EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 13, 2014

Stroller dragged 100 feet under truck

'I thought the baby was done,' witness said


Melvin, a father of two, was relieved Ivianah is OK.

“All I could think of was that poor baby,” he said. “I was horrified and sick to my stomach about the whole thing. I thought that baby was done.”

According to a police report, when Officer Jeffrey Sapienza got to the scene, Rivera and her baby were being taken to the hospital so the child could be checked.

“Her mother was hysterical and in shock,” Melvin said. “I picked up the baby and tickled her chin to make sure she was fine.”

It was a nightmare for Rivera.

“I just cried and cried and felt like I was having a panic attack,” she said.

Melvin was also emotionally affected by the events.

“It was pretty scary,” he said. “If something had happened to her (the baby), I would have been in the hospital or the nut house.”

Rivera said she was out walking in the frigid temperatures because her car broke down two weeks ago.

She had bundled Ivianah up with several layers of clothing and wrapped her up with blankets — layers that kept the baby snug in the stroller and may have saved her life.

“If the sidewalk had been cleared, this never would have happened,’’ Rivera said. “They have to think that not everyone has a car and they have to make it accessible for people.’’

That stretch of sidewalk has since been cleared.

Mayor Daniel Rivera said the city has an ordinance requiring owners of homes and businesses to clean the sidewalks in front of their properties. However, the city has no system of fines or other ways to enforce the ordinance — something he hopes to remedy with the City Council in the near future, he said.

Interim police Chief James Fitzpatrick said no charges will be filed against the truck driver. Police were able to confirm witness accounts of the incident and show the driver was not at fault.

“I was shocked and relieved because it could have been worse,” said Fitzpatrick, adding people should avoid walking in the street as much as possible.

Attempts to reach the truck driver by phone were unsuccessful. The number listed for CPINC was disconnected.




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