John and Stephanie Dains, in an image from the Washington University website.

Stephanie Dains, the 69-year-old woman who died after being hit by an SUV on Broadway and 75th street Tuesday night, was a dedicated educator and philanthropist.

She was heading home to check on her dog when she was hit and killed, the Daily News reported. “She had left a dinner date with her husband and a cousin and was racing back to check on her dog when she was struck.”

Dains had given up a lucrative sales job to teach blind and deaf students, her husband John told the Daily News.

“She was an art therapist who taught at the California School for the Blind, but she mastered both Braille and sign language because she had deaf kids too,” he said. Stephanie remained in touch with many of her students over the years and had a vast array of friends in San Francisco, New York and Paris, where the couple lived over the years, he said.

Stephanie and John donated more than $5 million to Washington University in St. Louis, her alma mater.

NEWS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. WestSide_Mimi says:

      Sincere condolences to her family. What a tragedy on so many levels.

    2. zeus says:

      You quote the Daily News that she RACED back home to check on her dog.
      By writing the word RACEd, it is implied that she was at fault.
      Regardless of who caused this tragic death, better words could have been used.
      May she rest in peace.

      • Amy Shapiro says:

        The earlier articles confirm that she did race across the street, against the light.

    3. dannyboy says:

      A loss to her friends, family, those blind persons she was and would help, her neighborhood…and the world. A Whole Person.

    4. Tyson White says:

      Was the driver in a hurry? Is there any speculation as to how fast the driver was going? Seems that only the victim was “racing”.

    5. shesays says:

      Agreed, the word “raced” seems out of place, but it was lifted directly from the story in the NEW YORK POST, so put the blame where it belongs.

    6. shesays says:

      Sorry. DAILY NEWS quote. Not WSR’s blame.

    7. Ronnie says:

      So very sad. My heart goes out to Stephanie’s husband and family and f friends. And heart goes to the young man whose car struck her – (as I read she had run across against the light. was not focussed on the crossing but on getting to her dog.)
      He must realize he is blameless. I hope he seeks help in getting through his trauma.
      It is sad, all the way round. 🙁

    8. Mark says:

      This was not a tragic accident. It was a crash. Accident implies no responsbility. The driver is responsible. Maybe only a little if this lady did happen to dart in front of him at the last second. Maybe a great deal, if his eyes were averted from the road (text message perhaps) or he was speeding. A green light does not grant you the privelage of mindless driving, oblivious of your surroundings in a crowded city. Of course, the pedestrian is also responsbile if they did not have the light. I sincerely hope there is a thorough investigation (hopefully cameras). The anoyomous NYPD quote that she ran in front of the car reported shortly after the accident is not an investigation. The quick judegment against this women by this forum is disturbing.

      • Andrew says:

        And perhaps she wasn’t crossing against the light after all. If the NYPD based its conclusion on the driver’s own statement – not an uncommon occurrence, as absurd as it sounds – then the NYPD’s conclusion is meaningless. The dead pedestrian was in no position to give her side of the story.

        Since I don’t know what happened, I’m not going to blame a dead person for killing herself.

        I’m looking forward to a full investigation – but unfortunately I’m not holding my breath.

      • Independent says:

        “The quick judegment [sic] against this women [sic] by this forum is disturbing.”

        This, right after you presume to judge that the driver must have been at least “a little” responsible.

        “A green light does not grant you the privelage [sic] of mindless driving, oblivious of your surroundings in a crowded city.”

        Where is the evidence that this driver was guilty of any of that?

        “Maybe only a little if this lady did happen to dart in front of him at the last second.”

        If that is what is occurred then it would seem entirely plausible for this driver to have been entirely without fault here. In the other thread, there were comments that argued that even when a driver is acting fully responsibly, it can simply be impossible to avoid hitting a pedestrian who suddenly appears in front of the driver’s moving car. Are you disputing that claim? On what basis? Cite evidence, please.

        • Mark says:

          You completely missed the point and misinterepreted my comments to fit your narrative. I did not judge anyone – I called for a thorough investigation, which too often doesn’t happen becuase it is presumed to be an accident.

          The point is this is not an accident, everyone shares responsbility. Drivers absolutely 100% should be held to a higher standard, because when they make a mistake, it includes 2,000 lbs of metal and can kill. When a pedestrian makes a mistake, they can’t kill anyone (and don’t give me any absurb hypotheticals about them causing some fatal chain of events – that is a red herring. I’m not excusing stupid pedestrain behavior, but fundamentlly, that is not what is killing people).

