Retired Gallaudet professor hit by SUV, dies

WASHINGTON – A 90-year-old retired Gallaudet University instructor was killed Wednesday after she was struck by an SUV in Southwest D.C.

D.C. Police say Frances Margaret Parsons was walking a dog as she walked along a ramp to an underground parking garage when she was hit by a black Porsche Cayenne. The Porsche SUV was leaving the garage, which is in the 700 block of 7th Street SW.

Parsons was taken to a local hospital where she died, police say.

The driver, who has not been named, remained on scene after hitting Parsons, police say.

Parsons, who was deaf, was an associated professor at the university for the deaf and hard of hearing. The university says she taught art history and retired in 1993.

According to the university archives, she consulted with the Peace Corps in the 1970s and established a program for deaf volunteers in the Philippines. She traveled extensively, often alone, and detailed her adventures in China in her book “I Didn’t Hear the Dragon Roar.”

After her retirement, Parsons focused on writing and her endowment, which paid for individuals to travel abroad to teach English to the deaf, according to the university archives.

The fatal pedestrian crash remains under investigation.

Crash offers lesson for other drivers

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend hopes the tragedy gets other drivers thinking about how they behave in parking garages.

“A garage is not a speedway,” he said.

Townsend uses an underground garage regularly, and knows how hard it is to see if a pedestrian is about to step into his car’s path, once he reaches street level.

“When you’re pulling out of a garage like this, then you have to assume, even if there’s not a stop sign, and there won’t be a stop sign in most cases, come to a stop,” he added.

Townsend says drivers should watch for distracted pedestrians on cellphones, or any person walking along who you think doesn’t hear or see you coming.

“You’re driving a vehicle that weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and you’re outmatching any pedestrian.”

So far this year, D.C. police have counted 27 people killed in traffic crashes in the city, up from 17 at this time last year.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.


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