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After voting, UMF student struck by car in crosswalk

FARMINGTON - After voting, a 21-year-old University of Maine at Farmington student was injured after she was struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk near the polls Tuesday night.

According to Deputy Chief Shane Cote of the Farmington Police Department, Emma Payson was crossing Middle Street in front of W.G. Mallett School when she was struck by the driver's side front corner of a 2013 White Nissan SUV. Driver Carol Hatch, 74, of Farmington, told investigating officer Brandon Sholan she did not see Payson in the crosswalk. Hatch was headed toward the High Street intersection.

Sholan said Payson was speaking with her mother on the phone, looked and saw Hatch's vehicle approach the crosswalk but expected her to stop as she moved to cross the street.

Emergency crews were dispatched to the scene at 5:44 p.m.

In addition to heavy traffic at the polls held in Farmington at the Community Center on Middle Street, "it was a dark, rainy, hard-to-see yucky night," Cote said.

Payson was transported to Franklin Memorial Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman on Wednesday morning said Payson had been "treated and released." Cote said Payson's parents drove up last night from New Hampshire to be with their daughter. A university spokeswoman confirmed Payson is a UMF student.

No charges are expected to be filed as the incident was believed to have been "weather related," Cote said.

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31 Responses »

  1. "Payson was speaking with her mother on the phone, looked and saw Hatch's vehicle approach the crosswalk but expected her to stop as she moved to cross the street."

    UMF students needs to STOP thinking they can just walk out into the road when and wherever they want! Don't "expect" people to stop. Get off your phone and pay attention to if the car is actually stopping for you! I am not saying that she is totally at fault BUT I see time and time and time again, students just crossing without paying attention like they own the road and many times are on the stupid phone talking or texting! PAY ATTENTION!

  2. I noticed the back up of cars on Middle Street and a car stopped in the lane near the entrance to Mallett. As I joined other cars in going around the stopped car, I looked over and saw the student sitting on the street, a couple of people were talking to her. Later as I made my way to Hannaford both a police car and an ambulance raced by. It shook me a bit as I drove on, wondering if the woman was alright, thinking about how fragile life can be, how at any moment something can disrupt our routine. I also noticed just how difficult it was to see people in the cross walk in that weather - I assumed that was a factor, and it made me extra alert. Just happy she's not seriously injured!

  3. Ugh. Someone gets hurt in an accident and a couple judgmental people come out and use that to go negative. Yes, she made a mistake in judgment - in normal weather drivers see people and stop, in that weather the driver didn't. Let's not blame or attack either of them, just remember whether as a pedestrian or a driver to be very careful in bad weather.

  4. Since when do you not have to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk? Mrs. Hatch was clearly to blame for hitting this student, whether she was on her phone or not. It is MANDATORY to stop at a crosswalk, but many, many people in Farmington do not do this. And on a rainy night with poor visibility, you slow down to be sure you can see far enough ahead to see if the roadway is clear.

  5. Could the Bulldog print the actual law concerning street crossings? And make a point of seeing that the nobility at UMF gets a copy?The pedestrian has as much responsibility as the driver. Actually more if they possess common sense( who wants to get hit by a vehicle?)
    And why doesn’t FPD ever address this issue? They certainly have enough presence on Main Street and I’ve never heard of a single pedestrian being arrested but I’ve witnessed them breaking the law countless times.
    Don’t interpret this as blaming the young lady, I wasn’t there.

  6. Captain Planet: Here is the law:

    Chapter 19: OPERATION
    Subchapter 1: RULES OF THE ROAD

    §2056. Pedestrians

    4. When traffic-control devices are not in operation, an operator must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is crossing within a marked crosswalk or to a pedestrian who has shown visible intent to enter the marked crosswalk.

  7. That is the problem....the pedestrian quite often just walks out thinking the driver can visibly see them, and quite often the driver can't !!!!

  8. Captain Planet, why all the hostility towards the UMF community? Without your so-called "nobility", Farmington would be just another economically depressed rural community. You reap the economic benefits of the University everyday as do all residents in this town. I see Mt Blue students darting across the street from the high school all the time. I see adults darting across Main Street and Broadway all the time. I see drivers speeding around town in all kinds of weather, narrowly missing pedestrians. So why do you single out UMF for a safety lesson?

