Woman dies after truck hits couple on street

Husband hospitalized in critical condition

both had sight impairments

July 13, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A partially blind woman was killed and her blind husband critically injured yesterday when they were hit and run over by a Federal Express delivery truck as they crossed an East Baltimore street.

Police said their investigation is continuing and charges were not immediately filed. But they said that based on several witnesses' accounts, it appeared the couple had the right of way as they crossed North Collington Avenue at East Fayette Street about 1: 30 p.m.

Bethel Mines, 55, suffered head injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Her husband, Raymond Mines, also 55, suffered head, body and leg injuries and was in critical condition at Hopkins.

They had been married 28 years.

Raymond Mines' mother, Creola Slate, 76, walked to the accident scene with a friend's help and told reporters that her son, who once worked for General Electric Corp., was disabled and could barely walk. She said her daughter-in-law acted as her son's seeing guide.

Police identified the Federal Express driver as Veda Ragler, 35, of the 7000 block of Gaymount Road in Woodlawn. She declined to talk to police investigators, but called a lawyer.

The Mineses lived in the 100 block of N. Duncan St., about four blocks from where they were struck. They were well known in the neighborhood and were seen every day walking from their rowhouse to nearby stores.

Rushing to help

Brenda Hunt, 30, said she saw the accident from her front steps across the street and ran to help. She said Mrs. Mines was unconscious.

"The man just kept crying for his wife," Hunt said. "I told him, `Your wife is right here beside you.' "

Hunt said the panicked driver ran into a nearby house, which happened to be owned by Bea Gaddy, a well-known advocate for the homeless who is running for City Council.

Gaddy said she did not know the driver, but did know the victims. She said she routinely gave them food.

"They never had enough," she said.

Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a city police spokeswoman, said the accident occurred when the white Federal Express truck turned from the westbound lane of East Fayette Street and started to head south on North Collington Avenue.

Cooper said the Mineses were crossing Collington, which does not have a marked crosswalk. But the spokeswoman said it appeared the couple was in the proper crossing area and that vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians.

Witnesses told police that the truck struck the couple and then kept going.

Cooper said that Mrs. Mines was seen rolling under the moving truck, which came to a stop in the middle of the street about 30 feet from the intersection.

`Distressed'

Ragler has a clean driving record in Maryland, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles and court records.

Her lawyer, Arthur M. Frank, declined to address specifics of the accident, but said his client "is distressed and is concerned with what happened to the two people."

Cornell Christion, a spokesman for Memphis-based Federal Express, said the company "is fully cooperating with the Baltimore Police Department," but he declined to discuss Ragler's performance record or details of the accident.

Pub Date: 7/13/99

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