Young Woman Seriously Injured In Hit-And-Run Accident On Lincoln Street
“They left me for dead,” said Deirdre Koenen of the driver of the vehicle that hit her. “I’m not okay with that. That’s not okay.”
Deirdre, who has been a long-distance runner since middle school, had finished teaching in Brookline and was home for a Christmas week visit. She had gone out for a run from her parents’ North Street home around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 21st. Her plan was to take the sidewalks down North Street to Lincoln then up Thaxter and back home again. “This is the route I will normally take if I want a nice two-mile run,” she said. “I’ve done it many times.”
Although her parents reminded her to wear something that was clearly visible at night, Deirdre is a marathoner/ultra-marathoner who is aware of the precautions she needs to take and has never viewed time of day as a factor in her training. “I go for a run whenever I feel like I want to,” she said.
There was snow on the the ground which concerned Deirdre a little bit, but she had run in these conditions before. When she was a member of the track team and participated in the long-distance running club in Hingham, the coaches would advise the runners to run in the streets when the sidewalks were too snowy because it is difficult to run in deep snow. “It’s for safety,” explained Deirdre, adding, “physically, your limbs benefit from it.”
On this particular night, Deirdre was able to stay on the sidewalk for the majority of her run. However, she was forced to move into the street for a short time because of the condition of the sidewalk. “I was running on the sidewalk most of the time,” she said. “When I ran in the street, it was for a couple minutes probably, since I was facing a stretch of sidewalk that wasn’t plowed.” That stretch of sidewalk was along Lincoln Street across from Broad Cove and is an extension of the Downtown sidewalks that are plowed by the Department of Public Works. For more information on snow removal in town, click here.
There were snowbanks between the street and the sidewalk. As she ran, three cars approached her from 3A. “I was as close as I could have been to the snow,” said Deirdre. “I was facing traffic, and the two cars in front both did the right thing and avoided me.” For some reason, the third car did not.
“Somehow I got hit,” she said. “Whoever was in the car just did not move.”
Deirdre’s parents Paul and Kathleen were home when they received a phone call a little after 7:25 p.m. The call was from an unknown number, but it was Deirdre on the line. “My wife answered and told me that I better go to help Deirdre,” said Paul, “she had been hit by a car.”
Kathleen and Paul raced to 148 Lincoln Street where they saw several emergency vehicles. As they parked and walked over, their friend, Kevin Shea, met them. Kevin just so happened to be the homeowner. He led them into the house through the back door. “Deirdre was sitting in a kitchen chair,” said Paul. “She had blood on her and was obviously looking a little shook up.” Emergency responders surrounded her. They put a brace on her neck and head and helped her onto a stretcher.
At this point, Paul was unaware of the gravity of Deirdre’s injuries. “I’m thinking that looked like a little extra precaution, that wasn’t obvious she would need,” he said. What he didn’t know was that a driver had hit her and knocked her 15 feet in the air to where she landed on the Shea’s driveway. Amazingly, Deirdre had been able to crawl, walk and drag herself up the driveway to the Shea’s house with seven broken ribs, a broken hip, abdominal bleeding, a lumbar hernia and severe lacerations. She was taken from South Shore Hospital to Brigham and Women’s for surgery and stayed there for eight days.
Since the accident, the Hingham Police have been conducting an investigation. According to Paul, Officers Fernandes and Emmott began attempting to find video from the area. “The car had only about a half dozen possible paths that it probably took after it left the scene,” he said. “The only other possibility would be the driver doubled back and drove right past Deirdre, but Deirdre didn’t recall seeing cars heading either way as she struggled up to the nearby house.”
In the days that followed, Paul walked the loop that Deirdre had run multiple times. “In my own desire to do something,” said Paul, “I attempted to help a little myself.” By the Wednesday after the accident, the snow had melted. “Each day I found more and more pieces of broken glass that I assumed came from the car on impact,” Paul continued. “A few of the pieces were large enough to contain some interesting information that could help in identifying the car, and I was able to add a few pieces to the collection of evidence.”
The accident likely took place around 7:10 p.m., and the car’s front right headlight would have been completely broken in the crash. Body shops in the area have been notified and, according to Paul, have been very helpful, although there are many places a person could go to get their passenger-side headlight fixed.
The police have not yet identified a suspect and are encouraging anyone who thinks they may have information useful to the case to reach out using the tip line. “The tip line is anonymous,” said Sergeant Steven Dearth. “We encourage tips.” Dearth is quick to add that people should err on the side of providing too much information and allow the police to make determinations as to what is relevant.
Deirdre would like to see justice brought to her situation. Paul agrees and adds, with deep gratitude, that “the outpouring from the community of care and support and prayers has been very moving for us.”