From New York Newsday:
Driver unknowingly crushes elderly woman in tragic case
BY JEROME BURDI and ROCCO PARASCANDOLA
August 27, 2005
An elderly woman who survived Auschwitz was killed Friday morning after she was run over by a truck turning a corner in Manhattan.
Leah Zimmerman, who was 86 and lived in Greenwich Village, died instantly, her head crushed by the 10-wheeleras it turned east onto West 14th Street, from Sixth Avenue.Edmund McMullen, 45, the truck driver, apparently did not see the woman, police said.
Tests conducted by police after the fatal 11:23 a.m. accident showed that anyone below 5 feet tall would be invisible from the driver’s seat of McMullen’s truck.Zimmerman stood 4 feet 9 inches tall, police said.
Neighbors said she weighed no more than 100 pounds. McMullen, who was returning the truck to his job, Stericycle, a Bronx-based medical waste collection firm, was not issued any summonses and will not be charged.
He was practically reduced to tears after the accident, police and witnesses said. He felt a thump and got out and saw her, witnesses said.
“He stopped right away,” said one witness, a manager at a nearby store — Balas Electronics and Gifts — who identified himself only as Ely B. “He sat by the sidewalk. He covered his head and stayed, waiting for police.”
When investigators arrived they administered McMullen a breath analyzer test, which was negative, police said.Police also said McMullen has a clean driving record and that the truck had no mechanical problems.
Zimmerman , was apparently heading north, crossing the crowded 14th street about two or three car lengths away from the crosswalk, police said. She was struck about 14 feet from the curb.
A Holocaust survivor who hailed from the former Czechoslovakia, Zimmerman was a translator who spoke five languages.
“She was a very well liked woman,” said neighbor Sylvia Stutz, 89, choking up. “There is not one bad thing you can say about her. She was loved by the whole world.”
Zimmerman was a “high energy” woman, neighbors said, who would walk the 10 flights up to her apartment on the Sabbath.
The accident cast a pall over the busy intersection, with dozens of pedestrians and nearby workers stunned by the scene.
“I thought, in the beginning, that it was a doll,” Ely said. “I don’t think it’s a human being.”
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