Report: Woman Was Getting Her Mail When She Was Killed

Police continue to investigate the death of Wanda Jacques-Gill, who was killed on Route 79 in Durham Wednesday after being struck by a Jeep driven by someone who lived nearby.


Police are still investigating an accident on Route 79 in Durham Wednesday that killed 61-year-old Durham resident Wanda Jacques-Gill.

According to NBC30, Jacques-Gill was crossing the street to pick her mail when she was hit by a Jeep being driven by 39-year-old William Zanks, who lived on the same stretch of Route 79 as Jacques-Gill.

Jacques-Gill was a member of the Durham Animal Rescue Team, and worked for 21 years at the Connecticut State Medical Society, in addition to being the managing editor of Connecticut Medicine, the Hartford Courant reported.

She was also a member of the town's Community Emergency Response Team, having been sworn in earlier this year.

See NBCConnecticut’s video interview with Jacques-Gill’s husband, Ronald Gill Jr.

Matt November 18, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I don't disagree that 79 can be a speedway depending on the time of day. But you should realize that getting hit by a car going 45-50 mph (the speed limit) will be just as fatal as getting hit by a car going 60-65. Going for a walk on any of our main roads (79, 80, 1, and 450/horsepond/duckhole) is not a good idea. There are no consistent wide shoulders or sidewalks. Going for a stroll is not wise. There are lots of better places to go for a walk within minutes of anywhere.
M. C. November 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Matt...very true, but I would never go for a stroll on 79...I had to pick up my car downtown, and didn't have a ride....Let's add texting to that 45 mph speed limit. Unfortunatly, this person driving the jeep will have to be made a real, law enforced example of.
A.L. November 18, 2012 at 07:58 PM
She wasn't out for a stroll on 79, she was getting her mail.
Pem McNerney November 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I was riding my bike along 79 the other day and I never thought I would say this, I found a road worse than the Boston Post Road when it comes to people going way too fast and definitely not providing three feet of space. There are places where the "shoulder" is almost non-existent. For me it was a choice to ride there, but I felt for the people who live along that road. Having a place to ride, walk, and connect with neighbors can really make or break a neighborhood. Saying hello while collecting your mail can seem like a little thing, but it really can make a difference particularly if there is no other "third space" (playground, beach, other hangout place) in the neighborhood where people can easily connect. I know people have lawns (some of them big) in those neighborhoods, but it'd be great if 79 was a little more bike and pedestrian friendly. I'm pretty sure the Madison PD has this on the list of roads where they would like to educate drivers and then enforce the 3-foot rule, but I think it requires working with the state. The accident in Durham was a double tragedy, mostly for the woman and her family, but also for the man who lives nearby and was driving the jeep. What a nightmare.
Matt November 19, 2012 at 02:11 PM
The article says nothing about texting. In fact it says nothing about fault at all since CSP has not released their investigation results yet. Pedestrians being killed is not automatically the fault of the driver. Given the brief description, It sounds to me like the pedestrian simply didn't look both ways and stepped out in front of the jeep. This is going to hurt or kill you no matter what road you're on. There is nothing to "make an example of" with the driver in that case. It would in fact be the pedestrian that sadly becomes and example for others when it comes to responsibility as a pedestrian I'm speculating, so it could be the other way around. But there is no reason here to just blindly assume the driver is at fault until the investigation states such. If I were the driver and I wasn't at fault, I would be feeling terrible enough as it is without people who don't know anything about it blaming me for it too.


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