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Woman using walker dies after being hit by van in Reading

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Jul 08 2013 12:16:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 09 2013 10:24:17 AM CDT

Reading police are investigating after an elderly woman was struck by a van and killed while crossing the street Monday afternoon.

READING, Pa. -

Reading police are investigating the death of an elderly woman who was struck by a van while crossing the street Monday afternoon.

Relatives remember the 80-year-old victim as an independent and giving woman.

Jean Hatfield was known as "Grandma Jean." Her daughter said Hatfield was leaving her summer job at the Berks County Intermediate Unit, which she just started this week, when she was struck by a van while crossing Centre Avenue, near Carpentar Techbology, with her walker just before 1 p.m.

"She had a heart of gold," said Jule Brossman, about her mom. "I even said to her last week, 'I don't like you crossing that highway because it's so busy,' and she said, 'They drop me off on the right side.' But I didn't know she had to cross it to get the bus to come home., and that's what happened today."

About three years ago, Brossman said her mom was hit before crossing the street and broke her pelvis. She was up walking within a month.

"She was in a nursing home," said Brossman. "She was like, 'Don't you ever put me in a nursing home.'"

Hatfield's home in Reading welcomes you with an owl, and inside is her collection.

"Anywhere she went she would find an owl and like you said, all different kinds of owls," said Brossman.

Hatfield just turned 80 last month and has always insisted on living on her own.

"I was happy for her afterwards," said Brossman. "I was thinking, I didn't know how she was going to do it, but she did because that's what she did."

Hatfield was like that with work. too.

"Everyone called her Grandma Jean," said Brossman.

She was a foster grandparent for children who were 3- to 5-years-old.

"They help when they need to tie their shoes, you know, to help them button, just all their little learning things," said Brossman about foster grandparents.

Hatfield taught them how to be independent.

"She wanted to live," said Brossman. "She wanted her independence and that's what she did all her life. She was independent."

Brossman said doctors told her Hatfield was in a coma before she died, so she hopes she didn't suffer.

Police said the driver of the van stayed at the scene. At this point, no charges have been filed, but police are investigating and will reconstruct the scene.