Woman, 50, dies after being hit by SUV near Woodward and Coolidge

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published June 8, 2022

File photo


ROYAL OAK — At approximately 3:11 p.m. Monday, May 9, Royal Oak police responded to a report of a woman who had been struck by a vehicle in the area of Woodward Avenue and Coolidge Highway.

Lt. Al Carter, of the Royal Oak Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, said the Royal Oak Fire Department transported the woman, 50, who was homeless, to Beaumont Hospital, where she died from her injuries.

He said the woman, who used a wheelchair, was a well-known panhandler in the area who was commonly seen on the median between CVS and Walgreens.

He said the preliminary investigation determined that she was reaching forward to retrieve the bottle cap for her beverage when she fell forward into the roadway. A line of cars was stopped at the red light at the intersection, with a Chevrolet Traverse driven by a 39-year-old Royal Oak woman at the front.

“When the light turned green, the driver of the vehicle did not see her and she ended up driving forward and hitting her,” Carter said. “Her body and the wheelchair were in the median, and her head was in the roadway when she fell, so the vehicle ran over her head.”

He said the driver of the Traverse stopped at the scene and was cooperative with police. Police closed one lane of northbound Woodward Avenue and one lane of southbound Coolidge Highway while they conducted the crash investigation.

Carter said any time a fatal crash occurs, the Royal Oak Police Department calls in the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Unit. As of press time, he said the incident was still under investigation.

Carter said police were not releasing the woman’s name, as they had not been able to officially notify next of kin.

“We reached out to a couple of people and unofficially found her boyfriend, but because he’s not next of kin, we’re not releasing her name,” he said.

Carter added that motorists should avoid giving money to panhandlers on medians or street corners, despite the practice being legal if they are not directly in the roadway or causing a nuisance, as it often feeds into addiction and does not offer solutions to those struggling with mental illnesses.

“One of the things I stress all the time is that if you want to help people in need, there are sources you can donate to and volunteer with,” he said. “Panhandling is not a proper method of helping people.”

Carter suggested donating to or volunteering with the Welcome Inn Day Center, located at 1717 W. 13 Mile Road, west of Crooks Road, in Royal Oak. For more information, call (248) 850-3219 or visit sochwi.org.

“This was a very, very unfortunate circumstance all the way around. Technically, the driver is a victim of this horrible situation,” he said. “It’s truly so sad all the way around.”

Police ask that anyone with additional information call the Royal Oak Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at (248) 246-3456 or the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office at (248) 858-4950.