A Westfield woman is facing charges in connection with a crash that killed a pedestrian in South Hadley over the summer.
Eighty-eight-year-old Michihiro Yoshida was hit and killed in a crosswalk near Mount Holyoke College last August.
Northwestern District Attorney spokesperson Mary Carey told 22News 38-year-old Westfield resident Erin O’Connor plead not guilty to motor vehicle homicide this week. O’Connor is accused of using her mobile device and failing to slow down when her car hit and killed Yoshida, who was in the crosswalk.
“I had actually seen the ambulances come, and the police cars everywhere. I was really shocked, he was a close member of our community here, so I was really upset about that. I do think it’s a pretty bad problem. I think a lot of people are distracted,” said Leo Rachman of South Hadley.
Mount Holyoke students told 22News Yoshida was well known in the college community. They said his wife was a professor, and he took daily walks around the campus, and could often be found reading in the school’s library.
Even with flashing lights, the crosswalk warns pedestrians that drivers may not stop. One student told 22News they need the reminder.
“I’m actually much less careful here than I am at home just because of the lights and the buttons,” said Kate Turner of South Hadley.
O’Connor was arraigned Monday on charges of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, operating a motor vehicle while sending or reading electronic messages, and a crosswalk violation.
Carey said O’Connor was released on personal recognizance and is due back in court January 18 for a pre-trial hearing.