Adam John Bell

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Elderly woman charged in fatal crash

Aug 9, 2006: p.1 & 4

By DAVID HINCHEY Chronicle Staff Writer

MANSFIELD - An elderly Mansfield woman will appear in court later this month after being arrested last week for an incident stemming from a motor vehicle fatality that took place a year ago.

Gertrude Lamb, 88, of 38 Separatist Road, Mansfield, was charged Aug. 3 with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and failure to grant the right of way.

The accident took place Aug. 6, when Lamb collided with motorcyclist Adam Bell, 33, of 181 W. Plain St., Wayland, Mass., in an accident at Route 89 and Old Town Road in Ashford.

Lamb was turning left onto Old Town Road from Route 89, where Bell was traveling south on Route 89 when the accident occurred.

Bell, who was wearing a helmet and protective clothing, was transported via Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital for treatment and later died from injuries sustained in the accident.

Lamb was taken to Windham Community Memorial Hospital for minor injuries at the time and was later released.

Anne Bell, Adam Bell's wife, said she understands the difficulties the elderly face, but she claims the accident could have been prevented.

"I'm really not angry with ( Lamb). I'm saddened by the situation," Bell said. "I'm sorry this happened and I know it wasn't intentional."

Bell said she doesn't want to see Lamb go to jail, but would like her to speak to elderly people about her experience.

Bell said she hasn't heard from Lamb, not an apology or anything, but hopes the experience will lead to change, such as mandatory road testing for those 75 years of age and older.

"He was a wonderful man, the most amazing person I've ever known," Bell said of her husband, adding he was killed exactly 13 months after their first wedding anniversary and a month before his 33rd birthday. Lamb said she did not wish to comment on the incident. Rupert Galea, who lives in Somerville, Mass., said he was one of Bell's close friends. He said he hopes Bell's case raises awareness about elderly drivers. Bell said when people ask about her husband, they usually tell her they've been meaning to talk to an elderly relative in their family about driving.

She said elderly drivers would stop driving if the person they were going to hit were their son or their grandchild.

Bell also said she will be glad people would know her husband was a safe rider, wasn't reckless and the accident wasn't his fault.

When contacted this morning, "Something needs to be done with elderly drivers," said Galea, who plans to be present during the trial. Galea said he believes it is only after an accident or a small fender- bender that elderly people decide to stop driving. He said some elderly motorists should stop driving before they get into accidents. Lamb was released with a promise to appear in court on Aug. 14 in Danielson.

Copyright (c)2006 Willimantic Chronicle 08/09/2006