Older driver passed all tests
Woman, 84, alert, son tells inquest

Wednesday, March 6, 2002  Globe and Mail Print Edition, Page A16

Two years ago at the age of 84, Pilar Hicks was an alert and intelligent woman who had just passed her required tests to keep driving, her son told a coroner's inquest in Toronto yesterday.

Her doctor, Felippa Meffe, said she did not have any concerns about her patient's ability to drive. Had she had any reservations, she would have reported them to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, as required by law.

The portrait painted for the jury yesterday merely added to the mystery that will likely never be solved: How the widow and grandmother, now 86, cannot recall striking Beth Kidnie with her car twice on April 4, 2000, at an intersection in west Toronto.

The second impact caused the 42-year-old mother of three young children to fall underneath the vehicle. She was dragged almost a kilometre to her death.

William Hicks told the coroner's jury yesterday that he has discussed the collision with his mother and "she doesn't remember seeing anything at all."

His mother understands she was involved in an accident and that Mrs. Kidnie died, but "how it happened, she doesn't know."

Mrs. Hicks was convicted of criminal negligence causing death last year and was given a 15-month conditional sentence, which meant she was under virtual house arrest.

She was traumatized by the incident, her son said, and "not a day goes by that she doesn't think of Peter Kidnie and his children." His mother, he said, was a very compassionate person who had not a shred of malice in her bones. She will not be testifying.

Mr. Hicks then turned to Mr. Kidnie and said that he, too, thinks of him and his family every day. Mr. Hicks lives in the same neighbourhood as the Kidnies.

The love of a son for his mother and that of a widower for his dead wife were strongly felt during both men's testimony.

Mr. Kidnie said his wife of 21 years loved to cook and to walk. She was out for a walk when she was struck and dragged to death.

He told the jury that there is sight-line problem with the intersection of Markland Drive and Bloor Street West, where his wife died while crossing Bloor on a green light. Mrs. Hicks was turning right onto Bloor.

He recommended that the crosswalk on Markland be moved two feet (0.6 metres) east so cars don't have to creep into it to see if there is oncoming traffic along Bloor.