Some question safety of Watertown’s crosswalks after fatal collision

wwny Some question safety of Watertown’s crosswalks after fatal collision

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Mary Ann Denardo's death came as a shock to those close to her. The traffic collision that caused it is causing others to question the safety of Watertown's crosswalks.

"She was beautiful. She'd help anybody. And she's an angel now," said Gail Pleasant, a close friend of Denardo.

Pleasant says a day didn't go by where they didn't see each other.

"Oh yeah. As soon as 8 o'clock comes she was calling me," she said.

Last Friday, Denardo was struck and killed by a tractor trailer crossing Watertown’s Washington Street.

The investigation is still ongoing and no charges have been filed.

For Pleasant, moving on has been hard.

"I couldn't eat for two days. I just miss her, you know? It's hard to be without her," she said.

Denardo needed a motorized wheelchair to get around the city.

Eileen Stafford uses one as well.

She says using a chair comes with challenges.

"You can't stop as fast. When you walk, you can stop like this and then back up. Here you can't," said Stafford.

Stafford says she doesn't always feel safe crossing streets around the city.

"A lot people just zoom right up, and then they have to stop," she said.

Detective Sergeant Joseph Giaquinto of the Watertown Police Department says people who use wheelchairs should do what they can to be more visible.

"Be that reflective safety vests, flags and reflective stickers on their chairs," he said.

And for all pedestrians and drivers, Giaquinto offers a piece of advice: be aware of your surroundings.

"Before you cross, make sure drivers actually see you. For drivers, make sure you're being aware, especially in the busier areas like Public Square and in crosswalks," he said.

In Denardo's memory, Pleasant has placed a wreath at the site of the accident.

She sees it as a way to show people the kind of person Denardo was.

"I just wanted people to know that she was a very nice lady. And, I just loved her. I loved her as a human being," she said.

A memorial service has been planned for Mary Ann for Thursday. It will take place at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Bugbee Apartments.

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