No decision yet on charges against elderly driver who struck and killed pregnant woman
Pittsburgh police have not charged the driver who fatally struck a pregnant woman in a North Side parking lot, but will ask PennDOT to recheck his driver’s license, a lieutenant said Friday.
Allen Massie Jr., 88, of the North Side pulled into a handicapped parking space at the Rite Aid on Brighton Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, jumped a curb and pinned Jodie Guthrie, 30, of the North Side against the wall for about 30 seconds Wednesday evening. Lt. Daniel Herrmann said it appears Guthrie was “stooping down” with her back against the wall when she was hit.
Guthrie, who was nearly 36 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, died in the emergency room in Allegheny General Hospital. Doctors were able to deliver the baby in stable but critical condition. Police and hospital officials at UPMC Children’s, where the boy is being treated, did not provide an updated condition.
The boy’s father, George Weatherwalk, told reporters Thursday that doctors were evaluating whether baby Trace Joseph was harmed by a lack of oxygen. Weatherwalk could not be reached for comment.
Herrmann said detectives interviewed Massie and released him. Herrmann described it as a “tragic accident,” but said the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office will decide if charges will be filed. Spokesman Mike Manko said he was not aware of a decision being made on the case. Detectives planned to review surveillance video of the incident and interview more witnesses, Herrmann said.
State online court records listed no traffic violations by Massie.
“Should he be driving? That’s a question we will eventually come to,” Herrmann said. “Pittsburgh police can petition Harrisburg to have him rechecked, driving-wise. … If the family doesn’t do it, then we’ll do it.”
Massie and his relatives could not be reached. A relative of Guthrie’s declined comment when reached by phone.
PennDOT spokesman Richard Kirkpatrick said when the department receives reports about drivers who might have an impaired ability to drive, it sends the drivers a form their doctor must complete and send to PennDOT. Based on the medical information provided, PennDOT will recall or restrict the driver’s license, or clear the driver, Kirkpatrick said. He said privacy laws prevent him from discussing details about an individual driver.
Kirkpatrick said he couldn’t determine how many such police reports regarding drivers the department receives each month, but described the requests generally as a “regular occurrence.”
PennDOT randomly selects 1,900 drivers age 45 and older each month whose license renewal is approaching as part of a re-examination program. Selected drivers must submit the results from a physical and eye test before PennDOT will renew their licenses.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.