CUMBERLAND – A local woman died Friday morning after she and another woman were struck by a car while walking on the sidewalk along Mendon Road.
Kathleen Carpenter, 54, a married mother of two children, sustained fatal injuries in the accident and Judy Waterman, 53, also of Cumberland, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Cumberland Police Chief John R. Desmarais said the two women were out walking together at 6:30 a.m. as part of their regular morning routine when they were struck by a 1995 Buick sedan operated by Casey Rondeau, 26, of Woonsocket.
“Both were taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence,” Desmarais said.
The women were facing traffic while walking south on the sidewalk along the northbound lane of the roadway; the motor vehicle was also heading south when the driver apparently lost control, crossed the center lines and struck them from behind on the sidewalk, the chief said.
“They did not see him come toward them,” Desmarais said of the tragic incident. Rondeau was distraught at the scene and taken to Landmark Medical Center to be checked out, according to Desmarais.
Alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the accident but police were still investigating whether speed or other factors such as texting or vehicle mechanical problems may have contributed, Desmarais said. No charges had been lodged against the driver as of Friday afternoon, according to Desmarais, but investigators from the state police and the Department of Transportation were assisting the local department in reconstruction of the accident.
The driver told police the vehicle may have experienced a mechanical failure when it suddenly accelerated and veered across the center line toward the women. The car, which had jumped the curb before striking the women, was impounded in Cumberland so that state investigators could check it for mechanical problems, Desmarais said.
“We are looking at the possibility of speed as a factor, we are looking into the possibility of texting and looking at the possibility of mechanical factors,” Desmarais said of the continuing probe.