The investigation into the tragic accident that claimed the life of 15-year-old Kalie Gill outside a Yonkers carnival on October 11 of last year, may well show that a malfunction in the brakes of the car that hit the Irish teenager was at the heart of what went wrong that night. The accident also left Kalie’s 12-year-old sister Lindsey seriously injured.
The case is now with the Westchester County DA’s office following an investigation by the Yonkers Police Department.
A mechanical analysis of all the 2002 Jeep driven by school teacher Roseanne Piccirilli points towards a malfunction of the brakes as the main cause of the accident, sources have told the Irish Voice and IrishCentral.
A civil case against the car manufacturer and Piccirilli by the family would be the likely outcome rather than a criminal case against the driver, sources say.
The meticulous accident reconstruction and the video surveillance of the event is said to show the Jeep driven by Piccirilli (55), a sixth-grade teacher at St. Paul the Apostle School, lurched and accelerated away from a parking spot and drove straight through the intersection of McLean Avenue and McCollum Place. The car hit several vehicles before jumping the curb and crashing into the Gill girls, who were on the sidewalk after leaving the church carnival.
The 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee model was partially recalled for faulty brake problems in 2006 according to Motor Trend magazine.
The Gill family had recently moved back to Yonkers after living in County Leitrim for eight years. A massive fundraising drive for the surviving Gills, sisters Lindsey and Jamie and parents Damien and Karen, was held last month by the local Irish community.
“The case has been ongoing for a while. The fact that the DA’s office is involved means that it could still go either way depending on what they find from the accident report,” claims a source close to the investigation.
However, the source told the Irish Voice and IrishCentral that “it’s looking like it’s not going to lead to a prosecution” and that a civil case was the most likely outcome if the verdict is vehicle malfunction.
The outcome of the case will come from the Westchester County DA’s office in the coming weeks.
A relative of the Gill family, Oliver Charles, said Lindsey, now 13, remains in a rehabilitation center recovering from the injuries she sustained in the accident.
“Lindsey remains in good spirits and is upbeat,” said Charles. He had been up to visit the young Irish girl and added that she was slowly but surely showing signs of progress. Lindsey is reported to have recently taken her first steps since the accident.
The Gills remain a constant force of solidarity in the face of great anguish, never leaving Lindsey’s side. She has a constant support network and her parents or aunts stay with her at night in the hospital.
“She has returned to school at the rehabilitation center,” added Charles.
Piccirilli had sent her best wishes and prayers to the family after the accident when Kalie’s parents said they did not blame her.
"My prayers go out to the Gill family at this time of loss and tragedy. I am grateful for the kindness they have shown in their public statements, and cannot even imagine the sense of loss that they feel," Piccirilli said at the time.
"My family and I are praying for the recovery of Lindsey and ask that God will watch over her and over the soul of her sister Kalie," she added.
"This is a wonderful family, and what has happened is so very tragic."
The St. Barnabas High School basketball team captured first place in the inaugural Kalie Gill invitational tournament, with a victory over Palisades Prep on Friday, January 24. Host Yonkers Montessori Academy defeated Riverside to take third place. Kalie was in her sophomore year at St. Barnabas.
Here's a tribute to Kalie Gill uploaded to YouTube by her friends:
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”