Amid verses of “This Little Light of Mine” and demands for justice, those standing at the makeshift vigil on Flatbush and St. Mark’s avenues connected with the memory and spirit of Dorothea “Dot” Wallace.
Warming themselves by candlelight, the three dozen assembled remembered the 38-year-old Macy’s manager as a friendly, big-hearted woman who lived life to the fullest.
Her unfettered zest for life made news of her unnecessary and tragic death even harder to cope with.
“She was a very good, very happy person,” remembered Edna Reese, who worked with Wallace at the Macy’s in the Fulton Mall. “I’m very upset about this.”
Wallace, a resident of East 53rd Street in Flatlands, was crossing Flatbush Avenue near St. Mark’s Avenue at 5:20 a.m. on November 3 when she was struck down by a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by Sing Sing Prison guard Damon Padmore.
While Wallace’s death has been ruled an accident, Padmore was taken into custody for driving with a suspended license — a misdemeanor.
“Much has been said of the corrections officer, but not much was said about the life of Ms. Wallace,” said City Councilwoman Letitia James, who led the vigil next to a small shrine replete with candles and missives written on oak tag.
“We miss you because you are funny,” one scribe, JuWan, wrote.
Charles, another Macy’s employee who worked on Wallace’s floor, couldn’t agree more.
“She was a bundle of joy, that’s the best way to describe it,” he said.
It’s believed that Wallace raced across the street so she could grab a quick bite to eat at a local Dunkin’ Donuts before work. Her impulsiveness may have cost her life, but that was what Wallace was all about, Samuel Moore, her boyfriend, explained.
“She was a fun spirit,” Moore said, his pain still visible in his weary eyes. “The Tuesday before we celebrated her 38th birthday and we just partied. There was nothing she wanted to do that she didn’t do.”
“She’s smiling down on us right now,” he said, a grin slowly growing on his face. “She’s partying right now.”
While grieving, Moore said organized the vigil so people would remember Dot.
“I don’t want this to go under the carpet,” he said. “I figured that if I do this, this won’t be another case of a person struck by a car and life goes on.”
He also wanted Padmore “to understand” just who Dorothea was.
James called for Padmore to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. At the same time, she called for the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a traffic calming study for Flatbush Avenue.
“There have been studies with regard to beautification, but I don’t believe there has been a traffic calming study for this part of Flatbush Avenue,” she said.
“These tragedies happen too frequently,” said Reverend Kevin McCall, who, as he led the group in prayer, said that there should be more lights and signage on Flatbush Avenue.
If warranted, the city should even look into making the sidewalks wider, James explained.
“Everything should be on the table,” she said. “The DOT should conduct a study as soon as possible.”
The DOT was looking into her request as this paper went to press.
©2009 Community News Group
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