The girl's distraught father expressed sympathy for the operator of the vehicle, who was neither charged nor issued a ticket by police and was not identified.
"The driver was not at fault at all," Ted Geier said of the accident that killed his daughter Hallie, a gifted young writer who had decided on her own to raise money for children in Africa with AIDS.
The Daily News reported that the 34-year-old woman driver, who was from the neighborhood, sobbed on the curb after trying to help Hallie. Ted Geier tracked the woman down Monday and told her not to blame herself, the paper reported.
Hallie was walking her dog, an older puppy, when the car hit her at 5:30 p.m. on 46th Street between 39th and Skillman avenues. A neighbor who heard the accident called 911 and Hallie was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where she died at 8:15 p.m., police said.
Family members said Hallie walked her dog regularly by herself and was responsible enough to do so. They said 46th Street, a narrow one-way on a quiet and leafy residential block, was normally a safe area.
"She was probably crossing the street in the middle and got distracted," said Geier, who heard the car's brakes squeal. The puppy, now almost fully grown, was also struck but was expected to survive, Geier said. His daughter got the dog, then 7 months old, as a Christmas present in December, and she and her older sister dubbed it Geraldine Louise, with "Cherry Lulu" as a nickname.
On Sunday, neighbors, a number of whom did not know the Geiers very well, brought over food and offered their condolences and assistance. Ted Geier sat on the front stoop and with tears in his eyes spoke of his daughter, a student at Clinton Junior High School in Manhattan, a public school focused on writing and the arts.
"She was a beautiful, loving child," Geier said. As part of her schooling, Hallie wrote a short book, complete with a preface and an "about the author" section. In the latter, she said she planned to write a full novel by the age of 20.
As he sat, Geier read from a notebook full of poems and anecdotes Hallie had composed about topics such as her pets and the beauty of the block.
In a piece about a cardinal that flew off after she spotted it in a neighbor's yard, she wrote: "Now that the moment is in the past, I know that I probably will never see the bird again. I haven't so far. It was an amazing moment - not to be repeated. Not even the snow is the same."
Hallie also wanted to work with animals, and her mother, Sofia Geier, said neighborhood cats seemed to communicate with Hallie when she meowed at them.
"It's just like she had this magic," Sofia Geier said.
Hallie also became concerned with the plight of children with AIDS in Africa after a school lesson and on her own started saving up money for the victims. The Geiers said they have set up a foundation in their daughter's name, and donations can be made through Cause Effective, a non-profit in Manhattan previously started by Ted Geier.
In addition to her mother and father, Hallie is survived by a 15-year-old sister, M.J., and an 18-year-old brother, Josh.
The Geiers said Hallie's body would be cremated, with a service scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Chapel on Roosevelt Island. A separate memorial will be held later, Ted Geier said.
"We're going to put a little distance in and really find a way to celebrate her life."
Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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