Does ones name matter when the police are investigating a traffic matter that results in the death of an 89 year old pedestrian?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 23, 2013.   The work police have to do can at times get a little sticky.  People don’t like their names reported when the reason for the report is not one you will be putting on your resume.

Police try to ensure that victims of criminal acts are not further victimized by having their names in a publication.

Intersection of Guelph and Sinclair in Georgetown, scene of a fatal accident where driver was charged with using a hand-held communications device; a cell phone. The vehicle in this photograph was NOT the vehicle involved in the fatality.

Thus, when a very serious accident took place in Georgetown, police said in the media release that they would not be naming the victim nor would they be releasing the name of the person responsible for the accident.

The first media release went like this:

Georgetown Senior Struck by Car – Critical Condition

Halton Regional Police are investigating a serious pedestrian/car collision that occurred in Georgetown on Monday afternoon.

Shortly after the noon hour the senior, an 89 yr old Georgetown woman, was crossing Guelph Street at Sinclair Avenue when she was struck by a 2005 Ford Focus.  The impact threw the senior several metres.

After being assessed by Halton EMS at the scene, it was decided that the woman be taken directly to Sunnybrook Trauma Centre in Toronto.  She remains there in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.  The driver of the car, a 36-year-old Georgetown woman, was not injured; she was taken to 11 Division where she provided a statement.

Due to the seriousness of the injuries, the Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) attended and took carriage of the investigation.  Reconstructionists from the CRU and a Forensic Identification officer collected evidence, photographed and measured the scene.

Police will not be releasing the names of the pedestrian or driver.

Due to the infancy of the investigation, police will not make comment on any charges at this time.  Some witnesses have come forward however investigators from the CRU ask any further witnesses to contact them at ext.5189.

A day later the police issued a second media release. :

Second media release:

Georgetown Senior Dies of Injuries

A Georgetown senior who was struck by a vehicle on Monday afternoon has died of her injuries.

Patricia McCarthy, 89 yrs of Georgetown, was pronounced at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.  Her son and daughter were with her at that time.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) of Halton Regional Police are continuing the investigation into this incident.  The Toronto Coroner’s Office has assumed this case and is being assisted in their enquiries by the Halton CRU.  A post-mortem has been scheduled for later this morning in Toronto.

We will not be making comment on charges at this time, however alcohol has been ruled out as a causation factor.

The driver of the car, a 36yr old Georgetown woman, has been cooperative with investigators.  Police will not be releasing her name.

Any witnesses to this collision are still asked to call the CRU at ext. 5065.

This is the 11th traffic fatality to be investigated by the CRU in 2012 and the 7th involving a pedestrian.

On February 22, 2013 the police issued a third media release:

Georgetown Woman Charged in Pedestrian Fatality

After completing an investigation into the December 17th, 2012 collision that caused the death of Patricia McCARTHY, 89 years of age, the Collision Reconstruction Unit has charged a 37year old Georgetown woman with two offences under the Highway Traffic Act.

Jennifer Unsworth has been charged with one count under section 130: Careless Driving and one count under section 78.1(1) : Drive with Hand-held Communications Device.

She has been issued with a Part III Provincial Offences Act Summons to appear in Milton Provincial Offences Court on Monday March 25th, 2013 to answer to the charges.

Did the surname of the person driving a car while using a cell phone have anything to do with the way this case has been handled?

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