SEA ISLE CITY — Bernice Pasquarello, a Medofrd resident and Sea Isle City homeowner, was killed Saturday when a Public Works truck accidentally ran her over on the beachfront promenade, police said Monday.
Pasquarello, 69, was walking north on the asphalt walkway between 52nd and 51st streets at about 1 p.m. when she was hit by a truck driven by Andrew Mattern, 33, of Upper Township, according to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.
Mattern was backing up and hit Pasquarello from behind, police said. No criminal charges have been filed.
“It was an accident, and a tragic one at that,” said Ken Super, chief of detectives for the Prosecutor’s Office.
Pasquarello is survived by her husband, a sister, a brother, a daughter, a son-in-law and two grandchildren, according to Msgr. James H. Dubell, pastor of Saint Mary of the Lakes Church in Medford, where Pasquarello was active.
Dubell said she was an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He said she lived in Medford most of her life and planned to spend her retirement living in Sea Isle City full-time.
“She did a lot of charity work here,” Dubell said. “She was just a wonderful, wonderful lady.”
Family and community members were shocked by the strange accident and still have questions about how it could have happened, Dubell said.
Police said that Mattern, of Upper Township’s Petersburg section, was one of several Sea Isle City Public Works employees cleaning up debris Saturday left from Hurricane Sandy. The ocean breached the dunes in that area of the island, destroying metal railings and covering the promenade in sand.
Mattern’s truck was parked on the promenade when coworkers asked him to back it up to get some debris he had driven past. He re-entered the truck, reversed and backed into the woman.
The truck was traveling at a low speed, Super said, but Pasquarello also apparently did not notice the truck. She was hit from behind, and possibly did not hear the vehicle because she was wearing a headband around her ears on the cold and windy afternoon, Super said.
Upon hitting her, Mattern stopped the truck and EMS responders were called, but Pasquarello was pronounced dead at the scene.
Super said there were no signs of any alcohol use by the driver. Mattern is a 1998 graduate of Ocean City High School, according to The Press of Atlantic City archives. The city’s Superintendent of Public Works, Andre Cipaldo, did not return a phone call on Monday asking how long Mattern has been a city employee.
Dubell said a viewing will be held for Pasquarello from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Saint Mary of the Lakes Church at 40 Jackson Road in Medford. A funeral Mass will be held at the church at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
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