UPDATE: Driver Named in Fatal Accident

Cynthia Pelham-Webb, 61, was crossing Union Place at the time she was struck by an SUV.

Police have released more details in the deadly accident that killed Cynthia Pelham-Webb. She died after being struck by an SUV as she crossed the street near Summit train station on Wednesday night.

Pelham-Webb had to be pulled from underneath the vehicle after the accident. Police have identified the driver as 56-year-old Owen Flannery of Chatham. According to police Pelham-Webb was rushed to Morristown Medical Center by the Summit Volunteer EMS squad sometime after 6:20p.m. and died a few hours later. 

Pelham-Webb, 61, of Short Hills worked for a consulting firm just a few doors from the scene of the accident. She was on her way to her car which was parked in the vicinity of Union Place near Maple Street. Just after 6 p.m., while crossing the street she was hit by a 2005 Nissan Xterra that was traveling south on Maple and had just rounded the corner to Union Place.

Coworkers saw the police tape that blocked off the intersection but didn't think it involved someone they knew. "We are incredibly distraught," said Steve Schrenzel, who worked with Webb at The Governance Group on Union Place. Pelham-Webb had been with the firm for 17 years. 

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Mulder of Christ Church in Short Hills sent out a bulletin this morning telling parishoners about Pelham-Webb's death. She was described in the email as a "regular and cheerful" part of the church community. And her family was with her at the hospital. "Her husband Marcus and their three sons were all present at the hospital at the time of their wife and mother's death," wrote Mulder.

Witnesses to the accident said that the driver, Flannery, was on his way to pick up his son who had come home from attending private school. A Patch commenter said there was a boy seen with Flannery in the aftermath of the accident. "His own teenage son stood next to him emotionless and speechless - totally in shock," wrote Nicole Turon-Diaz who also dialed 911 for help. "I covered my daughter's eyes so she wouldn't see it."

Police at the scene said that Flannery was taken to Summit police headquarters for questioning after the accident. It's not clear if he has been charged with any crime.

Pelham-Webb had "a lot of internal injuries," according to Rick Locke, a battalion chief for the . Locke said that when first responders arrived they saw her underneath the SUV, with her body positioned between the front and rear wheels. 

“We were set up to lift the car with airbags, but instead used smaller hydraulic tools to lift the vehicle on the side where she was,” he said.

Pelham-Webb was alive when she was pulled from under the vehicle, and was rushed to Morristown Medical Center, according to Sgt. David Ritchel who is part of Summit's fatal accident investigation's team along with Officer Sam Rutkowski.

Mayor Jordan Glatt was at the scene while police were conducting an accident reconstruction. Police were assisted by a Summit Fire Department truck with lights on its roof. Glatt talked with the authorities and emergency officials.

“It’s upsetting," he said. "In my years as mayor, we’ve had ."

Glatt was on his way to dinner in downtown Summit when he got a call from Police Chief Robert Weck at 7:38p.m. telling him of the accident. 

A server at , on the opposite corner of the accident location didn't see what happened, but said a woman ran into the cafe and asked that someone call 911. The employee, who didn't want to give his name said he dialed police at 6:16 p.m. Rescue vehicles arrived shortly thereafter.

The vehicle was impounded and taken away on a flatbed tow truck sometime around 8:30p.m. last night. An investigation is ongoing and Summit police are seeking the public's help. If you were a witness to this accident police encourage you to call them at 908-273-0051 with any details.


Original Story

A 61-year-old woman was struck by a 2005 Nissan X-terra while she was crossing the street at Union Place around 6:15 today. She was trapped under the car until emergency responders arrived to lift the vehicle and pull the woman out.

An employee at Cafe Mavi made the 911 call that brought emergency vehicles from , and Overlook Hospital and the to the scene.

Mayor Jordan Glatt came to the scene after receiving a phone call from Police Chief Robert Weck. "In my years as mayor, we've had several pedestrial strikes. It's upsetting," he said. 

Police have towed the vehicle and took a man, 51, into headquarters for questioning.

Patch will provide more details on this accident as they become available.

Spencer December 23, 2011 at 06:51 PM
The conditions certainly helped lead to this incident yes, but its still the responsibility of the driver to be cautious of their surroundings particularly when you are in a populous area and its dark out. As I've been told when you put your hands on the wheel you put lives in your hands (passengers and everyone else around you). I don't see how a person being not "fully" in the crosswalk warrants as an excuse to the benefit of the driver. A person of that age doesn't dart out. Even if she was outside the zone he apparently didnt approach the zone slowly enough to check if someone was crossing or he would have had time to avert hitting her on the opposite side of it. What the punishment should be is hard to say, but to get nothing is getting off light.
Spencer December 23, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Yep. In the latest issue of Independent Press, front page article headlined as "Summit 'catches' lightning".
Summit Res December 24, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Police would not provide that. Summit is all about covering everything up. Pretend there is no underage drinking, pretend there is no drug problem, pretend there is no crime, pretend we have great schools. Did the Patch ever follow up on the murder last year, the pipe thrown off the parking lot, the destruction and disappearance of "The Wedding Party" art at the High School. What about the HS westing - never heard about it?! Never reported!! This is Summit, we're perfect, none of this could possibly be true
Bob Gandel December 25, 2011 at 02:06 AM
It has been addressed but it needs to emphasized that Summit, which is a very affluent community, doesn't have proper lighting at its major downtown pedestrian crossings. Halogen lighting is available and certainly with Summit's affluent community is available. How many more people are going to have to die before we wake up and provide the proper safety precautions needed to protect lives? While you enjoy Christmas with your family, just take a minute to think about the Pelham-Webbs and what is like for them. How would you like to be in their place?
jjf1234 December 27, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Why are you not surprised that a huge SUV was involved in this accident? It was a 2005 model - not exactly the model that an aggressive yuppy driver would be driving. I find it disgusting that you would use a tragic accident as a mode to spout off your self-serving views. You are: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. You should be praying for the victim and her family - not using this tragic accident for your self-serving motives.


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