Police don't suspect foul play in toddler traffic death

Police: Wheelchair was being used as a stroller

Published On: Feb 15 2013 09:26:12 AM CST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 11:33:26 AM CST
Accident scene on East Washington Avenue
MADISON, Wis. -

Madison police said the mother of a 1 ½ year old girl who died following a car-pedestrian crash on East Washington Avenue early Thursday morning is 31-year-old Raya M. Hansen.

Police said the incident happened in the 3700 block of East Washington Avenue around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

According to police, the girl, who was in a wheelchair that was being used as a stroller, and her 31-year-old mother were on the sidewalk on East Washington Avenue near Mendota Street when the wheelchair rolled down the embankment and into the street.

The mother, who's not from the area, told police she was out getting fresh air and was going to Walgreen's when she left the wheelchair unattended for a short time as she retraced her path looking for a baby bottle. She said she heard a crash and said it appeared the wheelchair rolled down a driveway and into the street.

The woman has no permanent address and had been staying at a nearby motel.

The 53-year-old McFarland man who was driving the van that struck the child told police he didn't see the wheelchair but heard a noise and realized he must have struck something.

"The officers at the scene do not smell alcohol on either the mother or the van driver, but they both go to the hospital and consensually allow us to draw blood. So the investigation's continuing on that front," said Joel DeSpain, spokesman for the Madison Police Department.

Police said the man stopped immediately and there was no evidence he was impaired.

"In reading the reports, the initial investigation certainly indicates no impairment on behalf of this driver. He has not been cited. He was very, very distraught at the scene," DeSpain said.

Police said they do not suspect foul play from either party.

3700 block of E. Washington