On July 22, 2012 at approximately 3:09 PM, a group of eight girls ages 12 to 14, and one adult chaperone were walking west on a sidewalk near the Navigant Credit Union on Putnam Pike. A black 2004 Honda Accord traveling east, in the right eastbound lane of travel, veered off the road and onto the sidewalk, into the group of girls, striking twelve-year-old Daniela HEREDIA. HEREDIA was thrown over the guardrail into the rocky embankment adjacent to the roadway. She was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital shortly after the arrival of police and rescue, but later succumbed to her injuries. Two other girls were transported by rescue from the scene of the collision; both were treated for non-life-threatening injuries and later released. At the time of the collision, the vehicle was being operated by 80-year-old, Thomas J. HICKEY, of North Scituate, RI. At the present time it appears as though neither excessive speed nor alcohol were contributing factors to the collision.
Mater Ecclesiae College issued a press release stating that HEREDIA was one of eight girls from Guatemala who had arrived Saturday, July 21 to attend the New England Regional ECyD (Experiences, Convictions and your Decisions) convention, hosted by the college. The group had gone into the town to do some shopping. Smithfield Chief of Police, Richard P. St.Sauveur, Jr., met with the family of Daniela HEREDIA, along with Patricia Lavagnino Spinola, Consul General of Guatemala, earlier this afternoon at approximately 2:00pm, to express his condolences and provide information to the family on the status of the investigation.
HICKEY, the operator, is cooperating with police and provided a statement to police on Sunday; he has since retained legal counsel. Based on this incident, the Smithfield Police will be submitting a “Request for Immediate Threat Suspension / Revocation” to the RIDMV Chief of Operator Control, who may revoke HICKEY’s privilege to drive if deemed appropriate. No criminal charges have been filed as of this date. This case is presently under investigation.