  9. Sure Mr. Erb... the driver was wrong and the pedestrian was right.... but, did ya ever hear of dead right... not a nice thing. Everyone should be more careful in the town of crosswalks.. It might be nice if there were fewer and the students had to walk a bit further ... exercise if good for the soul and body..

  10. Scott, I was trained (and mistaking thought it was included in the law) a pedestrian should make eye contact before walking in front of a lethal weapon. I guess that must have just been common sense handed down when there was such a thing. Anyway you helped prove my point. Walking with your head down looking a cell phone is not ‘visible intent’.

  11. My comment was not posted, but I too think there are too many cross walks for that part of town.

  12. Arnold, they’re the highest percentage of violators so I start there. And I would like UMF to prove they would at least attempted to encourage their students to cross the road safely. I never implied that non-students were exempt.

  13. Umf students have been walking out in front of cars for as long as I can remember. No you shouldn't hit them but yes they should have common sense. Don't assume driver's see you. Do they not teach people what happens when they assume. Evey day I see more examples to prove that common sense isn't very common anymore.

  14. How come NO ONE has mentioned the college girl was talking on her cell phone while I the crosswalk? Not a good move. In some states you can get a ticket talking on the cell phone while crossing in the crosswalk..For just this cause an accident. Think Hawaii is one of the states that do this.

  15. I saw this happen.
    Could have been much much worse.

    One factor that no one has mentioned is that the PEDEZTRIANY HAD ON "ALL DARK CLOTHES".
    On a dark dreary evening with reflecting light bouncing off everything and all that chaos around the polling place.!!!



  16. pedestrians walking out into a crosswalk without hesitating to make sure traffic even sees them is a chronic problem everywhere. the Old Port in Portland is a nightmare. yes, vehicles have to yield. i will never argue that fact. but at some point, and i think we are very near that point, we have to revisit what it actually means when a pedestrian shows intent in using a crosswalk. it really should be that the pedestrian should also have to yield to make sure the vehicle both sees them AND has time to stop without risk of getting rear-ended. too many people just jump out into crosswalks.

  17. I've been told by students that it is stressed to them at orientation, in the dorms, and by student life to ALWAYS wait until they see cars are stopping. So they try. Most do. But I have to tell this story. I take students regularly on travel courses to Italy. There are crosswalks there, and pedestrians have the right of way, but if a driver sees you wait, hesitate or look at the car, the driver will zoom by. I always have to get UMF students to just step out and act like they don't see the car, because that's the only way to assert your right of way. I scare them darting in front of cars (I do watch to make sure they slow down - out of the corner of my eye - so I could always retreat). You gotta do that, because they'll get pissed if you stand there waiting for them to stop! These are in cities, so drivers there always notice pedestrians. Then I come back here and it takes me awhile to get out of the habit of just walking into the intersection. (It's that way in France too. Germany is more like Maine in this regard).

  18. Sometimes drivers just don't see pedestrians, for whatever reason. Whether the driver is in error or not it is just best for a pedestrian to understand this. There is always a chance that you could be hit.
    When I am a pedestrian I always assume a car could hit me if I am in the road. Period.
    It is surprising that at orientation, the dorms and student life college age students need to be reminded of street crossing safety.
    I am glad for all involved this was not fatal.

  19. What ever happened to the rule LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS? Cell phones and earphones while crossing. Could be deadly.

  20. I find it quite a stretch that if one looks at a car while in a crosswalk in Italy the driver will immediately mow you down. ‘Just step out and act like you don’t see the car’. This is from an educator, maybe we’re getting to the root of the problem....

  21. My mom told me to always look both ways before crossing the road. My mom is always right! Just yesterday I watched countless students on their phones who approached the crossing and slap the signal pole without looking up as they continue into the street. It is especially bad when there is a car parked in front of the crossing. As I sat waiting in a traffic jam of autos waiting for peds, one after another,to cross I thought that they should install an overhead crossing.

  22. Question to the community.

    Who can do more damage?
    1. A person walking into a car
    2. A car hitting a person

    My guess is that 100% of people will agree that the answer is 2

    Next question.
    When there is a rear end collision, which car can cause more harm to a person?
    1. The car that was hit
    2. The car that did the hitting

    My guess is that 100% would say the answer is 2. OK, lets go with 95% as a few contrarians will bring up what happens when Cooper Mini rear ends an old car from the 70's.

