A 5-year-old girl and her grandmother died after being struck by a car while on a walk in Baltimore County Monday morning, police said.
The crash occurred about 7 a.m. near the intersection of Girdwood and Londonderry roads in a residential area of Lutherville-Timonium, officials said. The woman was walking her granddaughter in a stroller on the sidewalk when they were struck by a Kia SUV, police said. Both victims were transported to area hospitals in critical condition and later pronounced dead.
Police identified them as 60-year-old Deborah Ann Limmer, of the 2300 block of Pot Spring Road, and 5-year-old Delaney Marie Gaddis.
The driver of the SUV is a 22-year-old woman, said a Baltimore County police spokeswoman, Officer Jennifer Peach. The woman remained at the scene before being taken to an area hospital with minor injuries, along with a 25-year-old male passenger. Police are still investigating the cause of the crash. Peach said a routine blood test of the driver was taken, “but it will take weeks for the results to return.”
Police said Tuesday morning they have not charged anyone in the crash.
Limmer was a “beloved” Sinai Hospital nurse, said Dr. Jonathan Ringo, president of the hospital, in a statement. She spent her 28-year career at the hospital tending to patients in the intensive care units.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends as well as those mourning the loss of her granddaughter,” Ringo said.
No one answered the door at Limmer’s home Monday afternoon.
As evening fell, neighbors clutched battery-powered candles and huddled under a green plastic awning at a nearby elementary school playground at a vigil honoring the victims.
Organizer Cassie Newman said the loss hit her hard, though she didn’t know the victims personally. “I couldn’t imagine what this mother is going though — whether they lost their mother and their child, or their mother-in-law and their child.”
Neighbors at the vigil spoke of frequent crashes and of cars exceeding the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on Girdwood Road. A speed bump and median had done little to improve safety, they said.
“That street is a dangerous street,” said Donna Mell, who lives on the corner near where the victims were hit.
The base of a nearby tree had some of its barked ripped off and metal embedded in it from collisions. Mell’s husband, Ben Mell, had placed red reflectors on a nearby tree in an effort to get drivers to slow down.
Newman commended the driver for staying at the scene of the crash
Peach said the county has implemented a number of traffic calming measures on the road.
“They have put in a median. They have put in speed humps along this road in different places to slow people down,” she said. “But I know neighbors still complain that people still speed through this area.”
Rebecca Hartnett was making her morning coffee when she heard screams outside. She ran out to the see the 5-year-old girl and her grandmother on the ground in front of her home.
“The little girl wasn’t moving,” said Hartnett, 43.
Hartnett said her own two young daughters aren’t allowed to play in the front yard. She and her husband “don’t trust the cars,” which they see hop the curbs or ram the nearby tree once or twice a month.
For hours Monday morning, the mangled red stroller sat in front of the Hartnett house.
In the last year, police have responded to nine car crashes in the roughly 1-mile stretch of Girdwood Road between Pot Spring and Padonia roads, Peach said. That doesn’t include minor incidents that aren’t called in.
“Nine reported crashes is a lot for a neighborhood road in one year,” she said.
She partially attributed the high frequency of collisions to the fact that the road “runs in a pretty significant downward grade, which causes vehicles to automatically accelerate.”
“There is a high potential for crashes,” Peach said.
Baltimore County Councilman Wade Kach, whose district includes the neighborhood, called the incident a “tragedy.” He said while he didn’t know what caused the crash, he believes more traffic calming measures are needed.
“It’s awful to think of something like this spurring the county into action in regard to more traffic calming,” Kach said. “But it does bring up the issue… that more needs to be done.”
Crystal Martin, 33, was driving to work when she saw the commotion on Girdwood Road. She hopped out of her car and saw the child lying on the ground, her grandmother’s body many feet away.
“I didn’t want to give the little girl CPR because of the way she was positioned,” Martin said. “It wasn’t a good position to try and move her.”
A few hours after the crash, Martin walked back over to the scene, which was still cordoned off by police tape. Neighbors hugged and exchanged the little bits of information they had learned from officials or gathered for themselves.
“How are you doing?” one neighbor asked another.
“Not well,” the man responded. “They passed away.”
“Did you see who it was?” asked one woman.
“I couldn’t bring myself to look at her face,” Hartnett replied.
A few feet away, a red sign was stuck into the dirt: “Drive like your kids live here,” it urged.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.