Incline woman guilty of crashing into pedestrian in crosswalk

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A local woman who struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk earlier this year was found guilty of reckless driving Wednesday in Incline Village-Crystal Bay Township Justice Court.

Carolyn Grady, who originally pleaded not guilty, changed her plea on Wednesday to no contest. She was found guilty for failing to yield or exercise care to a pedestrian, constituting reckless driving.

The collision occurred on March 14 in Incline Village.

Grady, who was driving a Ford Escape SUV south on Northwood Boulevard to turn left onto State Route 28, claimed that sunlight was in her eyes which obstructed her from being able to see Incline Village resident Helen Neff, who was in the crosswalk.

“She (Helen) checked to be sure the intersection was clear before starting to cross the street and was almost halfway across the street when she was hit,” said Bill Neff, Helen’s husband.

Helen Neff was struck and her body was thrown more than 11 feet into opposing traffic. She was transferred to Renown Health in Reno before being airlifted to Walnut Creek, where she stayed for 52 days.

Multiple witnesses of the event immediately called 911 and attempted to help Neff while they waited for emergency responders.

“There were many people who stopped to offer assistance and direct traffic around her body which was in the middle of SR28,” said Bill Neff. “Washoe County Sheriff, Nevada Highway Patrol and North Lake Tahoe Fire District all responded to the 911 calls. We are very grateful to everyone who stopped to assist and the officials who responded.”

Grady said in her voluntary statement to NHP that the sunlight was low and very bright, which prevented her from seeing the pedestrian.

“I just want to say that this horrible, unfortunate incident happened,” said Grady during her statement to the court. “I feel it was because of the inclement weather, which was the sun, that caused this terribly unfortunate accident. I’m so sorry to Miss Neff and that she was involved and hurt in this incident.”

Within her official victim statement to the court, Helen Neff shared that while she used to be an active, involved community member, the event has changed everything for her.

“I am not in good health,” she said at her trial on Wednesday. “I feel broken inside. I have injuries that will never heal, and I’m exhausted from fighting for recovery … I’m drained from mental health therapy sessions. I’m on medication for depression and heart issues.”

Helen and Bill Neff are adamant that this case is key in prevention of future accidents in Incline Village.

“We would like to make sure what happened to Helen does not happen to someone else,” said Bill Neff. “A mother pushing a stroller, someone of youth headed to a game … We need to be sure our community is safe for all.”

The growing concern with reckless driver safety has increased in the small town after a number of collisions, including two pedestrians being struck within six months.

In July 2021, a reckless driver hit, and left, a 14-year old child near the Raley’s shopping center.

“There are costs of this crash that go beyond our family,” said Bill Neff. “These costs could have been avoided, especially societal costs for law enforcement, the court, health professional and health facilities, which are much needed by others during this pandemic. Costs that could have been avoided with responsible driving.”

The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.

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