North Jersey | Dan Prochilo
Betsy Niles, who had turned 60 years old on Jan. 4, suffered a serious head injury from the collision. The van had been heading down Bellevue Avenue toward Valley Road and made a left to enter the parking lot across the street from the Bellevue Theater when it struck her at 8 a.m., after the driver failed to see Niles in the crosswalk "because of the sun," the victim's daughter said. The driver stopped and called 911.
Although it had been "a low-impact collision," the crash knocked Betsy Niles over, left her unconscious, and inflicted an injury that was catastrophic, according to Alexandra Niles.
At the hospital, it took surgeons a couple of hours to open one side of the victim's skull to relieve the pressure on her brain, which was bleeding and swollen.
After the procedure, a neurosurgeon told the family that doctors had performed a second scan and "were worried there would be bleeding on the other side of her brain" as well, recalled Alexandra Niles.Photo: Montclair resident Betsy Niles sails during a trip to the Caribbean. Niles was the victim of a deadly motor-vehicle accident while walking in Montclair in March 2011, and her family decided to donate her organs for transplant.