          I agree with you. If someone suddenly appears (however that happens…) the driver is not at fault. When I drive around our neighborhood, I’m scanning the curb. IF the driver was doing this AND going 25 mph? Investigate!

          If you accept that a little speeding is OK, which the majority does accept (based on the fact that this is clearly not a police priority), you accept 2x severe injuries. Shame on you (not you specifically, but drivers who speed in crowded, pedestrian filled city and those that condone it).

          Bottomline – the driver could be at no fault in some extreme and unlikely circumstance. But drivers (myself included) should all be held to a higher standard and there should be a thorough investigation of any death. A life was lost, and to jump to the conclusion that this was purely an accident (and to feel sorry for the driver as some posters have), is a sad disservice to the woman, her family, and our community. You’ll most likely find me at Dublin house after work tonight if you want to engage in a thoughtful conversation… maroon cap.

          • dannyboy says:

            My favorite WSR Reply:

            “…misinterepreted my comments to fit your narrative.”

          • Mark says:

            Some of my post disappeared into the internet – is there a word limit? My incomplete thought in the 3rd paragraph was this: There are various studies re the relation between speed of car and the odds of severe injury/death to the pedestrian. One study from states that at 20 mph, odds of death are 5%. At 30 mph, this jumps to 45%. IF the driver was driving defensive, <=25 mph, scanning the curbs / aware of his surroundings, the odds are better we do not have a tragedy. We should expect this of all drivers. What was he doing? I'm not accusing the driver of manslaughter. But I would also not so quickly give him a pass/ callously call it is an accident. A woman was killed – Investigate!!! We all routinely see/ accept speeding within the city. Even 1 mph over is too fast in the city.

          • Independent says:


            I am afraid that I fail to see how I have misinterpreted anything you wrote but if I have, it certainly would not have been intentional on my part. (Contrary to the unfounded accusations that have been repeatedly leveled at me by a self-anointed scold and arbiter of propriety and ethics, I have never intentionally misinterpreted or mischaracterized anyone.)

            You write that we should not, “jump to the conclusion that this was purely an accident”. Yet, you begin your original post with the assertion, the declarative statement that,

            This was not a tragic accident. It was a crash.

            Isn’t that just as much jumping to a conclusion– just the opposite one?

            How about we not jump to any conclusions and withhold judgment until all the facts are in, the investigation has been completed and a clearer picture emerges (if one ever does)?

            You made a number of points that I would not dispute.


            Some of my post disappeared into the internet – is there a word limit?

            There seems to be some kind of tech glitch with posting; yesterday, I had several posts mysteriously vanish (the reason for my test post that appears on this page). I suppose I shall see soon enough what happens when I submit this one…

            I’ve made longer posts than yours, so I doubt a word limit is to blame for what you experienced (unless a new, shorter one was just implemented).

            • Mark says:

              You still can’t see the forest for the trees. Calling it a crash vs. an accident is making a judgement??? If this not a misinterpretation, I don’t know what is. Calling it an accident presumes no fault – that is my issue. It certainly was a crash. It is important it is treated as one. Investigate! Pressure your elected representatives – these types of incidents are often glossed over as an accident. NYPD’s collision investigation squad has a terrible track record. Independent, as you have shifted to passive aggressive insults (sorry, but arbitrating?), I will not engage you any further.

          • Independent says:


            First, my parenthetical reference to “a self-anointed scold and arbiter of propriety and ethics” was not to you but to a different individual who comments here*.

            Second, I repeat that if I have misinterpreted any of what you write– which I am not denying is possible– it certainly would not have been intentionally. I will add that if I have indeed been guilty of misrepresenting your words in any way, then I apologize.

            Let me just note that I do not see “crash” and “accident” as mutually exclusive; there is certainly such a thing as an accidental crash.

            I reiterate that I agree that a fair and thorough investigation is warranted. And that until one is completed, we should all withhold any judgment.

            *Someone who routinely lashes-out at me, always assumes bad faith on my part, accuses me of the worst possible motives and, quite ironically, regularly twists my words and posts in all kinds of ways, casting them in the worse possible light. Unlike this individual, however, I do not claim that he does this intentionally, for I do not presume to be able to read his heart and mind.

