Police said 7-year-old Herbert Whitaker IV of Halifax was in a crosswalk behind his father on Saturday when he was struck and killed by a car driven by a 76-year-old woman. It is the latest in a string of crashes involving elderly drivers, and bore similarities to a fatal crash last month in Stoughton, in which an 88-year-old driver has been charged with striking and killing a 4-year-old girl on a crosswalk.

On many weekends, 7-year-old Herbert Whitaker IV could be seen riding his bike around his quiet neighborhood with his dad.

On Saturday, amid the sunshine, Whitaker and his father took their bike ride out onto Route 106.

But as the boy tried to ride across the street on a crosswalk behind his father, he was struck by a car driven by a 76-year-old woman, Halifax police Sgt. Ted Broderick said.

The boy died a short time later.

The driver, Marcia Chadbourne of Plympton, was charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation and failure to yield at a crosswalk, Broderick said.

“Indications right now are that the operator just didn’t see the boy on the bicycle,” Broderick said.

It was the latest in a string of crashes in the state involving elderly drivers, and bore similarities to a fatal crash last month in Stoughton, in which an 88-year-old driver has been charged with striking and killing a 4-year-old girl on a crosswalk.

On Saturday afternoon, a bouquet of flowers sat next to the Halifax crosswalk under a bright yellow sign warning drivers about crossing pedestrians.

The crash occurred just before noon in the area of 546 Plymouth St., a few feet from the Halifax police station.

The boy was taken to Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital after the crash, where he was pronounced dead at 12:44 p.m., Broderick said.

In the boy’s Fairway Drive neighborhood, which borders the Country Club of Halifax, neighbors said they were shocked and saddened to hear that tragedy had struck the Whitaker family.

The youngster, known to neighbors as “Royce,” lived with his father, Herbert Whitaker III; his mother, Tina; and a younger sister, Sarah, neighbors and police said.

“They’re always out in the backyard, playing, grilling,” said next-door neighbor Brandon Hanss, 21. “On the weekends they’re always riding their bikes up and down the street.”

“They’re happy people,” added Nick Hanss, 18.

No one appeared to be home at the Whitaker family’s house early Saturday evening.

The crash occurred as the driver was heading east on Route 106, Broderick said. The driver was not arrested, but will be sent a summons to appear in Plymouth District Court in the near future, he said.

Halifax police have also asked the Registry of Motor Vehicles to declare the driver an “imminent threat” and to revoke her license.

The crash came amid a raging debate over whether to pass stricter requirements for elderly drivers in Massachusetts, following a series of recent crashes:

Authorities charged a 75-year-old Middleboro man with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation for a crash that killed a 20-year-old Randolph motorcyclist in Raynham on July 11.

On June 13, authorities say 88-year-old Ilse Horn of Canton failed to brake at a crosswalk on Route 138 in Stoughton, striking and killing 4-year-old Diya Patel of Stoughton, who was trying to cross with her family.

On June 3, a 73-year-old driver accelerated into a crowd on the Plymouth waterfront, injuring eight people, all of whom were treated and released.

On June 2, a 93-year-old man drove his car through the front entrance of a Danvers Wal-Mart, injuring a mother and a 1-year-old girl.

On April 12, authorities say a 76-year-old Easton man driving a minivan struck and seriously injured an Easton couple as they walked their dog on Sheridan Street in the town.

Saturday’s crash in Halifax was also the most recent in the region to highlight the issue of crosswalk safety.

Just a few days after the fatal Stoughton crash in June, a 5-year-old Abington girl was seriously injured when she was struck by a van while trying to cross a busy Abington street with her family.

On Plymouth Street in Halifax, Frances Smiley, who works at a fishing bait store next to the crash site, called the road “treacherous” to walk across.

The Hanson resident said she wasn’t surprised to hear about the crash that took the 7-year-old’s life.

“The cars do not stop,” she said. “You take your life in your hands to go from here across the street.”

READ MORE about the issue of elderly drivers.

Enterprise writer Kyle Alspach can be reached at kalspach@enterprisenews.com.


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