Grace McIntyre Benton looked at least a decade younger than her 84 years and maintained her independent ways even after she moved into a retirement home 11 months ago.
Taking the bus to go shopping was a favorite pastime. She did that Thursday, most likely, her acquaintances said, to the big Sears store at Olympic Boulevard and Soto Street, where she planned to buy Easter presents for her great-grandchildren.
Police said that when Benton got off the bus and headed across Boyle Street to return to Hollenbeck Home, the driver of a pickup truck reportedly failed to see her in the crosswalk. He claimed not to see the red light, either. She was thrown onto the hood of the truck and died of her injuries a short time later at County-USC Medical Center.
“It just sounds too awful to be true,” Benton’s closest friend at the retirement home, Lula Dixon, 70, said Friday. “This has never happened here before, and it is terrible.”
The two women, who had known each other more than 30 years, met when they both worked at Glendale Memorial Hospital. Dixon assisted nurses; Benton was a cafeteria cashier.
Born in Ohio, Benton had lived in Southern California since infancy. After much thought, she gave up her Pasadena apartment and moved her favorite furniture into a room in the 200-resident retirement complex about a year ago.
Angie Rodriguez, who works in the office at the home, described her as “a very quiet lady who always smiled at you and never complained.”
“She was so quiet. She never had a bad word for anybody,” Rodriquez said.
No services are planned. Benton did not want any.
Los Angeles police detectives arrested the driver of the pickup, Enrique Olivares Maury, 41, of Boyle Heights, for investigation of vehicular manslaughter.