ANDOVER, Mass. — The driver of a tractor-trailer who was involved in a crash in Andover back in May that left a young girl dead won’t face criminal charges, investigators announced Friday.
Sidney Olson, 5, and another family member were in the crosswalk on Elm Street with the “walk” sign showing and heading to an art class when she was struck by a Sysco truck on May 9, her family and authorities said.
A monthlong investigation involving state police detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office ensued and ultimately “investigative findings didn’t provide sufficient evidence to seek criminal charges against the driver of the tractor-trailer,” according to DA Paul F. Tucker.
Tucker said the investigation included a review of video from inside the truck, scene photographs, a digital survey of the crash, drone data, toxicology screens of the driver, and an evaluation of the traffic signals and pedestrian control unit at the intersection.
“The driver was stopped at the intersection. As he began to advance forward on the light turning green, he was unable to see Ms. Olson traveling on her scooter in the crosswalk below,” Tucker said in a statement. “The driver was not impaired by any substances and immediately came to a controlled stop after the collision.”
The truck driver stayed on the scene after the crash.
Olson’s parents said in a statement that they’re relieved to get closure in this investigation.
“When Sidney died, it left an immeasurable hole in our lives. We miss her giggly laugh, dimpled smile, and kind heart. We know this crash devastated everyone involved, and we’re thankful for the tough work done by the Andover police department, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Essex County District Attorney,” Eric Olson and Mary Beth Ellis said.
Sidney’s family is now hopeful changes will be implemented to ensure tragedy doesn’t strike again.
“Small changes make a big difference. Simple safety features, like cross-view mirrors that are now required on state-owned trucks in Massachusetts thanks to the vulnerable road users law, could have saved Sidney’s life,” her parents added. “The solutions to these problems exist. We just need to implement them. Billions in funding for improvements are available through state and federal programs. If you’re a resident, share your stories with local officials. It makes a difference.”
Sidney’s parents’ charity, the Sidney Mae Olson Rainbow Fund, has a “Safe Streets for People” event planned for Sunday, which marks World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. A run in her memory will also be held on Thanksgiving.
Sidney was in a springboard-to-kindergarten program at the SHED school, where she was known for her “soft-spoken curiosity, and her budding ability to de-escalate conflict and find common ground in groups,” according to her parents.
She also had a love for visiting the New England Aquarium to see the stingrays and octopus, roaming the mountains near their vacation home in Warren, Vermont, styling her daily outfits, making pieces of art, picking flowers, and showcasing her creative skills.
For her last birthday, Sidney wanted a rainbow theme because “it includes everyone’s favorite color,” her family said.
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