Worcester County

5-year-old Worcester girl’s death prompts street safety discussion

WORCESTER, Mass. — The grieving family of a five-year-old girl who was fatally struck in a crosswalk in April joined Worcester residents and city leaders as they walked Stafford Street Wednesday and discussed ways to make the road safer.

Asha Nyarko-Asare held a picture of her only daughter, Candice Asare-Yeboah, as her husband pushed her wheelchair along the sidewalk.

Nyarko-Asare was also hit by the SUV on April 18 and broke her leg in three places. Candice was in a coma for more than a month before she died. The driver faces multiple charges including vehicular homicide.

“I lost my beautiful daughter. She’s my only girl. I had 12 miscarriages before I was able to have these two kids, and now I’ve lost one due to somebody’s negligence,” said Nyarko-Asare beside her husband and son Wednesday, after a moment of silence was held at the scene of the crash. “I wouldn’t want another family to go through what I’m going through for the past couple of months.”

Nyarko-Asare pleaded with drivers to be vigilant of pedestrians in the crosswalk and called for local leaders to make changes to the road.

Neighbors and business owners joined walk co-sponsors, Worcester City Councilor Etel Haxhiaj and State Rep. David LeBoeuf, as they made observations about speeding, a lack of signage and issues with accessibility and sidewalks, among other concerns, which were documented by city staff.

Haxhiaj said she will bring that feedback to Worcester’s Transportation and Mobility Department and is committed to make short and long-term changes to the street to improve safety.

“Folks feel like drivers don’t have any visual cues to slow down. The street is too wide, so the street itself – the design of the street – facilitates aggressive behavior that puts pedestrians and motorists at risk,” Haxhiaj said. “Systemic change is really what we’re aiming for, not just this street but all over the city.”

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