Shock and sadness rippled through town this week after the death of a 14-year-old Springs girl who was struck by an SUV while riding her bike in East Hampton Village on Saturday afternoon.
Anna Mirabai Lytton, the daughter of Kate Rabinowitz and Rameshwar Das, sister to 16-year-old James Lytton and granddaughter to Andrea and Alan Rabinowitz, succumbed to her injuries after being airlifted to Stony Brook Hospital following a collision with a tan 2002 Ford Explorer on Pantigo Road at Gay Lane, near the entrance to CVS Pharmacy, at about 1:25 p.m.
Anna’s mother and brother were with her at the hospital when she died.
No criminal charges were filed against East Hampton resident Maria Brennan, 73, the driver of the vehicle, according to Village Police. Ms. Brennan was issued a ticket for “failure to exercise due care.”
Anna and her bike were dragged underneath the car for approximately 40 feet before the vehicle came to a halt just beyond CVS, according to Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen, who noted there were marks in the pavement. Both were traveling west on Pantigo Road, and Anna was biking alongside traffic. Anna attempted to make a left in front of the car being driven by Ms. Brennan when she was struck.
“We think she might have started to veer a little to avoid the accident and the bike kept coming and collided,” Chief Larsen said, noting that the vehicle continued to “roll on” slowly past the entrance to CVS.
Ms. Brennan did not have any vision or hearing impairments, according to the chief.
“There was no speeding involved,” he said. “It was basically the bicyclist made a left in front of the motorist. They collided. And the driver failed to stop the vehicle as quick as she should have and received a summons for that.”
A group of six to eight good Samaritans rushed to the car soon after the accident to lift it and free Anna, who was trapped underneath with the bike. One man who helped lift the vehicle and spoke on the condition of anonymity said he saw the horrifying scene unfold before his eyes as he was traveling east on Route 27. He said from his perspective it wasn’t the driver’s fault— the driver was attempting to make a left turn into the CVS and U.S. Post Office area, and had signaled to do so. She apparently did not see Anna, who was also trying to make a left turn across traffic, he said.
“Basically, the driver was in shock when she first hit her and her mouth was wide open and her eyes were open and the whole situation was a shock to the driver,” said the man.
Anna was able to speak when she was extracted from underneath the car—an account confirmed by Chief Larsen. She asked to be covered, so the men got a blanket from the driver’s car and covered her, he said. “She said that she was going to high school, that’s all she told us, next year,” he said.
Anna, an eighth-grader at the Springs School, was supposed to graduate with her class on Thursday evening. She was going to attend the Ross School, according to Carolyn Abrams-Dyer, a close friend of the family.
“She was incredibly bright, mature, compassionate, loving beyond her years,” Ms. Dyer said, her voice breaking, during a telephone interview on Sunday. “She was raised in a world of tremendous openness and love and she was given every opportunity. Her mother actually just told a story of how if she wanted to know something she would research it because she was so interested in knowing about everything. She had an insatiable love of knowledge.”
Andrea Rabinowitz, Anna’s grandmother, said the young girl and her brother James were “the most devoted brother and sister you ever saw.”
“They were just amazing,” she said. “They were almost like twins.”
Mr. Das was in Hawaii for work at the time of the accident, she said.
Ms. Rabinowitz went on to say that Anna was a “lovely writer” and that “she was interested in people. She was very much a people person and a peacemaker. And she was just kind of interested in everything.”
School officials from Springs and East Hampton school districts also offered statements on the accident and on Anna. A “crisis team” was assembled on Monday morning at Springs School, with counselors from the school and other neighboring schools on hand to assists students, staff and family.
Springs School Principal Eric Casale called Anna a “bright, shining star in our hallways that made all of us who knew her better because she brought out the best in people.” He said she loved art, writing, her friends and family, and was a source of support for classmates who needed it.
“Anna was a student who always brought a smile to everyone’s face,” Mr. Casale said in a statement posted on the school’s website. “She was a gentle soul who cared so much for others. Whether you were her friend, her classmate or an adult, Anna always greeted you with a smile and a friendly and genuine ‘hello.’ Her smile was infectious to the point that when you saw Anna smile, you could not help but join her. That was the type of person Anna was and will always be remembered as.”