in small print, like on page 5. You probably missed the news, back on October 7th, that a 64 year old woman was run over in the parking lot of the McDonald House by a pickup belonging to the Housing Authority. I got a call about it that day from a tenant. It wasn’t until two days later that there was a little item on page 5, here imprinted in its entirety.
What happened? Were any citations issued to the driver? (failure to use care in backing? ) So I went down to the Police Department and got a copy of the police report. Rather that reprint it in its entirety, I’ll just quote the Crash Narrative:
Vehicle #1 was backing, and the time of this report it is unclear if operator struck pedestrian, or if the pedestrian was already on the ground prior to her legs being struck. Unable to speak with the pedestrian due to her being transported to Baystate Medical Center. More follow (up) sic needed.
So then I talked to the Chief, who looked about as grim as he usually does. After a few pleasantries, he read the report. “He says followup needed.” said the Chief, and said he would look into it and get back to me. Well, today is October 25th, 18 days after the incident. Kinda late to start an investigation. The driver of the pickup evidently wasn’t talked to. The community room looks out on the parking lot, and someone must have seen what happened to Rachel, but no witnesses are listed. So next I went down to the Gazette and hassled the reporter, James Lowe, and got to see the palatial conference room at the Gazette. Sitting at this beautifully waxed oak table about forty feet or long and twenty feet wide, I got on my high horse and vented about their lousy coverage of events in public housing in this town. Then I came home and made a few calls. Rachel Bliss is no longer at the hospital; where she is, is anyone’s guess. Then I called one of my reliable sources at MacDonald House and found out that the scuttlebutt in the community room was that she had no business with her walker being out in the parking lot that day when it was raining. Whether she had fallen before being hit, or was up on her feet is not known. She said Rachel needed to be in a assisted living facility or somewhere else with more structure. Or somewhere where people looked in their rear view mirror when they were backing.
When all is said and done, I had a feeling that if Mike Kirby had been driving that pickup and knocked down and run over an old woman and seriously injured her, I would have been cited and an old file photo of me put up on the front page. But when its the Northampton housing authority people that are involved, everything is handled very discreetly.