            • dannyboy says:

              Are you now disavowing your Comment: Independent says:
              June 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm
              “We (speaking as a pedestrian myself) are also obligated to remain alert and pay due diligence to the law as well as common sense ourselves and avoid reckless behavior. This is the point that was made in the several comments that appear above yours. If the details of how this tragic incident occurred reported here are accurate , then the driver was not at fault, while the pedestrian clearly was.”

              Because you just contradicted yourself by writing: “I reiterate that I agree that a fair and thorough investigation is warranted. And that until one is completed, we should all withhold any judgment.”

              So it really is your agenda to deceive. No one; Mark, myself, or any others can get you to stop it.

    9. Independent says:


    10. A West Sider says:

      An avoidable tragedy. So sorry for all who knew her. A great loss for the world, even for those who didn’t know Ms. Dains.

      For some reason, drivers accelerate when making a turn, a fast turn, when they should slow down to make sure they don’t hit someone crossing the street. SUCH TRAGEDIES CAN BE AVOIDED, regardless of who had the light. Why isn’t there a law that drivers must slow down before making a turn?

      • Anon says:

        The articles I’ve read said the SUV as traveling south on Broadway. Why do you think he was turning?

    11. Ann March says:

      Tragic for all touched by this ACCIDENT.
      Is it really necessary to assign blame?

      • Betsy says:

        Unfortunately, yes. We must assign blame.

        Otherwise an 18-year old driver who was following the law would be charged with manslaughter.

      • Upper West Sider says:

        Yes, assigning blame should encourage drivers to slow down, obey the law and stop killing pedestrians.

        • anon says:

          all accounts say that this driver was obeying all laws. he can’t change the laws of physics which mean an SUV can’t stop in an instant and it will throw a 69 year old woman to the ground if it hits her.

    12. UWS says:

      Was there, she did run into street against traffic. Driver wasn’t speeding, he was in the right, nothing could be done. He was about 18 – 20. Distraught. Terrible situation, from my perspective he did nothing wrong. Life is lost, very sad & he is traumatized. Too many of you act like judge & jury & speculate. If you weren’t there, who are you to judge ?

    13. 21D says:

      Can’t get this story out of my mind. How many of us do what Stephanie Dains did? She seems so vital, then, gone in an instant. And that poor boy. He has to live with it. And her family, and his; so many lives tragically touched.

      Be careful out there.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Be careful out there.” was advice directed at police by their desk Sergeant at the precinct station, as depicted on the series.

        Now it goes for civilians! Be safe.

    14. John McDermott says:

      In an area such as NYC where hordes of pedestrians are present, it really doesn’t matter whether the driver had the light or not. The driver obviously is at fault for killing someone. This idea that drivers are off the hook if they had the light is absolutely absurd and ridiculous! NYC streets are not freeways! The streets are unfortunately meant to be shared with pedestrians and motor vehicles, and it is the vehicle driver’s duty and obligation to be on the alert for pedestrians at all times regardless of whether or not they have the light. Slow down & pay attention drivers! It’s your obligation to not kill pedestrians!

      • Jay says:

        Pretty sure your opinion would be different if you were the person driving.

        This lady made a mistake and she lost her life because of it. It’s unfortunate that you feel the need to blame someone that was not part of the decision to walk (or run) into on-coming traffic.

      • Brandon says:

        John McDermott, how is the driver “obviously” at fault. If the woman ran out in front of him, as the cops and witnesses say, how could the driver have prevented this?

        • UWSider says:

          Crosswalks are designed for visibility of pedestrians. So, unless the woman ran out from between parked cards and the driver had no chance to brake, a pedestrian in a crosswalk, with the light or not, is not supposed to be run over by a car. Pedestrians are not bowling pins to be struck by cars. I’ve been driving in Manhattan since 1966 and have never struck a pedestrian or another vehicle, and I’ve seen all kinds of people and their dogs dart in front of me. Unlike the guy driving the SUV in this incident, I have always been able to stop, even if I was within inches of people or other vehicles. What part of “slow down and watch where you are going” don’t you people get?

    15. Rita says:

      I came across the accident a short time after it happened and she was being prepared to be lifted into the ambulance. She was breathing and moved her hand. I was so very much hoping that she would be okay. I am very sorry to have heard otherwise. She sounds like such a lovely person and will be greatly missed by so many.