Haverford Township, PA -- Lindsay Pham Vo was just 27 months young when she was killed. The townsfolk of Lower Merion can’t stop thinking about the tragedy as Haverford still mourns. Daily, thousands of people gawk at the spot where the little girl was run over by a car in a crowded and congested parking lot of the extraordinarily busy YMCA at 891 N. Eagle Road.
No charges have been filed, according to Haverford police, who are simply referring to the incident as a tragic accident. Most people that use the YMCA are wondering how it could have happened.
“How could the driver not see the child?” asked Janeene High, member and frequent user of the YMCA.
YMCA Members and staff all are waiting for answers.
“The mother and girl were walking toward their car when she ran away, and sat down,” said Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola.
A motorist turned into the parking spot and didn’t see the little girl sitting there. The SUV struck the 27-month-year-old girl. The girl, with visible injuries, was treated at the scene and then rushed to Lankenau Hospital, where she died.
"The driver is devastated,” said Viola. “He is from Havertown and stayed at the scene.”
A candlelight vigil was held last Tuesday to show support for the victim's family. And many in the community have rallied around both social media and local establishments to show their support in the family's time of mourning.
“Those that know me, know how much I care about the people around me," said Brian Hoffman via a Facebook page. "My family, my friends, and my greater community. I hope that the Pham Vo family knows how much this community cares for them”,
Hoffman, of Ardmore, doesn't know the Pham Vo family or the driver. He just wanted to do something to show support.
“Everyone that comes into the building stops and look at the site," said Helen Edwards of Prospect Parks who meets friends regularly at the YMCA.
The YMCA closed early that day and reopened a day later to find that a bench out front of the main entrance to the YMCA was covered with flowers and small stuffed animals like a Teddy Bear. The spot where the tragedy occurred was cordoned off by cones and flowers were laid within. The majority of the people using the facilities stopped and stared before entering the building.
Little Lindsay, her family and the driver that struck her are all from Haverford Township -- a tight-knit community. Havertown, as it is known, borders Lower Merion Township at Penn Wynne, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Haverford College, and Bryn Mawr.
The Haverford Area YMCA is located at 891 N. Eagle Road. This heavily traveled road is the main feeder to West Chester Pike via Lawrence Road for traffic bound to Interstate Route 476. The parking lot has been called a “disaster waiting to happen” by many. Most of the 2000 daily member visits at the YMCA arrive by car and most are single occupants. The YMCA assists with parking during peak periods of the day and evening
The YMCA expanded the parking lot once and is looking to do so again.
The YMCA purchased and demolished a home which was turned into staff parking at Lawrence and Eagle Roads. The membership is reported to be roughly 27,000 members. Mass transit -- other than the occasional bus -- is not available at the facility that was built on the site of a former bubble gum manufacturing plant and across the street from what was once an EPA SuperFund site.