenty of times on here before, but some nice day this spring grab a coffee at the Starbucks at Boylston and Berkeley, sit on the patio and watch driver after driver disregard walk signals, honk and swear at anyone who dared cross with the right of way and aggressively drive towards them forcing them out of the way.

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Voting closed 3

Cops are so useless. A driver could run over a group of orphans in a crosswalk while texting and they probably still wouldn’t do anything.

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Voting closed 14

The head starts for pedestrians in Cambridge are an absolutely wonderful intervention. This gives pedestrians a chance to get out into the intersection and forces drivers to see them. It has improved safety a great deal.

Sorry if it interferes with your sense of special privilege as a motorist.

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Voting closed 4

These concurrent lights make no sense whatsoever. Just stop traffic in all directions and let pedestrians cross. Then allow traffic to continue. This happens in some intersections but should be standard operating procedure at all intersections. I'd rather wait for people to cross than to try and dodge people trying to cross in traffic. Traffic would flow much better as well.

Also, some pedestrian enforcement for those that refuse to obey the do not walk sign.

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Voting closed 1

What about enforcement for vehicles? I can’t remember the last time I saw a vehicle being cited for running a red or failing to yield to a pedestrian. Yet, I can cross Mass Ave just about any time of day and see several cars blasting through a red light signal or failing to yield to pedestrians - especially by the Pike on-ramp on Mass/Newbury.

The problem is and remains to be bad drivers and even worse enforcement. You know, the people actually causing property damage, maiming, and death?

But by all means, keep your straw man. Your victim blaming attitude online likely indicates some less than desirable behavior behind the wheel.

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Voting closed 3

This story makes me cry every time. God Bless this angel.

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Voting closed 2

in the time it took to indict someone. L Street is still a race track and the City refuses to do anything. Blame falls squarely on the Mayor, and our local politicians better get off their high horses before someone else gets killed here.
I know who I’m not voting for.

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Voting closed 8

When pedestrians cannot safely walk on the sidewalks of this City something needs to be done with the Director of the BTD and their boss the Mayor.

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Voting closed 3

Makes me wonder why the sb driver and this driver thought she could cross intersection if the van was approaching? Was the van speeding? This lady certainly wasn’t since she had come to a stop. This is far from a slam dunk criminal case, no matter how horribly tragic.

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Voting closed 1