A woman walking around the Boston Public Garden suffered life-threatening injuries in a car crash on Thursday, and police are searching for the driver who took off running from the stolen pickup truck that hit her.
Police said the call came in at 4:22 p.m. for reports of a person struck at the corner of Boylston and Charles streets. The woman who was hit suffered life-threatening injuries, police said, and authorities were making “full notifications,” which is done when someone either has died or might die — though she was still fighting for her life two hours later in a local hospital.
Witness Antonio Avanti was waiting for the light on Boylston when he heard the crash and then saw smoke. He told the Herald he jumped out of his car and saw what appeared to be a young woman lying on the ground with people tending to her.
“She had an angel — there was somebody with blue scrubs who was helping her,” Avanti said.
The vehicle — a black Chevrolet Colorado, he said — had jumped the curb and smashed into the iron fencing and stone pillars that form an entrance to the Public Garden at the corner of the two streets, the Boston resident said.
Boston Police spokesman Sgt. Detective John Boyle John Boyle said the pickup “had been reported stolen.”
The Chevy pickup truck remained there, propped up on a small pile of debris. Boyle said the woman’s injuries either came from the truck or from the pieces of the column and fence that it struck.
But the person driving the truck took off, fleeing the scene after the crash, Boyle said, and police were searching for the individual in the hours after the crash.
“We’re currently interviewing witnesses and looking for video surveillance,” Boyle said.
The busy roads around the downtown scene remained closed as police investigated.
Avanti said it appeared that the woman had been walking with friends or family — other women who were in shock after the crash.
“It’s just very sad,” Avanti said.
Brendan Kearney of the WalkBoston advocacy group said he counts five fatal crashes in Boston this year, including the one earlier this week in Andrew Square. He said the city should use its current Boston Common master planning project to take a hard look at the wide streets surrounding the pedestrian-heavy parks downtown that “really just invite speeding.”
“These streets — they are built for high speed,” Kearney said, noting other fatal crashes around that area over the past few years. “It doesn’t matter who’s driving, if the truck was stolen or not — we need fewer roads that are overbuilt like this.”
He added that the big-picture question people should be asking is, “How do we reduce speed and make it