A woman struck by a van in Fairfield was listed today in stable condition at a Lewiston hospital, according to Fairfield police Officer Shanna Blodgett.

Melody Leary, 56, of Fairfield, suffered a concussion, rib fracture, laceration to her liver, fractured pelvis and a fracture in one of her vertebrae, Blodgett said.

“There is no brain damage, so far, that they can confirm and she’s in ICU (intensive care unit) at Central Maine Medical Center in stable condition, which is very good,” Blodgett said late Friday morning.

The 4:33 p.m. Thursday accident happened at the intersection of Western Avenue and High Street during heavy traffic, said Blodgett, who was at the scene and is investigating the case.

Heather Richardson, 35, of Benton, was driving a 1998 Dodge Caravan west on Western Avenue when Leary tried to cross the street on a crosswalk with faded paint, according to Blodgett.

Leary walks often and had just done a loop and was heading back home to nearby Osborne Street, she said.

Witnesses traveling behind the van who know Leary and saw her said she walked into the street as traffic approached.

“It just appeared to them that she just went for it,” Blodgett said.

Leary was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Campus, in Waterville, and then flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Lewiston, police said.

The crosswalk runs diagonally from High Street across Western Avenue in the direction of Main Street.

“You can see it faintly at the corners when traffic doesn’t run over it,” Blodgett said of the crosswalk.
Richardson told police she did not see Leary entering the street, according to Blodgett.

“She just said all of a sudden she was there,” Blodgett said.

No charges had been filed in the accident as of this morning.

“At this point, it’s still under investigation,” Blodgett said. “We’re just checking timelines … I honestly don’t believe there are going to be charges, but it’s still early in the investigation. It appears right now it was just a horrible, tragic accident — and unfortunate.”

Blodgett said Richardson was shaken by the accident and extremely concerned about Leary’s condition.

“She even came back today, first thing in the morning, to talk to me,” Blodgett said. “When I told her the update, she broke down crying and said, ‘Thank God it’s not a serious brain injury.’ She was just so thankful they hadn’t found a brain injury.”

Blodgett said apparently Richardson also had suffered a brain injury in the past.

The speed limit on Western Avenue is 25 mph. Witnesses said Richardson was driving along, keeping up with traffic, according to Blodgett.

“Speed was definitely not a factor,” she said, adding that if the van had been going at a high rate of speed, there would have been dark brake marks on the pavement.

Blodgett said that crosswalks get painted every year. The weather has been good lately, but with the potential of storms still to come, the painting does not take place until a bit later.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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