Along with her husband and three children aged 4 and under, family and friends, the community at large mourns the death of Jennifer Simson, struck and killed by a Town of Pittsford snowplow traveling in reverse gear in a Main Street parking lot on February 25, 2011.
A number of entities will conduct investigations into the accident, including the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, which was on scene immediately after it was reported.
It is likely that the Town of Pittsford will conduct its own investigation into the occurrence, as employer of the snowplow driver, and owner of the parking premises, it may be held civilly liable for the results of the driver's actions.
Investigators would interview at least one witness mentioned in Husband Talks About Wife killed by Snowplow, who saw and heard Mrs. Simson yell out just prior to being struck by the plow. There may be other witnesses.
Investigators will question the driver of the plow. Chances are good that under either federal or state law, he was tested for alcohol and drug impairment. Were the rear window or mirrors clear of frost, snow or any other substance that would reduce his visibility backwards? Was he distracted as he backed up? Did he check the rear by turning and visually "clearing" the path the vehicle was intended to take while backing? Did he fail to watch out for pedestrians? Did he check his mirrors prior to backing? Did he operate the plow in reverse without taking all necessary precautions? At what speed did he proceed backwards? How far did the truck back until impact and stop?
Investigators will inspect the snowplow equipment. Were there audible [loud beeping] and visible [flashing light] alarms installed and in use on the plow at the time of the accident? How good was the driver's backwards visibility from the cab? Was the design of the cab, rear window and mirrors, suited for backwards viewing?
Were there any "contributing factors" relating to the operation of the snowplow? What were the lighting conditions at that time of day? Was it snowing? How was visibility in general?
Were there any contributing factors on the part of the pedestrian, Mrs. Simson? Did she disregard something potentially dangerous by walking behind the plow in the parking lot? Was she distracted? Was she in a hurry? What color was her clothing?
These questions and others will potentially be answered by the investigations into Jennifer Simson's death.
Whatever the results of the investigations, it is a tragedy for the Simson family and for the driver of the snowplow.