It took Elizabeth Robins months to deal with the fear she felt of crossing streets after she was hit by a car three years ago at an intersection in Woodbridge that she crossed each weekday on the way to a commuter bus stop.
Robins, 39, was so traumatized by the idea of crossing at Old Bridge Road and Oakwood Drive that her husband, Michael, sometimes walked with her to try to relieve her worries. Yesterday about 6 a.m. she died after she was hit by a station wagon across the street from the site of the earlier accident.
"You would think that once would be enough. We never expected this to happen again," said Michael Robins, 42. "She had been so cautious ever since she was hit three years ago. She was so fearful she has hardly driven. We had talked about it over and over. She was very careful because it always bothered her to cross the street."
He said his wife had been fearful of driving, limiting herself largely to weekly bank and beauty shop trips early on Saturday mornings. She had stopped driving on the interstate.
Elizabeth Robins was hit by Harminder Singh Jolly, 56, of Woodbridge, said Prince William County police spokeswoman Kim D. Chinn. The accident was under investigation yesterday and no charges had been filed. Weather is believed to have been a factor in the accident, and police are asking anyone who may have seen it to call the department, Chinn said.
Michael Robins said he noticed a commotion near his house when he left about 7:15 a.m. to drop his daughter, Beth, off at Woodbridge High School, which is less than half a mile from the accident site. "On the way back I was thinking, 'Someone must have been in an accident,' then I pulled out into the intersection and saw her tennis shoe and I knew it was her," Robins said. "I went over and I saw her. She was still there on the ground covered."
Robins said his wife had left the house just before 6 a.m. to go to her job as a receptionist for American Telephone & Telegraph in the District. Her canvas AT&T bag lay near her body after the accident.
After the 1987 accident, Robins had spent a month in the hospital recuperating from a shattered elbow and a dislocated leg, as well as a mild concussion, cuts and scrapes. She underwent months of physical therapy and had regained 80 percent use of her right arm, Michael Robins said.
Michael Robins said he plans to lobby county officials "to get something done about the intersection," which has no pedestrian signals and crosswalks and is near a community center and public pool. "The kids use the intersection in the summer," he said. "There may not be many people who use it, but there are enough."