Family of man killed in Woonsocket crash plans to sue driver, attorney says
A young man who was in a wheelchair died days after he was hit while crossing the street in Woonsocket.
Jamie Jordan Gilbert, 23, known by many as Bubby, was out for a walk with his caretaker on Dec. 4 when the two were hit by a car as the caretaker was pushing Gilbert’s wheelchair in the middle of a crosswalk on Main Street.
There is no activation light at the crosswalk.
Jennifer Menard witnessed the crash.
“I saw Jamie and his aunt get to the crosswalk and as she was starting to cross, I saw the [driver] coming and I just seen her hit the boy. He flipped over two-and-a-half times. The third time he was going to flip, he hit into a parked car over here,” she said.
Menard said she saw a young female driver speeding up Main Street at around 3:45 p.m. but stopped immediately after the crash.
“Yeah, she was going fast,” Menard said.
Gilbert was taken to Rhode Island Hospital and died on Dec. 7 from complications of blunt leg trauma.
Bubby had a developmental disability and was nonverbal. His family’s lawyer, Guy Settipane, described Bubby as a happy person.
“If he met you, he’d be very outgoing,” Settipane said. “He made you feel good, didn’t have a bad day, was an uplifting spirit.”
The family is waiting for police to finish their investigation, but Settipane told NBC 10 News they plan to sue the driver.
“A civil lawsuit would be a negligence lawsuit for the damages,” Settipane said. “We have significant medical and funeral expenses at this point.”
Settipane also wants tougher penalties for drivers who hit pedestrians with a disability.
“In the case where you have a disabled person on a wheelchair or a blind person, where it’s quite obvious there’s a disability, I think that should probably be a criminal offense,” Settipane said.
Many people want justice for Bubby, a familiar face around Woonsocket who enjoyed spending time in city parks.
“He would always be down there with his aunt, his caretaker, and he would always say hi to everybody. He was just really nice and always smiling,” Menard said.
As of now, the driver has not been charged. Police are still investigating and have surveillance video of the crash.
For those who’d like to help Bubby’s family pay for the funeral expenses, click here.