    In accidents, the car that does the hitting on a rear end collision is always to blame.
    Why would this be? See answer #2.

    So, in regards to the pedestrians, yes they have their phones out, ear buds in, wear dark clothing on a rainy night ( a pet peeve of mine as well) etc. However, they can't harm the car. So, who has to be extra vigilant?
    The car. Basic physics people.

    People in cars, myself included, need to be extra careful when driving in areas with pedestrian traffic. This is why there are low speed limits in the area..

    The tone on this board is to demonize someone who got hurt. Not cool and really, is this who we are nowadays?

    Ultimately, we need to remember that all rights come with responsibilities based on your right not infringing on the safety of another person.

    Lets all be glad the person was not killed and lets take it as a wake up call to drive slower, pay more attention, think about where pedestrians may be and for pedestrians to think about what drivers might not be able to see.

  23. What does this have to do with voting? Frankly, neither party should have the right of way. I’m not to smart but I’m not stepping in front of a rolling vehicle just because I think have the r.o.w. Silly hurts. Oh and btw The crosswalk lighting through town is poor.

  24. As a citizen and frequent driver in the downtown area, I have almost hit college students on multiple occasions as has my husband. I consider myself a vigilant driver particularly because of these near misses. I know that pedestrians have the right of way and if I SEE them, I give them that right. The flashing lights on main street are there to be used. If the road conditions are glaring, if the student is dressed in dark colors, if the students cross believing they are seen, the light will bring attention to the fact that a person is crossing so the driver may react. None of us want anyone to become a fatality. None of us want to harm another pedestrian. My heart goes out to Mrs. Hatch because I could easily see myself in the driver's seat. My heart goes out to the pedestrian and family because none of us want our children to be hit, injured or killed. When Mrs. Gordon Clifford hit a college student years ago, she had this same concern. The warning lights were installed for a reason. She did not want this to happen to anyone else (driver or pedestrian). I believe if the posts above referenced college students more than any other it is because they often assume that they will be seen, they know they have the right of way, they are often distracted and more often than not don't see the need to use the lights as a warning system. Many times I have seen the student walking, slap the flashing lights and continue to walk across in front of moving vehicles without a moments pause. It will take all of us working together to make sure that everyone is safe but we do need the pedestrians help as well.

  25. After reading these comments and replies my only question is, what if the roles were reversed? What if a college student, or anyone in their late teens to late twenties were driving and hit a seventy year old person would we be points fingers at the pedestrian or the driver?

  26. Feeling Groovy, I’m happy for your state of mind, but the 70 year old would likely respect the rules of the road

  27. tired of the haters, you are 100% correct. a car will never die in an accident with a pedestrian. pedestrians, give a nanoseconds pause to make sure vehicles see you and then go on your merry way. it's really a win win for everyone. no one needs to be a victim and no one needs to be blamed. it is that simple. if the driver does not see you for any one of a thousand reasons, you can let them by, flip them the bird and later be thankful you paid attention to that several ton vehicle that could have killed you.

  28. Count on Captain Planet to always blame either a college student or the University. Regardless of the issue, the Captain never allows facts to stand in the way of his personal bias.

  29. 29-A MRSA Sec 2056 (6)(c) A pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the operator to yield.

    Surprising how quick someone is to stop researching once they find the answer they are hoping to find. To misquote Shakespeare...Read on, MacDuff!

  30. My husband and I were in Farmington yesterday, clear sunny day... we backed out of a parking spot (3 spots down from Dunkin) and started forward. I noticed a woman approach the crosswalk, press the button, and proceed out to the road... in seconds. My husband didn't see her as there were two other vehicles parked directly in front of the crosswalk & sign. I had to tell him to stop.

    Common sense on everyone's part is vital in these situations. She didn't hesitate, didn't really even look to see if it was clear. She was not a student and not 70, middle-aged I would guess. People assume far too much these days. Just because there are lights and a crosswalk does NOT mean you have been seen. Take a second or two. Look both ways and be sure YOU are safe. Personal responsibility goes a long way.

  31. Hey Captain Planet, ignorance doesn't discriminate as far as age goes. Also, nobody mentioned that it was impossible for the car to have time to yield to the pedestrian. It sounds like a mistake and just plain old distracted driving.