I’ve written many times on this blog about Massachusetts pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents, but sometimes events like this just hit closer to home, for whatever reason, geographic or otherwise.
Such is the case for this post, as a pedestrian was killed this past Friday night in Dedham, next door to my town of Westwood, under circumstances that are even worse than a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident: A hit-and-run. At approximately 10:45 p.m. Friday, December 5, Dedham police officers responded to a car accident at a location on Washington Street at Lower East Street. There they found a 54-year-old woman, identified later as Ms. Jeannie Heppler, lying critically injured on the sidewalk. She had been hit by a motor vehicle – and the driver fled the scene of the accident. He or she left this woman on the side of the street, critically injured. Ms. Heppler was transported to nearby Norwood Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police believe that Ms. Heppler was crossing Washington Street when she was hit in the southbound travel lane by a passing vehicle. Investigators are searching for a 2000-2006 Ford Escape that has passenger side headlight damage as well as damage to the passenger side view mirror. Anyone with information about this event is asked to call the Dedham Police Department at (781) 751-9300.
As a Boston pedestrian-car accident attorney, I’ve seen many Massachusetts pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents. They can happen anywhere, in a crowded city environment or a rural country road, and when they happen, the physical injuries are very often extremely serious. That’s why an experienced Massachusetts pedestrian-car accident law firm is needed by anyone who has been injured in this type of accident. But for a driver to leave an injured person lying on the side of the road after he or she has accidentally hit that person, is beyond belief. How someone like that can believe that he or she would be “better off” by running and avoiding responsibility, by leaving an innocent person to quite possibly die on the side of the road like an animal, is stunning to me.
As a Boston injury lawyer, I have seen this kind of conduct increase with alarming frequency – and it begs the question of why and how such acts of inhumanity are indeed on the rise. Both professionally and personally, I attribute it to the de-sensitization of our society, brought on by the de-personalization that results from the digital age: The dramatic and vast reduction in human-to-human contact in everyday life (automated, voice-command systems prevail everywhere, with real people removed from daily interaction.) Add to this toxic mix the rise of social media, which despite its initial promise of ‘connecting’ us all, has in fact disconnected us from each other. Taken together, this produces the toxic result of de-sensitizing, de-personalizing, and in sum “numbing-out” much of the population when it comes to empathy for others. The result? An ever-coarser society that lacks compassion and dignity.
In the event that the driver of this vehicle might be monitoring online reports of this event: Beyond a name, the person you killed had a face. And here it is.