Former nanny mourned after fatal collision in central Greenwich
GREENWICH — Police are continuing to investigate the death of Elizabeth Deering, as families across the region mourned the 77-year-old former nanny, who died after she was hit by a car on Milbank Avenue.
Deering, who was known as Bridget, worked as a child-care provider in New York City after immigrating from Ireland as a young woman. She also volunteered at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, caring for premature babies, according to a death notice.
In 1997, she was interviewed by the New York Times about working as a nanny in New York, and how people treated nannies in different parts of the city. She said she was happy to work on the Upper East Side.
Deering had moved recently to Greenwich from New York and made friends with the staff at the Agnes Morley complex, who visited her every day in the hospital after she was hit by a car.
On Jan. 8, Deering was struck by a vehicle at the pedestrian crossing on Milbank Avenue near the Agnes Morley senior housing complex, where she lived. Police said the 43-year-old driver from Rye Brook, N.Y., stopped after the collision and is cooperating with investigators. According to police, the accident took place at 5:21 p.m., in the middle of a brief snow squall.
Deering died of her injuries Jan. 16.
Though she had no immediate relatives, her death notice stated “she is survived by the many children whom she cared for and the families who loved her.”
Town leaders and officials with the Greenwich Housing Authority are proposing safety modifications to the crosswalk near the Agnes Morley apartments, which was the site of another pedestrian fatality in February 2018.
Robert Bono, 70, who was also an Agnes Morley resident, died in that accident, which also happened at night while it was snowing.
Sam Romeo, chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Greenwich Housing Authority, said he is hoping for a number of safety improvements for the crosswalk on Milbank — including better lighting and a blinking sign to warn motorists when a pedestrian is crossing.
The road is a narrow one, sloping downhill, which can encourage drivers to pick up speed. With cars parked on both sides of the street, there can also be problems with sight distances along sections of the roadway, especially at the crosswalk near Agnes Morley.
A speed-monitoring device last week calculated that the average speed of drivers in the area was 34 mph — with some cars traveling well over that, police said. The speed limit in the neighborhood is 25 mph.
The crosswalk is one of many in town that are mid-block, and it is of particular concern due to its proximity to Agnes Morley, a senior housing complex run by the town’s Housing Authority.
“The town’s concern should be the fact that it’s very dark with a decent amount of pedestrian traffic,” police Lt. Jim Bonney said. “They’re elderly and slow moving, and during inclement weather it makes it more difficult to see them.”
Bonney recommended the town install free-standing poles with lights and a rapid flash beacon, similar to what is by the crosswalk outside Town Hall on Field Point Road. A pedestrian can push a button to turn on flashing lights to warn drivers that someone is walking through the crosswalk.
“It’s a good warning that someone is actually going to be in the crosswalk,” Bonney said, estimating that the cost would be about $2,500. “Those lights would increase the safety for anyone walking.”
Deering’s death was Greenwich’s second in recent months involving a pedestrian hit by a car. In late November, 62-year-old Regina Dowling owas struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk near the Old Greenwich train station. She later died of her injuries. A local motorist was later charged with a misdemeanor in connection with that collision.
Donations in Elizabeth Deering’s memory can be made to Operation Smile at operationsmile.org or by calling 1-888-249-3797.