STOUGHTON — A 3-year-old Stoughton girl who was killed Friday while crossing a road with her mother near an elementary school may have run into the side of a box truck as it passed in front of her, a spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said Saturday, supporting initial reports that the truck’s driver is unlikely to be charged.
Shayla Lutz was crossing Route 27 near the Helen H. Hansen Elementary School with her mother at about 2:45 p.m. Friday.
They were not in a crosswalk, officials said Friday, though two are nearby.
Preliminary information gathered from witnesses suggests that the girl was not hit head-on by the truck, but ran ahead of her mother and into the side of the moving vehicle behind the driver’s door, said David Traub, a spokesman for Morrissey, in a phone interview Saturday.
Dozens of people visited the site Saturday, leaving stuffed animals, flowers, and notes under a pedestrian crossing sign in front of the school.
Among them were Stoughton firefighters James Brackett and John Hussey, two of the first responders after the accident Friday.
They pulled up in their ambulance late Saturday afternoon, and Brackett left flowers at the impromptu memorial for Shayla.
He said it was the first time, in his nearly two decades as an emergency responder, he had returned to the site where he treated a patient who died.
“My daughter’s four months older than her — same color hair, same height, wearing the same clothes,” Brackett said. “[It’s] one of those calls that hits closest to home.”
Hussey said the two firefighters were not authorized to speak about the details of the accident.
Traub said Shayla’s mother, whose name was not released, was pushing a stroller that held a younger child at the time. That child and the mother were not injured.
At Shayla’s home less than a mile from the school, a man who identified himself as Shayla’s grandfather said the family did not want to speak about the accident.
The driver stopped after the accident and cooperated with police. He was driving the truck for Angelos Plumbing, Heating & Cooling LLC, a Stoughton company.
“The Angelos Family is devastated and in shock over this horrible accident,” the company said in an statement. “They send out their sincere condolences for the little girl and her family. Our hearts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrible accident.”
A woman who answered a phone number associated with the company declined to give her name, and would not identify the driver, but said he is distraught.
Stoughton police and State Police are investigating. The inquiry’s final results, which are not expected for several weeks, will determine whether formal charges will be filed against the driver.
However, Traub said there were no plans to charge the driver, given the information gathered.
Many people who visited the memorial Saturday said the stretch of Route 27 in front of the school is dangerous and lacks adequate traffic safety measures. The two-lane road bends before and after the school.
Shirley Farber, 44, of Stoughton has an 8-year-old son who attends Hansen Elementary. She said there are school zone signs out front, but they are too close too the bends to be effective.
“The sign that says ‘School’ is after the curve, so you’re already speeding,” she said.
The crosswalk closest to the school is at West and Central streets, a busy area right after a blind curve.
Brackett, the firefighter, said the department often gets calls for accidents at that intersection.
The crosswalk is rarely used, Farber said.
“I never have had to stop for anyone crossing there,” she said.
Several people interviewed near the memorial Saturday said they never saw a crossing guard in front of the school.
Elvira Marin, 66, lives a couple streets over from the school and said the town should work to make the road safer.
“This is a crazy street right here, there should be traffic lights,” she said.
Billy Gangemi, 48, lives nearby and has two daughters, 8 and 10, who attend Hansen Elementary. He does not let them walk along Route 27 alone because people drive fast on the road.
“No one seems to listen to anything,” Gangemi said. “They just come through here like a bat out of hell.”